French Wedding Traditions
France is one place you can have your dream wedding. Or, at least, attending one, is going to be an experience of a lifetime. There is so much involved in the entire thing. From food to weather, locations and the venue, all will seem to be like a fairytale.
Before the wedding – Un Faire-Part – The invitation
It is the invitation that is sent out to close ones. It is usually printed information in detail mentioning about the details of the ceremonies.
LA Mairie – Legal
La Mairie is the residence of the mayor of the town and is the building carrying a lot of importance in France. For French weddings, this place plays a pivotal role. Though it is not a tradition but the legality French couples should adhere to. The marriage is officially performed by the Mayor of the town hall.
The entire thing is a public event and the room where this process takes place; the doors are kept wide open. This is done, in order to let people oppose to marriage if they wish to. Church and other religious places are there too for people to get married. But complying with the law is always better.There are many couples who do not even opt for religious weddings. This happens primarily when the two belong to different religions. The case is the same for same sex marriage too.
You can also read an article to know about Wedding Customs in the UK
Le Cortege – The procession
As the term cortege says, it is indeed a procession. The beginning of the procession is marked with groom leading the way. He walks with his mother with flower girls walking right after the mother and the groom. The flower girls put the flower petals on the floor and then the bride comes. The little girls are made to dress almost like the bride and selecting their dress as celebrated as the bride’s.
The concept of bridesmaids or the best man does not really exist in French weddings. They are just the witnesses from both the sides. This too is changing a bit as people in France are opting for more legal ways, like the one mentioned right above.
You can also read an article to know about American Wedding Customs
This is the real time of wedding. It is all about celebrations and festivities. By this time, all formal things are accomplished and the time is to eat, drink and dance. It not the sober time of the wedding, it is all about noise and letting loose. You can also read an article to know about do’s and don’t of serving drink during wedding.
La Voiture Balai – The cars
This is one part that is surely not elegant or sober. In this, the car of the bride and the groom is made to create a lot of noise, with cans tied up with the help of a rope, right behind. This custom makes sure that all the guests reach the right venue.
LE Vin D’Honneur – Appetizers
For some, the term cocktail will be easier to understand. The guests, part of the ceremony, all are invited to join the couple for light snacks which are basically appetizers. This can be termed as an opportunity to please those formal guests which are not very informal with the bride’s or the groom’s family. This is basically the time; post which, all formal guests’ part ways. Later on it is more of private affair. Dinner happens much later, for only close ones to have.
Les Dragees – confectioneries
These confectioneries are basically almonds that are coated with sugar. They are very vibrant in color and look very attractive. They are given to the guests for keepsake. The pouch in which they are given is decorated and it is all about more of presentation. This is one French thing, which has not replaced till date. Yes, investments are made with a lot of passion on decoration and the outer look, but sugar coated almonds are still the tradition.
La Piece Montee – Piece of mountain
Croquembouche – it is a decorated mountain i.e. cone shaped positioning of confectionary items. There are basically pastries which have crystallized fruits in them, when kept together, they are given spherical shape and are kept in a cone shape. These confectionaries are bound together with the help of caramel sauce.
Since the cone shape almost looks like a mountain, this brings the name piece of mountain for it. The turn of this mountain comes usually around midnight. This is served, post all the festivities are over, specially, after the first dance.
To read more about different wedding customs, rituals and tradition you can follow our page Wedding(Shaadi) Ritual(Rasam)
Just the way croquembouche is organized; here Champaign glasses are organized in a pyramid shape. The Champaign is poured on the top most glass first. Gradually it flows till the last circle of glasses placed beneath. It is best, if a professional is allowed to do it; else, it may not turn out the way you planned.
The good thing is, there some special glasses made, at times available for such occasions, which have light in them. It looks real nice, when it is all dark around and the glasses are filled with Champaign. Many suppliers have special glasses, which either come in standard color or multi colors.
The first dance
This is indeed a very emotional moment. The bride dances with her father on a music piece, on which, she dances with her husband later. This brings tears in the eyes of many. Usually, mother is the first to weep.
The onion soup
This soup is given to the guests at the end of all the ceremonies. Made with onion, this is supposed to help people recover from the long celebrated night. By the time it is served, it is almost morning. What happens next is, all reach their homes and go off to sleep. Since such is the case, at least the guests won’t sleep empty stomach. Indeed a way to care for the guests.
For almost all of us, weddings are once in a lifetime thing. Since it is a special day or event, it is best to go by the way you will have memories to cherish. We all have different customs and traditions, but, France is still French!