09 August 2015

K's French Wedding - Part 1: My favourite pre-wedding moments

Instead of telling you a sequence of events in the lead up to my friend K's wedding and wedding day in France, (which I'd written, hated, rewritten and still hated), I figure I'll tell you about my favourite moments during the five days. I hope this make for more interesting reading and you'll forgive the delay. For the curious, they are in order :)

Meeting K at the station

A small thing but it was a pleasant surprise when I saw her text, as I was pulling into Dole,saying she'd meet me. Sure enough, she was there looking for me on the platform as I got off the train. I really wasn't expecting it and it was such a nice surprise. There is something so heartwarming about being met by a familiar face when arriving somewhere isn't there? We went to check into the AirBnB K had found (utterly gorgeous), dump my stuff, go for coffee and then a bite to eat. Which brings me to my second moment.

By the canal in Dole

French crepes by the water

It was perfect, sunny and quiet with only the murmurings from a few other diners and lapping water. We were right by the canals edge so we could watch the fish swim past while we had proper french crepes and caught up on wedding preparations. Our waiter was really nice too (another surprise!), he helped with translations and went out of his way to help us with a logistical question for the vineyard tour I'd planned for the following day.

Meeting K's family

In the three years I've known K, I've never met her family. It was so nice to finally meet her parents and sister and try to trace the family resemblance. They are as sweet and unassuming as K is and I wish I'd spent more time talking to them.

Dinner with some of the wedding guest - we had onther table at the top too.

Getting to know K's friends

Meeting K's friends (the other bridesmaids and their partners) who'd flown over from Brisbane, Australia was a bit intimidating. In all honesty, the idea of going to a wedding where I knew maybe one other person (if you don't count the bride and groom) wasn't my idea of fun. I'm not one of those people who loves, or thrives, on those situations, in fact, it usually takes me a while to warm up to people and I infinitely prefer one-to-one situations when meeting new people. So I was a bit awkward and didn't say much. It didn't help that they'd all known each other for ages and shared a love for running, cycling & swimming. It was like they were speaking another language. But I was happy to listen and get to know the people in K's life pre-London. And after dinners, a vineyard tour and wedding prep, I relaxed a bit more and was able to join in the chat and banter. And it really helped that K's friends were absolutely lovely and they made me feel welcome. By the end of my trip, I was a lot more comfortable and very glad I'd met them. A lot of my happy memories from the trip involve them.

Our very cute French apartment in Dole

Coffee and croissants by the window

It was peaceful and relaxing and felt like a proper French moment. K, being an early riser had picked up some croissants, I had made coffee. We pulled up the dining table chairs and sat by the huge open windows of our apartment, sipping coffee and munching fresh fluffy croissants. It was a quiet morning, sunny and warm but not quite hot yet with a faint early morning breeze. Simple pleasures.

The lookout over the vineyards

It was gorgeous. The view out over the vineyards, blue and white skies, and the small villages nestled in between the green vines, it was picture perfect. It was my favourite part of the vineyard tour I'd organised for K, her friends and I to go on.

Seeing the chateau for the first time

Did I mention that the reason the wedding was out in the middle of nowhere was because K's partners' family has a chateau there? The first time I saw it was the morning of the race and I was gobsmacked. The whole image of K getting married to a half French, half British boy in the grounds of his family's chateau in rural French was so chick lit fairy tale cliche it hit me like a tonne of bricks when i actually saw the chateau for the first time. It was brilliant, in a hilarious way. And I loved it. The chateau is what you'd imagine a typical rustic french chateau to be, it sits in its own walled grounds with a tree lined drive, wrought iron gate, orchard at the front and woodland out the back. Just gorgeous.

The chateau - there is more of it on both sides that you cant see in this pic

The Race

A race before your wedding day is just asking for a sprained ankle in my opinion, but that's just me. But this makes it onto the favourite moments list because it is so typically K and P (they met when K joined P's running club), not because i joined in the crazy physical exertion. A lot of the guests were friends they'd met in that club and showed up for the run that morning. I had to admire everyones passion for the sport and how well organised the race was, they'd hand made runner numbers and personalised a bunch of medals and a couple of trophy's for the occasion.

Decorating the marquee

An odd thing to make this list but I enjoyed the buzz of everyone helping decorate the marquee. The results were beautiful. By the way I cannot fold napkins. I blame the napkin. It was weird, all slopey edges and just looked like trouble. I tried, really I did. I can fold a paper crane for heavens sake, but I could not fold that napkin to save my life. By my fifth or eighth attempt the other bridesmaids were on to their fourth napkin. I admitted defeat to that irksome strip of wonky cloth: I threw in the napkin and went of to tie bows on the table cloths. Bows have a much nicer temperament, they tie themselves up in knots to make you happy ;) 

So there you have the prewedding moments :) Coming up next, the wedding and reception.

Have you attended a wedding overseas?