Good Morning Folks,

Yup you read it correctly I was a guest at the most beautiful wedding in France with the reception nestled in the Ardeche hills of the Bride’s family chateau; tres chic indeed! I wore a dress, enjoyed the church service, drank champagne, ate canapes and did everything normal people do and loved it!!! Yes I did take a small camera and no I didn’t take that many photos, just a few snaps to remember the day; I was a guest and wanted to enjoy the day by seeing it without continually looking through a viewfinder. Victoire and Nicolas had employed the services of a photographer, so I firmly believe that she should be able to do her job without hindrance from any of us!

French weddings are a little different than the British ones we are used to; firstly the legal part of the wedding service is always conducted first in the ‘Marie’, which is the town hall. Traditionally this used to be done in the morning but modern French couples often do this some weeks before the wedding day so as not to make the day too long; in the main the French wedding service usually starts about 4.30 pm. The tradition of not seeing each other still stands in France but the groom does not stand at the end of the aisle to wait for his bride, instead he will see her outside the church doors before walking up the aisle with his Mother, then the Bride’s Mother will walk up accompanied in this case with her son and lastly the Bride then enters with her Father. The service then runs pretty much the same, and in this case, as a Catholic Service would here. I was able to follow most of it but got thoroughly lost during the Priest’s address, I nodded like I really understood everything 😉 The final part of the service is the signing of the Church register, this is not the legal document but the Church’s document and most of the guests will wander outside to await the Bride and Groom, so something a little different to the ‘Brits’. The Bride and Groom will make their entrance at the Church door with a quick few photos and then they leave immediately to the reception. In both French weddings I have attended the time spent at the church after the service is very minimal.

Ah to the reception; the first French wedding I attended was in the most gorgeous venue in the centre of Paris and this in contrast was in the Ardeche region of France in the most beautiful Chateau that belongs to the Baron et Baronne the Bride’s parents and I think that all the family weddings are held there; how lovely is that. It really was beautiful with turrets and everything and as it was set into the mountainside with the gardens being set on many tiers, no good if you are not used to wearing any sort of heel!!!! In France the cocktail party is quite a big thing and we had three hours of champagne, cocktails, canapes and chat. About 350 guests attended this and it was so nice to chat with everyone, admire the view and wander through the grounds and not feel in a rush. During this time, as is normal with British weddings the photography is completed; what I did find though was the guests were not too bothered about following the Bride and Groom during this time as they preferred to leave the photographer to do her work. I think this may have something to do with the fact that the cocktail party is an event in itself and lasts much longer than the drinks reception after a British wedding, so there is plenty of time to chat with the Bride and Groom. We did not enter to dinner until 9.00 pm and about 200 guests were invited to this; it is quite normal for guests to be invited to the church and cocktail party but not the meal and lots of happy days to those that are invited to all!! Senior members of the family do not sit at the top table, instead one member is placed on each table at the back of the room with other members of the family. The meal usually finishes about 12.30 with the speeches being made in between each course and it is then that the dancing begins. I heard that Victoire and Nicolas may have been dancing until dawn…yikes! We left about 1.30 am after the most wonderful day.

I am going to post a few images here today and these are personal images from a family wedding, but hey it is nice for it not be all work, work, work! The first three images show Victoire and Nicolas’ exit from the church and this really is a free for all and a very transient moment before they head off to the reception. I love this; when the Bride and Groom make their entrance it is not just a matter of walking to the top table, oh no they dance around each table and the circuit is done about three times to music and the wonderfully manic waving of napkins 🙂 I have put this image of me in, not because of me but for the wonderful dress made just for me by Emma Tindley; I called Emma sometime ago with an idea for a dress and as if by magic she made it. I loved wearing it and cannot wait for the next event where that little baby will be making another entrance, and I think we both know when that will be! I think you have to agree that Emma’s talents are unrivalled, firstly because she had a dodgy old canvas, ie me to work with; so if she can make me look half decent just imagine what she can do for all you gorgeous brides out there, and secondly this dress was designed purely from a verbal description; now that’s amazing. My last image is a quick snap showing how the chateau is built into the moutain and those amazing views…oh and it was 31c that day so I would have loved to have jumped in that swimming pool; it would have been on pain of death from Emma though, whilst wearing that dress!

I hope you have enjoyed today’s very personal post and it will be business as usual next week.

Claire 🙂