One thing the French know how to do is understated fancy, and they do it well. French weddings exude elegance and style, yet still maintain a good dash of tradition and quirkiness, just like their culture. Whether you’re planning a wedding in France or just want a pinch of Parisian on your big day, these 10 French wedding traditions are a must read.
1. La Mairie
If a couple decide to wed in France, it is a legal obligation that they be married by the mayor at the town hall. The doors remain open in order to represent a ‘public’ event, and should there be any somebody who wishes to oppose the marriage, they may do so.
2. A wedding armoire
It is customary that a bride’s “wedding armoire” (cupboard or chest) be filled with “trousse” which is the French word for linen or clothing. The armoire can be filled with personally chosen lingerie, linens or clothing that the bride can use throughout her marital life. Nowadays, brides a usually presented with French bed linen which she can place in an armoire.
3. The centre of attention
Each bride dreams of her wedding day, and we must say, the thought of a day solely dedicated to celebrating you and your partner is a heavenly one! But to our surprise, French weddings celebrate the idea of two families becoming one, rather than the couple.
4. Marital witness
Sharing your wedding day with your bridal party can create some of the best and most memorable moments. The French however, do not have a term for bridesmaids and groomsmen, but instead allow one or two friends to act as ‘witnesses’. Flower girls and ring bearers are traditionally present to lead the way for the bride as she walks down the aisle.
5. A grooms demonstration
The morning of the wedding holds great significance to a French groom. Traditionally he approaches the home of his bride-to-be to order to ‘collect her’, with drums and musicians accompanying him. As the pair leave the house, children block the bride’s path with white ribbons. By cutting through the ribbons, the bride symbolises her willingness and strength to overcome the potential obstacles of marriage and life.
In a traditional ceremony, the groom’s mother walks him down the aisle to represent the importance of family and togetherness. They are then followed by the flower girls, ring bearers, and, finally, the bride and her father. The couple then exchange their vows.
7. Did someone say cake?
The French consider sweets a delicacy in their own right, and with their history of extravagance and quirkiness, it’s no surprise they do their wedding cakes differently. Instead of an ordinary wedding cake there is what is called a croquembouche – Mouth-sized, crème patissiere filled caramel goodness – yum!
8. Champagne anyone?
Ah yes, here’s one you may be familiar with – the champagne pyramide. Need we say more?
In order to symbolise health, wealth, happiness, longevity and fertility, guests are presented with five dragee’s (stylish sugar coated almonds).
10. La Soupe a la Oignon
French cuisine is renowned throughout the world, so it’s only fitting that their local weddings are a masterpiece of dining perfection! Each affair normally includes the option of recovery food, such as hearty, alcohol-absorbing dishes, with French receptions renowned for finishing at 5 to 7am in the morning.
Image credits to:
French Grey Photography
Rock My Wedding
Johann MAJERUS Photographie
For Love and Lemons
Jade + Matthew Take Pictures
Bespoke Social Event Theming
Article written by Alison Donnellan