Lovely Awkward: A Year of Wine, Romance and Life Among the French

Lovely Awkward: A Year of Wine, Romance and Life Among the French

Monday 23 May 2011

The French wedding

La fête!!

On the day of our French wedding party -- the final celebration! -- the sun was hot, but there was a cool breeze blowing through the Loire Valley and into the village nearby where we'd rented a little hall from a small restaurant/hotel.

The hall we'd chosen was actually quite amazing. It seemed to almost be on a peninsula, surrounded on two sides by a small, fish-filled stream that ran through the village. And when I arrived at the party, some of the kids were already dangling strings off of the bridge, trying to catch the hungry, little minnows.

I wore a red dress (although now I wish I'd picked the black one -- I don't know why I now have such a problem with dresses!), and I immediately slipped into the French family crowd for some apéritifs on the lawn before everyone went inside.

It was during the apéritifs that I got my introductions.

At first, I was nervous because there were just so many people standing on the grass, talking quickly to each other in French.

But slowly, the Prof. lead me around.

He introduced me to everyone by name and I tried to put faces to stories, names to dress or tie colours, and parents to children. Basically, I just tried to match something up so I could make some sense of this great mass of strangers who had now become my relatives. I also tried to remember to kiss three times on each cheek, but I kept accidentally bailing after two. In place of the third, I'd just giggle and hope they didn't think I was rude. Then I'd try to say something nice in French so they wouldn't worry that I couldn't understand them. Although, a few of them still used a few normal French person words that I didn't catch. Luckily, if the Prof. was still beside me, he'd explain them.

For my side of the family, I had only an aunt and an uncle and my parents because most of my relatives had already celebrated with us after our PACS (French common-law agreement) last summer. Four people, but I was glad to have them.

At the dinner, we had a ton of hors d'oeuvres, a meat dish, a fish dish, some creamy cheeses and salad, and a delicious strawberry dessert.

And then, I finally figured out what it means when French men say they enjoy "Rock and Roll" dancing. All I can say is: It's liberating. Not for me, but for the men. I am now convinced that Canadian men could benefit from a little more booty shaking.

We had no speeches (because French weddings aren't the same as Canadian ones, and this one wasn't really a wedding), but we had a lot of very interesting conversations.

We also had something very, very odd happen ... but that's why the ending and the REAL details of the wedding have to be saved for the book.

For now, I have to go watch a movie with my mom.

THIS WEEK: More details about what we've been doing in Nice...


  1. Félicitations Kerry! I'm glad to hear it went well and that the weather was good.

    The red dress, huh? Yes, dress shopping... D bought me a dress at Cap 3000. It's a lovely, floor length dress, absolutely gorg. It didn't stop me however from picking up a real bargain at the Bay. (It was a serious bargain.) I pulled a Cher and wore the short dress for the ceremony and the long one for dinner.

    Anyway, it's about you not me. So happy for you and the prof. Enjoy Nice. We miss being at home in Nice and can't wait to get back there.

  2. Félicitations!

    I'm terrible at remembering people's names when I'm introduced to a new crowd and I hope it wasn't too painful for you.

    I got married in red too :-)

    And now I'm dying to read about the weird story...!

  3. Karen MacGregor Labelle25 May 2011 at 16:41

    Congratulations Kerry!! I'm so glad everything went well! I'd love to see pics if you feel like emailing a couple:).

  4. Kerry!!! You're married?!!! Congratulations!!!! Would love to catch up, either when you're on this side of the pond, or else in France w/ your prof:-D

  5. Congratulations! Me too, I can't wait to read your book! I'm still trying to finish that book I mentioned to you. Any more pictures to be posted? Well you can just post the beautiful dishes and a stunning picture of you in red!

    We have rain here in Vancouver. Please send the sun here!


  6. Tanya: Can't wait to see your dresses! Love that you did a little costume change. Very classy. Let me know when you're back in Nice!

    Zhu: Is getting married in red some kind of expat thing? I'm also terrible at remembering names, but good at remembering stories. Hopefully that saved me a bit.

    Karen: Thanks, Karen! Missed you!

    Sujata: Yep! We were married earlier, but our final celebration with the French family was this month. So, we're all done. We've definitely got a lot to catch up on ...

  7. Carmen: I'm still waiting for all of the pictures to come in before I pick a few good ones. I can't even remember if I photographed the food! If someone else did, however, I'll definitely post a few photos!

  8. congratulations!

    you might be a canadian at heart but you always had that joie de vivre. you are where you were always meant to be. :) so happy for you and we wish you all the best!

    ali, orin, sloane & huey

  9. congratsss:X:X can't wait to see the pics and u in red ;> my mom got married in red too, she kept her dress and shoes and purse (all red) for more than 10 years! Red is much stunning than black :) u made the right choice! and I bet the professor likes red better than black (like all men ;> )

  10. Ali: Thanks! That's nice of you to say. I hope I belong here! So happy for you and all of your recent surprises as well. Let me know if you make it back to Ottawa at all this summer...

    Anita: The Prof. actually chose the dress for me, if you can believe it. It's just such an attention-grabbing colour! Did your mom ever wear her dress again?

  11. Félicitations. So pleased it went well. Also deadly curious about this grand evenement.
    (And I think it is against sartorial rules to ever regret wearing a red dress ...)
    Photos, pls.

  12. elliott: OK, will find some photos (or one photo or whatever I find that is non-regrettable) to post today.

  13. Kerry: no she didn't wear it :-( she donated it! :)