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Traditional French Wedding

Traditional French Wedding
A traditional French wedding is a celebration with varied customs that are symbolic of the various aspects of marriage. This article explains some of these traditions and their significance.
Dhanya Joy
France has always been synonymous with love and romance, and a French wedding reflects the same through its customs and ceremonies. All the customs and rituals in a traditional French wedding symbolize the many important aspects of marriage. Not all, but a few of the traditions are still prevalent.
Before the Wedding
Bridal Trousseau/Hope Chest/Wedding Amoire
A bridal trousseau is a well-known custom all over the world. It originated in France, wherein the woman was given a trousseau, which means 'bundle', or 'hope chest' by her parents. Her family members and friends would give her gifts in the form of clothes, jewelry, or any other items that she would require once she moves to her husband's home. In recent times, the bride is presented with all the household necessities in a fancy carved stone box by her family before the wedding.
Dress and Decorations
The wedding dress for the bride is an all-white gown embellished with embroidery, beads, bows, and lace. The white dress symbolizes the purity, innocence, and joy of the bride. The decorations and flowers used are also white. Traditional romantic French music is an essential feature.
The tradition requires the groom to escort the bride from her home to the chapel on the wedding day. The procession consists of the parents of the bride and the groom, family members, friends, and musicians. Children block the bridal couple's way with white ribbons which the bride must cut. In some places like Brittany, beggars plait a hedgerow briar across the couple's way. The bride has to pay the beggars to remove the hedgerow briars. These obstacles symbolize the common path that the couple will have to take after their marriage and the overcoming of the obstacles together.
The ceremony is held in the church, which is decorated with white flowers and incense. After the guests have gathered, the groom walks his mother down the aisle. Then, the groom and the bride are seated on two red velvet chairs where they exchange vows. The priest's final blessing is received below a silk canopy known as a 'carre'. As the newlyweds emerge from the church and proceed towards the reception venue, they are showered with wheat and rice. These grains symbolize fertility and prosperity.
At the reception, guests bring along small cakes and pile them together at a considerable height at the center of the table. If the couple is able to kiss without knocking out the pile, it symbolizes lifelong prosperity. The couple then raise a toast to each other from an engraved cup known as the 'La coupe de marriage'. Traditional food, French wine, and the cake are the highlights of the reception. The cake is known as 'Croquembouche' which means 'crunching in one's mouth'. It is made of cones of cream puffs which is filled with pastry cream and coated with caramelized sugar. It is decorated with marzipan flowers and drizzled with chocolate.
Garter (La jarretière)
This tradition originated in the Jewish society, and is now incorporated into French weddings. The bride throws her garter (a narrow fabric band) at the guests, and it is thought to bring good luck to whoever catches it.
These customs and ceremonies are an essential part of a French wedding. They keep the old traditions alive and make the wedding a memorable one.
Bride in full growth
Wine and dine
Croquembouch macaron wedding cake
Beautiful girl with gift