The French wedding (from this American girl’s point of view)


I’ve been to lots of weddings… but typically as the wedding coordinator. And while I love my work, I think everyone would agree that a wedding is most fun when you’re a guest.  It’s even more fun to attend a wedding in a different country with unique traditions and cultures.

I’ve been lucky to attend a few French weddings and here are a few of my observations as a guest, as well as what I’ve noticed as I planned my own French wedding.

1.  There are typically two ceremonies.

French wedding ceremony

One at city hall for legal purposes and one at the church for religious purposes.  Some couples opt to have both ceremonies on the same day while others have them on different days.  Most guests are invited to the religious ceremony followed by cocktail hour (vin d’honneur) and the dinner reception.

2.  The French bridal party consists of “witnesses”.

Wedding bridal party

There really isn’t a best man or a maid of honor.  And usually they’re not in matching attire (like bridal parties in the States). Although they do wear the colors of the wedding if requested by the couple.

3.  The French party all night.

Wedding reception

At least until 4 in the morning. Typically it’s 5 or 6am.  What’s up with American weddings having to end at 10pm?

4.  During dinner, only wine is served.

wine glasses at wedding dinner reception

The French save the hard liquor for the partying after dinner.  This makes sense to me.  You don’t want to be hammered when you’re eating dinner.  Which leads me to the next point…

5.  Food is of the utmost importance.

wedding dinner

Warning for American guests… dinner service will take 3 hours.  And rightfully so, because the meals I have had at French weddings have all been amazingly delicious.

Have you been to a French or European wedding? What differences have you noticed?


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