Multicultural wedding at the French seaside

The weddings continue! After last weekend’s French country wedding, this weekend A and I went back to the Nantes area to celebrate the wedding of one of my best American friends in Paris. Jean is American, and he married Christina, who is French of Ecuadorian origin. And they met in Korea. Obviously.  Needless to say, this was a SERIOUSLY international wedding!

international wedding

There were guests from Ecuador, Argentina, The United States, Ireland, China, Algeria, Ghana, France…and I’m sure I’m missing a few other countries! Fortunately, everyone at the wedding was friendly, open, and interested in meeting people from other cultures. Everybody integrated beautifully!

The wedding ceremony itself followed French tradition—it was in a beautiful old church in Clion sur Mer, and there were no bridesmaids or groomsmen, only witnesses. One of the bride’s cousins played the cello beautifully during the ceremony, which is a fairly new practice that’s becoming more and more widespread among French weddings it seems. It was a refreshing change from the organ music, and everyone was amazed by how talented the musician was!

international wedding

Unlike last week’s marathon country wedding, this week we had some time to rest between the ceremony and the reception. Some of the guests went to the beach, others went to freshen up…we went to visit A’s grandparents who have a vacation home nearby.

The reception was a fun mix of American and French traditions. We still had the cocktail hour and the long sit-down meal, but this week it was only 3 courses (oysters for the appetizer, fish for the entrée, self-serve cheese buffet and wedding cake). Still, it seemed that the meal was a bit longer than what the Americans were used to—there was already a crowd on the dance floor long before the cheese and cake came out!

multicultural wedding

In France, instead of just having speeches during the ceremony, the couple’s friends often prepare little games, songs, or skits between the courses. Jean and Christina have some VERY talented friends, including professional tango dancers! Needless to say, the entertainment was top-notch.

Some of our business school friends made a video with messages from each of us, including some of our classmates who couldn’t make it to the ceremony. Unfortunately, though, the DJ couldn’t figure out how to play the video. At least, not with sound (Isn’t that his JOB?). However, I’m not sure how our video would have stood up next to the tango dancers, anyway!

Even the music was a good mix of popular American songs and French classics. There wasn’t any brioche or onion soup this time…but I’m pretty sure half of the guests would have been way beyond confused by those traditions!

Like the week before, there was a return lunch the following day. Instead of charcuterie and salads, though, we had heaping plates of Paella at the bride’s parents house just next to the Atlantic coast.

french seaside wedding

There was even an accordion player, much to the Americans’ delight!

It’s been a really fun couple of weeks, but I have to admit I’ll be glad to stay home and relax this weekend, as well as get back to my normal eating and exercise routine. Just two more weeks and then we’re off on vacation!

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