Monday 20 July 2015

The Paris Wedding

I'm already married and don't really need a guide to getting married in Paris, but I was powerless to resist buying this book when I saw it on the shelf at the fabulous discount store Basement Books in Sydney last week. I snatched it off the shelf, didn't flip any pages, bought it, and then read it that night. But then I've long been fascinated by a Paris BrideBrides of Paris #2.

Kimberley Petyt is an American, married to a Frenchman, living in Paris and working as a wedding and event coordinator in Paris. Naturally enough she takes us through all the formalities, details and joys of getting married in Paris. And in doing so she shines a light on French customs, bureaucracy and style.

Getting married in a foreign country is rarely easy. A Parisian wedding is just a bit more difficult than that. 

The French love regulations and there seems to be a mountain of them to wade through to be wed in France.

Unfortunately, alongside the fairytale images of a Parisian wedding is the harsh reality of miles and miles of administrative red tape. 

Kimberley includes a most helpful chapter listing the multiple documents you will need to proffer, where to submit them and when. The documents can vary by arrondissement so that you need very specific advice. There is a special section on how to get married in a Catholic Church in Paris, a process in which many more barriers are placed in front of you.

The most incredible part to me was that the French still publish banns! I had only come across banns doing 18th century Scottish family research, but it is a practice alive and well in France. Your names and wedding date have to be put up in the local town hall for ten days before your marriage so that any estranged husbands or wives can track you down before the day.

There are a number of quite major differences between French and Anglophone wedding traditions. The French may invite you just to the ceremony and then for dessert- which is astonishingly practical given the ridiculous cost of wedding catering.

A typical French wedding doesn't end until 3 or 4 a.m., or even later (there's even an old French custom that is still practiced in some families today, where vats of French onion soup are brought out to the remaining guests at around 5 or 6 in the morning!).

Wedding guests tend to dress differently to how we Anglophones might expect them to, and given that the wedding may last all day and overnight, many guests may change outfits between the morning ceremony and the evening reception! It all seems a rather incredible feat of logistics, even for the guests.

Kimberley offers advice on all manner of wedding essentials- where to source the dress, the cake, the flowers, the photographer, the invitations, even a trousseau (I didn't know anyone did trousseaus any more). The book is beautifully illustrated with many gorgeous photos from her clients weddings, most of which are delightfully, visibly Paris.

Even though I don't need a Paris wedding arranged there is more than enough in The Paris Wedding to hold the interest of any Paris Tragic. The Paris Wedding strengthened my resolve to visit Sugarplum Cake Shop, and I wonder if I can order my own Laduree croquembouche or choux pyramid one day without having a wedding?

I think I just might.
Paris in July
Dreaming of France is a wonderful Monday meme
from Paulita at An Accidental Blog 

French Bingo 2015


Dvora said...

You need one of those pyramids!

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Order away. I think it would make a lovely anniversary pyramid, too.

Jeanie said...

I am SERIOUSLY hung up on that croquembouche! I have to try making one of those. It'll have to wait for cooler weather, though! My macarons don't work so well when we have high humidity like this!

I can see why you bought the book. It looks wonderful -- and fascinating too!

Beth F said...

I might need a pyramid too!

Paulita said...

Louise, Like you, I'd love to read more about these Parisian weddings, even though I won't be having one. I also think this would be a perfect job for my daughter who sells wedding dresses here but is passionate about Paris. Thanks for playing along with Dreaming of France. Here’s my Dreaming of France meme

Mae Travels said...

My husband and I, both Americans, managed to get through all the bureaucracy and get married in France a long time ago. I don't think there were any books about it then! I still don't know much about the formal wedding customs in France, but it's amazing how much every country/culture differs in the details.

Esme said...

This sounds like so much fun. What a great post.

Esme said...

I hope that you get to have one of those pyramids.

Sim Carter said...

You truly are a francophile, through and through! But perhaps a second wedding in Paris? Do you have a special anniversary coming up where you could renew your vows in France? Just a thought. My Dreaming of France post this week is another piece from the past

Anonymous said...

I just came back from a wedding held on a farm in Ontario. You can see how different that is to a Parisian wedding. Thanks for sharing with us this wonderful book! ;)