A Conversation for Wedding Etiquette

French invitation etiquette

Post 1


I understand that the French may invite some guests to the ceremony; some to the ceremony and the reception; and some to the reception but not the sit-down dinner. There is a term for this custom. Does anybody know about it?


French invitation etiquette

Post 2



I live in France, so I will ask a French friend about this for you. I do know the actual marriage is a legal ceremony, not a religious one & takes place at the Mairie. But if the couple wish, they can follow it with a church service too, like a blessing.

I'll get back to you as soon as i find out more, keep nagging me!


French invitation etiquette

Post 3


I am a French citizen living in the UK and I know what you mean.
The wedding itself is called the mariage. Normally if you invite the people to your "mariage", it means you want them to attend the "mariage civil" (ie in the town hall) as well as the Church ceremony (if it applies). The invitation usually state both times and places.
It is implied that if they attend this, they will also attend the "Vin d'honneur" which is a sort of prelude to the main sit down dinner in the evening (and help keep going if you are hungryand the wedding took place aound lunch time). Some "Vins d'honneurs" are done more as an aperitif and people invited only to those would receive a special invitation, notifying them only of the wedding and inviting them to the Vin d'honneur. Usually the entire village of the bride or up to 300 guests attend those. This is like a big cold (or warm, if posh) buffet with canapes ans sweets and drinks, usually offered (it is rude in France to ask wedding guests to pay for their drinks, if they are invited, they should not put their hand in their pockets all day)
It means that due to this invitation, they know they are not to stay at the formal sit down dinner and usually leave by 17:00-18:00 latest. Usually the vin d'honneur ends at 15;00 so that the "real" wedding party can sit down to the main "banquet", which comprises of many courses (not just 3 like in Britain), you have (again) the aperitif, then the starter, the first course (fish usually, frogs legs for example or snails...smiley - erm)then the main course (meat, sorry vegetarians)accompanied by at least 2 sorts of vegetables in sauces as well as cooked dishes like "Gratins" (oven baked speciality). Then come the desserts or if really posh, the "trou Normand",, a pear sorbet with Williams pear schnapps ("Eau de Vie"), that helps digest all this food before the next course arrives....Then the obligatory Cheese Board and then only the dessert: The wedding cake (I cannot remember exactly but the british custom of a dessert AND the wedding cake is not usual in France), after that this is the turn of the "digestifs", ie the strong spririts to wash this down and polish off any left over bottles...at that stage the band starts playing and the bride and groom start dancing followed by whoever. The bride must dance with her father in law (ideally an old fashion dance like the waltz).
I hope this helps, I got carried away by happy memoriessmiley - winkeye...sorry for the long response.

French invitation etiquette

Post 4


Dear apbonet,
I am an English person now resident in a small French village, and I read your response on the organisation of French weddings with great interest as I am one of those villagers who has been invited to a bénédiction nuptiale at 16:30. The invitation says that the vin d'honneur will be at the start of the ceremony.
Do you think this means that we go at 16:30, and the vin d'honneur will take place for an hour or so before the wedding?
And more important, is it usual to take a gift or flowers or anything? Or to give something beforehand? We know the parents of the bride but not the 'happy couple'
I do hope you can help me as this is a 'first' for us.

French invitation etiquette

Post 5


I'm British and married to French guy and confirm that this invitation etiquette is the norm in France. For any important family event: weddings, births, deaths, it is customary to make a "faire-part", which is an card sent to all aquaintances of the family, informing them of the event. When you receive a "faire-part" for a marriage, prior to it taking place, you may be invited to attend just the town hall and or church ceremony. You can receive a faire part after a wedding takes place just so you are informed that they tied the knot.
You might receive a seperate card with the faire-part inviting you to just the 'vin d'honneur', in which case it would be expected that you leave as soon as the Aperatif is over. If you are invited to whole caboodle including the meal this would also be mentioned on a seperate card that would come with the 'faire-part'.
And you thought in the UK it was complicated.smiley - smiley

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