Ah, the French. They’re full of romance and passion, perfect pastries and oh so fabulous haute couture, and we can never get enough of it.
To add to our list of French obsessions, we went ahead and looked into the wonderful traditions their weddings involve, and we might’ve fallen that much more in love.
And in case you’ve missed it, Wedded World’s theme for this year is Parisian Chic, making this the perfect excuse to brush up on all things French. So grab a croissant, adjust your beret, and take a look at these merveilleux traditions.
1. Not One, But Two
For the French, saying “I Do” happens twice.
Since the government and church are completely separate for the French, getting married by a priest isn’t enough to actually qualify you as married. So, by law, the French need to be married by the mayor at the town hall, meaning many couples will, therefore, have two ‘ceremonies’, one legal, and another that is religious.
2. Bye, Bye Bridesmaids
Unlike many Western cultures, French weddings won’t have a bridal party made up of bridesmaids and groomsmen. Instead, they’ll have young children as their flower girls and pageboys. Couples might try and include their two closest friends, however, by having them serve as their witnesses.
3. Le Cortège
Once the ceremony begins, an important aspect will be the groom being escorted down the aisle by his mother. The flower girls and pageboys will then follow, before finally, the bride and her father.
4. Cocktail Ceremony
Once the ceremonies are over, and before the wedding reception and meal, the French will have a cocktail ceremony. This is especially common for those families who know a lot of people but can’t, or choose not to, invite them for dinner. Here, the bride and groom and their family have the opportunity to share a few drinks and celebrate with a group of people.
5. Let Them Eat Cake
It might be a famous line, but cake is generally absent from traditional French weddings. Instead, you’ll see a delicious croquembouche tower, with plenty to go around for everyone. The tower stems from the old tradition of guests each bringing a small cake to the wedding and having them piled up. You might also see a macron tower at a French wedding as well!
6. Let It Rain (Champagne)
Your favourite party trick, the champagne tower, originally came from the French so you’re more than likely to witness it at the next French wedding you attend.
It’s also customary to see the bottle being opened a la Sabrage style, which involves a saber (a type of sword) to slide down the neck of the bottle and pop the cork open.
7. Sweet Sugar
Do you remember those sugared almonds that would be handed out at weddings, christenings, or baby showers? Well, the French have a little custom with it too.
The sugar almonds, or dragée, are usually given to each guest, five apiece, with each one symbolising health, wealth, happiness, longevity, and fertility.
Cover photo by: @chateaudecourtomer