The Wedding

July 5, 2010

What’s the best possible way I could have spent my last weekend here in France? At a French wedding of course!

When I met France last summer and heard about her oldest brother Alex and his financée Clarisse I never imagined I would actually be at the wedding, but last weekend that’s where I was! I was touched and incredibly lucky that France and her wonderful family invited me to spend the weekend in their home and attend the small civil ceremony (the larger religious ceremony will take place in Paris in October) at their beautiful country home.

Things started out a little bit hectic on Saturday morning, since the planned afternoon in the garden was put on hold because of torrential downpours! Despite the rain and the stress we made it to the ceremony at the Mayor’s office at 11 AM, and after we walked to the hall belonging to the Mayor’s office which Gaspard rented out just two hours before the wedding started (!).  We ate everything that wasn’t dessert (we’d left the desserts at home in case the weather cleared up later) and I had a nice time talking to France, Loïc, Gaspard, and many of their friends.

The weather cleared up, and then the fun started! Gaspard and some friends set up the tents and brought out the flowers before we all arrived, and Clarisse’s friend Stephanie brought out all of the to-die-for pastries she’d been working on all weekend for the dessert table-made with fruit from the France’s family’s own garden of course!

We had the best afternoon. The flowers were gorgeous, the dessert was incredible, the boys looked so handsome in their uniforms, Clarisse looked just beautiful, and everyone went out of their way to be nice to me, ‘l’Americaine’!

Afternoon activities included eating lots of sugar, drinking champagne, attempting to ride a unicycle, lounging on blankets, playing badminton and croquet, and talking talking talking in French, which was great for me!

That evening the party continued with a sausage barbecue, rugby, cherries, Johnny Cash sung by Alex’s friend Benjamin, and later that night hours of hysterical laughter during karaoke  on the patio-featuring French songs from the 70’s and 80’s performed by loud unruly groups of guests!

It was so much fun, so much French, and the perfect night! I even managed to get take a candid picture of the siblings (Alex, France and Gaspard) all together…

Sunday France and I slept late, but when we woke up we were very active! A group of us went for a walk through the forest, and then France and I played badminton while we waited for lunch. As soon as lunch was over I went with France to the stables where she keeps her horse, and I even rode for the first time in at least 5 years!

After riding we met up with Clarisse, Alex, Gaspard, Loïc and the rest of the group for a lazy afternoon by the river. We didn’t have swimsuits and it wasn’t deep enough to swim but we just waded around and relaxed on blankets in the grass. I did get a little sunburned on my arms though.

That night we had another wonderful meal outside under one of the tents, and Loïc and I stole a few bags of the delicious cherries in France’s backyard to take back to Paris. We ended up eating half of them on the train because they were too good to resist. France’s family was so sweet and welcoming, they were wonderful to me, even giving me presents as I left! Christine also sent me home with the typical wedding favor-candy coated almonds all wrapped up with little tags saying ‘Alex and Clarisse’.

The weekend was better than I even hoped, and I was glad to eat lots of French delicacies (escargot and Camembert…nobody believed that I was American after they saw me willingly eating snails and stinky cheese!) and of course it was wonderful to have one last opportunity to speak almost exclusively French.

And as hard as it is packing and preparing to go home, I think deep down I’m ready to be back in the States. The French countryside sure is beautiful though…

A bientôt!

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