Monday, July 8, 2013

The Charm of a French Country Wedding


Un mariage à la française? I didn't know what to think, how it could be, how I should behave. The questions that rolled around my head made me slightly nervous until Remi reminded me that I was not, actually, the one getting married but simply a guest. 

How excited I was to have been invited, for Nathalie is one of the very first people that I had met in France. Remi and I both watched as she climbed up and up the corporate ladder, all while keeping her truly radiant personality intact. 

When she first told us about Laurent, she couldn't contain her smile. We understood why after having met him and jumped for joy--literally--when she announced her engagement to him. Would we come to the wedding? Mais bien sûr!!

Up to Paris by plane, down through Burgundy wine country to see family, tracing the Loire and over to Chartres...all under a cold rain. And yet, within mere hours before we were to meet at the church in the tiny village of Manou (while Natalie is an urbanite, her parents live in this bucolic corner of the Perche region), the sun broke through, victorious.


We arrived just in time to see the couple emerge from le Mairie or town hall, where the mandatory civil ceremony was performed. 


It was only a quick dash across the street to the churchyard...


...where friends and family took turns giving bisous and saying hello.


I felt the energy of anticipation gather as the priest emerged to call everyone into the church...


...and a flutter of my heart as Nathalie entered it graciously on her Father's arm.


As Remi was the official photographer for the ceremony, I sat in the back and took it all in...the warm and steady voice of the priest, the silvery notes of a flute, the helpless fit of giggles of three parisiens in the pew beside me.


It was simple, genuine and deeply moving.


Afterwards, we gathered at the entry to wait, each with a fistful or rose petals or rice to throw...


...the bells rang out...


...and the Newlyweds did not disappoint.


A circuit of happiness...


...shined through us all...


...zapping in celebration...


...for the inherent hope of Love.

Félicitations, Nathalie et Laurent! I wish you many, many great years together ahead.


I hope you will join me for my next post as the wedding dinner was surprising and wonderful...
Have a wonderful week everyone.



46 comments:

  1. This is the most charming wedding I've seen in a long long time. So happy you showed us and I cannot wait to see the dinner photographs.

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    1. Marsha, you would have loved it! So fun and I know that you would have been up dancing the night away. :)

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  2. How charming. I love weddings.

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    1. You are such a romantic, Loree, no surprise there.

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  3. Heather- you captured the palpable feeling of love in the air . . .

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    1. For privacy reasons I didn't share a photo of a very young couple smooching but suffice to say, you're right!!

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  4. Replies
    1. Oooh, just you wait until the next post, Mr. Laoch...

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  5. Just lovely. I look forward to the next post.

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    1. Lovely being in contact with you today. :)

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  6. LOvely account of the activity..............now when is YOURS????

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    1. Don't hold your breath for that one, my dear Contessa...

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    2. Whats wrong with HIM???I do get the feeling its HIM and NOT YOU!
      Good grief......your GORGEOUS,have a way with words,can take a photograph NO PROBLEMO!So, what more does he need?Plus, you can cook!!!!!!!!And you know your cocktails!
      XOXOXO
      YOUR PERFECT!

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  7. Oh Heather. How beautiful it is to see a celebration that is lovely while not going over the top. It's about the couple and their happiness, and the pleasure of the guests in seeing it and being part of it.

    Merveilleux.

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    1. Yep, right to the essentials of what it is all about. You would have loved it--plus the shoe spotting was good! ;)

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  8. I was happy to see the pictures of the wedding as I have not been to a wedding in France up to now. This one was beautiful and you caught the spirit beautifully. I look forward to reading and seeing details about the wedding dinner. Have a great day.

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    1. Merci beaucoup, Michel! And if you ever have the invitation go...by all means! Because you know that the wines and food are going to be good and hopefully the company even better...

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  9. Congratulations to Nathalie and Laurent. A beautiful day and I love how you captured the images and all the fashionable shoes. Wishing you a delightful week Heather

    Helen xx

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    1. Yay!!! You noticed the shoes!! I don't know what was up with me but I was so into the shoes. I actually have TWO other shoe shots that I didn't publish...heehee....
      Sending much Beauty your way, Helen...

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  10. So beautiful! The wedding looks like it was lovely - what a beautiful chapel! I think I spied Remi in one of the shots, and how cute is that little French boy in his - what appears to be a - leather jacket! I happen to know you looked lovely as well! And I laughed out loud at La Contessa's question! Thank you for another wonderful post!

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    1. Thank you, Sister!!! I loved how the kids were totally allowed to be themselves at the wedding--you would have too!

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  11. Looks like a French fairy tale. How lovely to be part of such a charming celebration. Best wishes to the happy couple!!

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    1. Jeanne, it was so well-thought out, every detail and yet wasn't the least bit pretentious or bling.

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  12. Always fun to be a part of someone's wedding and this one looked charming. Hey my second French wedding....lol. Congratulations to Nathalie and Laurent I wish them well.

    XXX
    Debra~

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  13. DearHeather, I think I told you that my first trip to France was for Herve's brother's astoundingly elaborate wedding.....and that I went to weddings during each of the subsequent four trips. We found ourselves unanticipatedly (if happily)stuck inthe middle of one on our last trip to Aix en Provence.

    The part I love best is the time of milling about in front of the Marie....never less than ten or so other wedding parties, brides & grooms included (and all of varying classes, races, etcetera)....everyone standing (some nervously, some laughing their heads off) about in the courtyard, waiting for the doors to open.

    The scene is always quite heartwarming....and, I will admit, often amusing. I've reached the age at which I can't help but consider, in most cases, how YOUNG the brides & grooms are.

    Thanks for the evocative posting,

    David Terry
    www.davidterryart.com

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    1. Welcome, Mr. Terry. But all I did was snap at other's joy. And that the bride and groom were not, say, 20, in this case made it all the more lovely. They KNOW what they are doing! :)

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  14. So very charming. The sweet bouquet of peonies melted my heart. Gallivanta

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    1. Wasn't that gorgeous?? I know that a lot of us love peonies and it was just the most perfect bouquet.

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  15. P.S. Heather?.....not entirely apropos of the "wedding theme" (but entirely appropriate for your writings and photography and what you've made of your blog)...?

    A longtime friend just sent me this link (to which you should GO, missy). Amusingly enough, he used to be a neighbor of and friends with Mary Chapin Carpenter, and I met her several times during her very early days, when I was visiting him. I had NO particularly clear idea of how talented she was....just a vague notion that she was yet another singer-songwriter I regularly met at those sort of parties in my early twenties.

    And, just for the record (so to speak)? One of your constant readers (I've never met the lady) has commissioned a piece from me (thank you, Heather), and another regular reader recently wrote to me.....writing that you had turned blogging into an "art".

    Just thought I'd pass those thoughts on to you....

    go to:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3rt30oFJGM

    Admiringly as ever, (and you really do need to establish an American facebook page, so that we can all help you to gain further fans)

    David Terry
    www.davidterryart.com

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    1. My goodness David, that truly made my day, you knew that it would--all of it. Just tickled pink, I am...Will listen to the song in a bit. I still can't get over the Leonard Cohen song from your recent email. I played Joan of Arc and that last moment of giving over is quite...Quite...

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  16. Oh Heather, once again I find myself following David who writes so beautifully of things and thoughts that my comments will pale in comparison. But a lovely report - I felt as though we were there with you. Congratulations to the happy couple! Actually, I must again mention David whom I would never have 'met' if it had not been for your blog. I look forward to reading his comments and envy you having him as a follower. I've begun following his FB page - a continuation of his wit, wisdom and a showcase of his artistic talents. Thanks for introducing us. xo Jackie

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    1. Oh, don't think I don't know how lucky I am, Jackie. I do. I would move earth and water for David (is that the expression? My poor franglaised brain) plus, Remi and I are the proud owner of three of his amazing pieces. And proud of that.

      David keeps me at the top of what I am capable of too.

      And Jackie? Lots of folks out there are so delighted to be your internet friend too...
      xo,
      H

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    2. And I treasure each one of those 'blogosphere beings' who've become friends!
      xo
      J.

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  17. Okay, then, "Jackie & Joel".......(1) thank you for the compliments.....and (2) how do we force Heather to "get on" facebook? I know how to "agent" her (I used to do this as a living), and she would readily gain even more fans/professional connections/etcetera.

    Facebook isn't, of course, the end-all-&-be-all for anyone......but it could do her (and Remi) a lot of good.

    As I've said previously?....the woman's already got at least two good books in her (my instincts are always good in this regard). So, let's get her out more?....

    advisedly as ever,

    david terry
    www.davidterryart.com

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  18. "Daaaaviiid." (Head thrown back, whining)
    Really? I listen to you so if you think that is right...well, can I just get away with saying "hello" with each new post? Sigh. You really, really think it would make a difference? (pouting, thinking, considering)
    Well, I love this post so if I do, I might as well jump in...
    But how?

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    1. Oooh, not looking good David. Not looking good! I just went to see Vicki and Sharon Satorini's fb pages and they work at it! And I could not even find you...I don't know...

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  19. "finding me" on facebook is easy, Heather.....I'm David Charles Terry. Everyone in my family (and most of my longtime friends) has called me "David Charles"....forever. there are all too many "David"s inmy family...including my paternal grandmother, two uncles, and God knows how many others. We're big on using middle names, since we're short on coming up with new first-names.

    There's also a nasty, wildly-convservative (he's apparently contributed a number of his "portraits" of Republican texan Supreme Court Justices...and they hang in the statehouse down there) "David Terry" who somehow happens to be an artist down in TEX-ASS (google him; you'll also find a photographer in Denver). I do my best to maintain a distinction between the lawyer/artist's fat ass and my skinny one
    ( he really must outweigh me by at least 100 pounds...I've seen a photograph of him, which was oddly comforting).

    He's "DavidTerry.com" (which I regard as stretching the term...but who's in charge these days?)

    Sincerely,

    David Terry
    www.davidterryart.com

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  20. Oh the simplicity of it all...my favourite kind of weddings...where it isn't designed to within a centimetre of its life....just love, and flowers, and happy people...what more does one need?

    (can't help wincing at the glamorous high heels on that gravel though....eeeks.....must have been a few damaged heels by day's end methinks...???)

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  21. There is nothing more lovely than a wedding... in any country... Romance... it's the best... xv

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  22. oh!!

    those p e o n i es......

    what an elegant bouquet choice.

    lovely pix!

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  23. charm and splendor of weddings accented by rose petals…"A circuit of happiness." and "inherent hope of Love."

    It's wonderful to read a clear flowing narration and see very nice photos from different chosen angles.

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  24. I love these photos -- they are a beautiful testament to the joy and celebration of the day. And how cute is the little boy ringing the bells?

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  25. I'm arriving a little late here. Heather, I always tear up at weddings and this one was no exception. Thank you allowing me to be a fly on the wall to the very best parts of this one.

    David is spot-on about the books. Maybe we can chat off-line about the FB idea. And you can just take a guess as to who your "regular" reader is who told him that you have turned blogging into an "art."

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  26. Hey Old Miss Heather?.....Judith is (as usual) right.

    ----david terry

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  27. Hello Miss! The first French wedding I went to was that our our assistant's about 6 years ago. I remember it being a long, drawn out affair that started at noon and didn't wrap up until 3AM! The next day I was exhausted. The French seemed to have so much stamina for these things. I must admit though, sitting in the cathedral in Menton with all the decked out guests, listening to the beautiful organ music was really beautiful.

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