May 5, 2008

A French Wedding

It was a long weekend this past weekend and we were out to celebrate the weather and a wedding - that of S's boss. So it took us to the north of France... We saw the beautiful beaches of Normandy before heading out to the rustic St Dizier near which the wedding was... But while the pretty part of this experience will feature on Citystalkers shortly, I take this time to write about the wedding itself. The card said 4:OO PM to past midnight... I couldn't imagine what we would possibly do for 8 hours.. Until we did and I found out..

4:00 PM: Signing in -So the couple arrived fully dressed exactly at 4:00 to the registrar office where by 4:05, the minister had confirmed that they were not forced into saying oui to one another and they'd signed their contract of marriage.

4:15PM - The ceremony - A few handshakes, a lot of pictures later, the couple and indeed the whole bunch of invitees waded over to the church across the street where the ceremony began. There were a lot of songs and they'd given us each a Program book in which one could find the lyrics of the songs. I took immense pleasure in loudly singing off-key, invoking a few engaging and other mutinous smiles from surrounding people. Within the hour, the vows were taken, the
rings exchanged, the kisses, the flowers, the Wedding March, et al. It was an exercise of sorts for the witnessing public.. The Father made us rise and sit at will and indeed I started debating my decision of wearing the heels that i'd bought for my own big day. And already. The night was yet to unfold.

5:00 PM - Mini party - At the hall of the registrar, was a mini greeting party where people like me who didn't have an inkling as to who the bride and groom were, could be introduced to them. And then came the champagne and the mini-appetizers... things that looked like those things on the Monaco biscuit ads back in India. Having nothing to do makes you hungry and we all eagerly devoured whatever we could lay hands on (whatever veggie in my case) and set out for taking pictures.

We idled... we chatted and we gossipped.. but the time was barely 6:10PM. It was too long to just wait around drinking more n more champagne after all. We decided to explore the countryside. The husband found out about a bar called Moulin Rouge about 10km away and so A, SK, V, S and I set off to 'explore'. As beautiful as it was deserted, we enjoyed a coffee/beer at the bar and then decided to make best of our 1 hour before the formal dinner to take pictures at the mustard fields, near unsuspecting cows and a tiny brook and became one with the nature out there.

8:00 PM - Back at the dinner - The dinner was at a community hall close to the earlier venue and featured beautifully arranged round tables with place names as souveniers. We seated ourselves there and were soon served the first course in our 6+ course menu. And that was the only thing to be served early. Every course following that literally came an hour later in between which there were silly games, a slideshow of the couple's pictures, a few karaoke songs, the couple's first dance soon joined by many other couples. All went great until S decided this was as good a place as any to embarass me... and offered the groom that I would sing for all of them. He then convinced me that singing in front of 30 people was a piece of cake and that I would manage blah blah... Well, if I was going down, so was everyone else. I smoothly convinced all the Indians on our table that we would all sing together. And so what do you know? There we were... rendering It's the time to disco to tumultous applause. Thats not all... guess what happens next? They play the song again and now want to be taught dance steps to it. Put in the centre of the happenings, unable to refuse the 25 odd eager people who'd formed a circle around me to follow my dance steps, I wildly invented. But that wasn't half as strange as seeing everyone repeat the steps I taught. It was crazy. Everyone had a blast... and the DJ proceeded to play Mahi Ve next and off we went inventing steps once more. Bollywood music was a raving hit and the DJ actually ripped our songs to play at other functions. S and I danced for a long while before returning famished for each course after almost an hour. But before long, everything had become a little too much to take. It is especially taboo to leave a party before the bride and groom have cut the cake. And the cake wasn't cut till 1:30 am. And after that came the champagne and the toast and then coffee!

By the time everything was over, I don't know what time it was... because we excused ourselves at 2:30 am. Then we had a long winding drive of 33km in pitch dark to get back to the hotel.

One hell of an experience. And to think that I had unsuspectingly asked S, 'Can't we leave around 10?', we would've not even have made it past the two appetizers. Lol.


Manjari said...

hey jaya ,

Really like your narrating style..:) ..must have been fun to dance to mahi ve and time to disco in a french wedding..:)...kewl..keep blogging..

Jaya said...

Thanks Manjari...keep visiting and keep commenting... it keeps me going!

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