Last updated on August 23rd, 2023 at 01:50 am
Today, we’re taking a delightful detour to the land of baguettes, berets, and Beaujolais nouveau and having a peek at some intriguing French wedding traditions. As memories of the bachelor and bachelorette parties fade, we will uncover some of the most charming, quirky, and utterly fabulous French wedding traditions that make tying the knot in this country oh-so-special. So, grab your croissant jambon fromage and a bottle of something light and fruity, and let’s dive into a whimsical world of love, romance, and joie de vivre!
Something Blue, Something Old, Something… Red
In many cultures, the bride-to-be traditionally wears something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue on their big day for good luck. Well, in France, they add a little je ne sais quoi to this charming tradition. French brides don a touch of red in their attire to symbolize love, passion, and fiery emotions. Whether it’s a discreet red ribbon in their hair or a pair of vibrant red shoes peeking from beneath la robe de mariée (wedding dress), it’s all about adding a dash of passion to the bridal ensemble. French couples will also be seated on red velvet chairs as they prepare to exchange vows.
Les Enfants De l’Honneur
Unlike the traditional bridal party and groomsmen we’re familiar with, the French have their own pint-sized version called “les enfants de l’honneur,” which translates to “the children of honor.” These little darlings, usually aged 5 to 10, play an adorable role in the wedding procession. The flower girls toss rose petals as they walk down the aisle, while the boys carry heart-shaped baskets filled with sweets.
Le Vin d’Honneur – Cheers to Love!
No typical French wedding party is complete without “le vin d’honneur” (wine of honor), a fabulous cocktail hour where guests raise their glasses to toast the newlyweds. Picture an array of delectable canapés, delicate finger foods, French pastries, and an exquisite champagne tower, all set against the backdrop of a stunning château or a quaint vineyard. It’s not just a cocktail hour at the wedding reception; it’s a culinary experience on the wedding day that will make your taste buds dance the can-can!
Vive La Bureaucracy! – Long Live Bureaucracy
Before you think the French are all about romance and whimsy, let’s not forget their love for bureaucracy. In France, married life must begin at the “mairie” or the town hall, where the intention to marry is officially announced. After the official civil ceremony, the couple can proceed to the religious or secular celebration, where the real romance and festivities of the traditional French wedding unfold.
Croquembouche – A Tower of Sweet Dreams
French wedding tradition is not just about saying “I do”; it is also about saying “I indulge.” Enter the magnificent “croquembouche,” a jaw-dropping pyramid of cream-filled profiteroles that’ll have guests at the wedding meal drooling at first sight. This pièce de résistance serves as a delightful alternative to the traditional wedding cake.
La Danse Des Voiles – A Dance with a Twist
Forget the run-of-the-mill first dance; the French have their own take on this romantic tradition. Known as “la danse des voiles” (the dance of the veils), this dance involves the bride and groom dancing while being covered with a giant lace veil. As they sway to the rhythm of love, guests shower them with money to symbolize prosperity and good fortune in their marriage.
La Pot De Chambre – A Whacky Wedding Tradition
Hold on to your berets, folks, because this next tradition is a real head-scratcher. In certain parts of France, it’s customary for the groom to present his new bride with a chamber pot. But before you raise your eyebrows: the chamber pot is filled with goodies like candy, small gifts, and sometimes even money. It’s a humorous way to show that the couple will be prepared for anything life throws their way.
La Coupe De Mariage – The Wedding Chalice
Amidst all the revelry, the French never forget the true essence of their wedding celebration – love and unity. “La coupe de mariage,” or the wedding chalice, symbolizes the eternal bond between the couple. During French weddings, the couple sips from the same cup, sealing their commitment to sharing life’s joys and sorrows together.
La Soupe À L’Oignon – Midnight Magic
As the clock strikes midnight, the festivities are far from over – it’s time for “la soupe à l’oignon,” or onion soup. This delicious dish is served to all the guests in the wee hours, bringing comfort and warmth after a night of dancing and revelry. The soup is said to have a magical quality that helps guests recover from the merrymaking and ensures a headache-free morning.
La Noce En Voiture – Honk For The Happy Couple!
Finally, what’s a French wedding without a grand exit? In a tradition known as “la noce en voiture” (the wedding in the car), the newlyweds depart from the reception in a beautifully decorated car, often adorned with ribbons, balloons, and flowers. But they don’t just drive away discreetly. Instead, they lead a joyful procession of honking cars following them through the streets of the town. It’s a vibrant display if a slightly noisy one.
Handy French Wedding Traditions Vocab To Practice
The Importance Of Learning French Wedding Traditions
“Pourquoi,” you ask, should one learn about French wedding traditions? Allow us to give you some savoir-faire on the importance of delving into these enchanting customs. So, buckle up, or should we say, “Bouclez votre ceinture” and let’s discover why it’s essential to learn about French wedding traditions!
Enhancing Cultural Understanding
Learning about French wedding traditions is like unwrapping a baguette – one slice at a time. Each tradition sheds lights on the rich, sumptuous layers of French culture, rooted in centuries of history, and enveloped within intricate customs. They serve as the perfect hors d’oeuvres to whet your appetite for the incredible French way of life.
Celebrating Love à La Française
Are you or a loved one tying the knot soon? Adding a sprinkle of French tradition to your wedding is like adding a dash of fleur de sel to your dish – it elevates the experience! It’s a unique way to honor and celebrate your love story and might just leave your guests saying, “ooh lá lá”.
Bridging Cultural Gaps
Knowledge, they say, is power. And, hey, isn’t it just cool to say, “Did you know, in France…”? Understanding French wedding traditions not only sets you apart at dinner parties but also strengthens multicultural bonds. It’s always heartwarming to celebrate love and life in a way that transcends cultural boundaries and incorporating French wedding customs into your knowledge bank does just that!
Strengthening Language Skills
And, last but certainly not least, delving into French wedding traditions gives you a brilliant opportunity to brush up on your French language skills. With terms like La Mairie, Dragees, and Charivari, you’ll be impressing your friends, or possibly a French-speaking significant other, with your linguistic prowess in no time!
What To Wear To A French Wedding
Alors, we’ve journeyed through French wedding customs; dispensed words of wisdom on how and why to learn them; it’s now time to address the crème de la crème of any celebration – the fashion. Brace yourself for a trip into the elegant and chic world of French wedding guest attire. Or as we say in French, the “tenue de mariage“.
The Color Code
In an arena as glamorous as French weddings, you’re better off playing safe with the colors. Traditional white is reserved for the bride, so steer clear of that. And unless the invite specifically entreats you to, keep the dramatic blacks for your fashion noir moments away from the wedding.
Chic Yet Comfortable
Balance is quite en vogue when it comes to French fashion. While you should aim for chicness, “comfort is key” is the mantra. Wear something you feel comfortable standing, sitting, and most importantly – dancing in. As a rule of thumb, if you can do a twirl and look fabulous, you’ve hit the sweet spot!
Hats And Accessories
Another fun aspect of French weddings is the accessories. The French love a good hat — and by ‘hat’, we mean the big, showstopper ones. These stunning chapeaux offer an extra flair to your outfit. Likewise, accessories should be elegant but understated. Think pearls, delicate gold chains and remember Coco Chanel’s golden rule, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off.”
Mini or maxi, that is the question. While the French do love a good mini, for weddings, leaning towards midi or maxi is the safer bet. A long, flowing dress or a stylish midi can never do you wrong at a French wedding.
What About Men?
Gentlemen, the French way for you is all about simplicity with a flair. Think – crisp suits, preferably in muted colors like grey, navy, or black. In the warmer months, don’t shy away from a fashionable pastel suit. A nice tie, a stylish pair of shoes, et voila – you’re ready to charm!
And there you have it, mes amis, your crash course to acing the French wedding attire game. Now you’re all set to look utterly magnifique at the next French wedding you attend, effortlessly blending in with the chic and fashionable crowd!
Decoding French Wedding Menus
Food, as we all know, is the unsung hero of every celebration, and oh boy, “qu’est-ce que les Français savent faire la cuisine!” How the French can cook! Now, let’s peel back the curtain and embark on a culinary voyage, as we uncover the delicacies you’re likely to encounter on a French wedding menu. Bon appétit, mes amis!
1. L’Apéritif: The Appetizer
The literal translation would be a cocktail, but this word doesn’t do justice to the French Apéritif. A grand spread of canapés, charcuterie, cheese, and of course, lots of bubbly to kick off the celebrations, the Apéritif sets the tone for the rest of the meal. So are you ready to pop some champagne?
2. Le Hors d’oeuvre: Starters
The beginning: Here’s when you’ll be introduced to an array of French gastronomical wonders. From decadent foie gras to flavor-packed escargots, trust us, you’ll remember these starters for a long time. And let’s not forget the vegetarian delights, think ratatouille tartlets or a delicate goat cheese salad, ooh la la!
3. Le Plat Principal: Main Course
If you thought the starters were a delightful gastronomic journey, wait till you experience the Plat Principal. Expect traditional dishes like coq au vin, a chicken dish cooked with wine or bouillabaisse, a fish stew from the south of France. Vegetarian? Savor a cassoulet, made with white beans instead of traditional meat, it’s a dish that’ll have you dreaming of the French countryside.
4. Le Fromage: Cheese
This might be the most French thing you’ll encounter at the wedding. A whole course dedicated to fromage! Embrace the culture and take your pick from comté, Roquefort or Brie, there are as many varieties as there are days in a year!
5. Le Dessert
Ah, dessert, the best for last. While traditionally, French weddings served Croquembouche, a tower of caramel-coated, cream-filled puff pastries, today you’ll find a broader range of sweets. Crème brûlée, macarons, and eclairs might grace the dessert table. Also, keep an eye out for the pièce de résistance: the wedding cake!
6. Le Café
Post meal, it’s time for a small cup of strong black coffee, the perfect finale to clean your palate and balance the sweetness of the desserts.
Prepare For The Big Day In France With Ling App
The chance to be involved in a traditional French wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. What better way to prepare for the big day than by brushing up on your compétences en français (French skills) with Ling app? Ling has everything you’ll need to be up to speed, with lessons created by native speakers and plenty of games and quizzes with which to practice. Try Ling app today at App Store and Google Play. Bon chance! (Good luck!)