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Colors in French Wedding Customs

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In French wedding customs, the wedding venue is often decorated with a silken canopy, flowers, incense and traditional romantic music is played as demanded by the French wedding traditions. Orange blossoms are traditionally the most preferred flowers. In the off season, wax imitations of orange blossoms are used to keep up the French marriage customs.

The Wedding Procession

The bride is escorted to the church by her groom. The wedding procession begins at the home of the bride. Children, relatives and friends lead the procession to the church along with musicians. The bride and her father on the left and the groom and his mother on the right follow the procession. The French marriage customs demand that children block the bridal couple’s route with white ribbons which must be cut by the bride. In some parts of France such as Brittany, beggars hold a plaited hedgerow brier across the bride’s path. She must bribe them to remove the same. These obstacles are supposed to signify the couple’s commitment to face obstacles together.

The Wedding Ceremony

The bride and the groom are made to stand beneath the silken canopy as per the French marriage customs. A silk fabric the “carre” is held over the head of the bride and groom when the bride and groom receive the final blessing of the priest. The veil is said to protect them from any malice or ill will that may descend on them. This veil is later used for their new born child’s baptism.

During the wedding ceremony, the father of the bride would remove the shoe of the bride and hand it over to the groom as an indication of “transfer of authority” over the bride to the groom. The groom would then tap the bride on the head with the shoe to indicate his acceptance of the authority.

French marriage customs demand that the couple is showered with rice and wheat as they emerge from the church. In southern parts of France dragees (chocolates covering almonds, sugar or nougat) and coins are tossed to children waiting at the doorstep. The grains and dragees symbolize fertility and prosperity. The couple then walks through a flower arch and laurel leaves are scattered on their path as part of the French wedding custom.

The Wedding Reception

The wedding reception according to the French marriage customs is held on the day of the wedding. Guests bring with them small cakes and stack them in a pile as high as possible. The bride and groom are expected to kiss over the pile without knocking them over. This is said to symbolize a lifetime of prosperity. The French wedding customary cake is known as croquembouche and is made of small cream filled pasty puffs piled in a pyramid and covered with caramel glaze and spun sugar.

After this ceremony the bride’s cup is filled with ale and a sprig of rosemary is passed from hand to hand among the guests.

This is followed by the removal of bride’s garter by the groom. The garter is a ribbon that is worn by the bride on her wedding day. The garter is then cut into pieces and distributed among the guests for a price. Sometimes this garter is boisterously stolen by the guests from the bride. A piece of the bride’s garter is said to bring luck to the receiver as per the French wedding customs. Modern French wedding customs have replaced this garter with the bridal bouquet.

The Wedding Night

The wedding night in the French wedding custom is an occasion for revelry. The guests interrupt the wedding couple by clanging pots and pans and ringing bells and blowing horns. The wedding couple is expected to come out of their chamber and to treat their tormentors with food and wine. The groom pays fines to his bride’s friends called la peloto.

The bride and groom then drink from a specially engraved, double handled goblet that is usually a family heirloom handed down from father to son.

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