Thursday, August 04, 2005

Le Mariage (Part II)

view of mende The last time that you read about the wedding, Gem and Jube had just noticed the wedding party outside of the mayor's office--and neither of them were dressed! We hurried to the free parking lot, with Jube asking Gem to lean forward and hide his head from the guests so they wouldn't know a) that he was still looking for a parking place and b) that he wasn't dressed up. We parked the car, pulled on our clothes really quickly, and then walked to the cathedral. However, the cathedral was practically empty except for two tourists. Jube had thought that they were finished at the Mairie, and would then walk to the cathedral, but he was wrong. We hustled back to the Mairie where we finally found the wedding. A friend's father was conducting the ceremony, which is a rarity in France. Normally it is the mayor, but since the friend's father was a councilman, he could get a special licence. The ceremony was much longer than normal because of this, with lots of references to the bride's parents, the groom's family, and even songs being played. Then they got down to business: "The contract you will be signing states that you will share all of your goods with each other, and when you die will go to your children, according to law number 1180" (this is an approximation, of course!). They both signed the contract, and then everyone applauded and went downstairs to wait outside of the Mairie to take pictures of the couple. Then everyone walked to the cathedral. It was interesting to see the wedding from an outsider's point of view--a whole troupe of well-dressed people walking through the tiny streets of a town, saying hello to shopkeepers and even having tourists take pictures of them. When we arrived at the cathedral, everyone took a seat and waited for the traditional wedding mass to begin. This was much more like an American wedding than the civil part--the bride's father gave her away, the priest spoke about faith, hope, and love... but also different, since the bridal attendants did not have to wear matching clothes, and because no one in the church knew the correct prayers or order of the mass (I think I was the only one, besides the priest!). But it was basically the same as any religious wedding ceremony in a church. Afterwards everyone headed up to the site for the aperitif. This is another difference between an American and a French wedding: there are two sets of guests. Both sets come to the actual wedding ceremony and the aperitif, but only the more privileged guests get to attend the real festivities. Jube had told me about the last wedding he went to--it ended at 5:00am and they had about 15 courses starting at 9:00pm and continuing throughout the night, including a lobster. I knew better than to expect that this time, since we were only invited to the aperitif, but I was still hoping for some traditional French cuisine. Boy was I disappointed! They weren't serving any champagne, and I'm not that into whisky, port, or pastis, so I got to have a beer (from a keg). Since Jube was driving, he didn't drink anything but fruit juice. The little hors d'oeuvres were basically what you could get in the US: mini pigs-in-blankets, little sardines-in-blankets, basically something savory in filo dough. We didn't get any wedding cake, either, just mini eclairs and mini fruit pies. But what was most disappointing was the location. The aperitif took place in the parking lot of a factory, so our view was of big trucks in the background. One of them was kept idling the whole time, perhaps to keep refrigerators running. I'm not sure. Then it was time for Jube and I to head home, three hours back to Gallargues, this time descending the tiny switchback roads. We made it back safely--and Jube assures me that he used to drive faster when he was younger. So I'm really lucky that I met him when he was a little bit older, I guess!

1 comment:

Gem said...