The big day has arrived for the wedding in Bras. This time it is a religious wedding held in a church in Bras. The wedding doesn’t start until 3pm so we have plenty of time to get shirts ironed and make ourselves as beautiful as we can given poor raw materials with which we have to work.
Chris took the car down to Saint Maximin to get some money and petrol. On the way to Saint Maximin Chris dropped Mark and Nathalie off at Bras. Mark and Nathalie had generously offerred to buy lunch for everyone. By the time Chris got back lunch was in full swing.
After lunch we got dressed and drove, with Amy on board, into Bras for the wedding. At the church there were a number of locals dressed in brightly coloured, traditional garb which added to the occasion. Genevieve had nominated Matthew and Sophie to throw home grown lavender at the bride and groom after the wedding and they had decorated baskets full on lavender for this purpose. Sophie was quite excited and held onto her basket for the entire wedding. There were two ministers at the wedding, Philipe, whom is Laurent’s uncle and the local minister. The bride and groom arrived on schedule looking more relaxed than first time and the ceremony began. The ceremony was in French with only one brief statement in English from Julie’s dad, Alain, to acknowledge our presence and that of other English speakers. Phillipe’s ceremony was impressive and included a number of speeches from family members from the Waerzeggers’ side. The ceremony lasted just over an hour and then Matthew and Sophie stood at the doorway of the church and offered their baskets of lavender to all of the guests as they exited from the church. The locals, in their brightly colored garb, some playing traditional musical instruments, were outside the doorway with flower covered branches held up to form an archway for everyone to walk under. After most of the guests were outside the church there was a gap in the outpouring before the bride and grooms’ parents emerged. Then the crowd was treated to the emergence of Julie and Laurent and everyone let fly with their handfuls of lavender over the lovely couple as they walked under the arches of flowers. Some people also had deep red heart shaped tissue paper pieces that resembled rose petals as they showered the newly weds. There were some bubble blowers in the baskets that were quickly handed around as well and it was a great atmosphere of happiness and celebration amidst the sunshine, traditional music and the breeze lifting the bubbles and paper hearts and swirling them around the guests.
After the ceremony Julie and Laurent and their parents lead the stream of guests, on foot, through the village and up the hill to the home of Julie’s family. The Waerzeggers had transformed their garden into something resembling the forecourt of a Sultan’s palace with streamers tied to bushes, gently blowing in the wind. It was a scene of joyful celebration. One thing that stands out in this part of the world is the rock walls that are more than one hundred years old that either retain terraced land or serve as fences. There are some lengths of these walls in the Waerzeggers’ garden and the traditionally dressed locals were up on a terraced section playing their music as guests spread amongst the garden and around the pristine piscine (pool) to chat and indulge in canapés, drinks and to be treated by the warm hospitality of the family. The food was exceptional and there was plenty to go around. It included bite sized versions of some characteristic dishes of the area such as cherry sized tomatoes filled with a tiny shrimp mixture and small savory wafer cones filled with local pate. It was lovely standing there and talking to guests for several hours. The kids enjoyed the afternoon immensely as they played in the garden with a few other local children who were also there to celebrate. It was interesting to watch them interacting without a common language. They managed to get along very well and later with the help of a lady called Celine, who translated some conversations between the kids they’d become great playmates and were practicing saying things in each other’s language and giggling.
At about 7pm we started moving towards the reception which was to be held in a winery about 12 kms away on the other side of the village of Tourve. Everyone walked down the hill back to their cars. Just like the stream of people walking from the church through the village there was now a cavalcade of cars snaking its way through the countryside to arrive at the place to continue the celebration. The winery, appropriately enough was called Julienne. The grape vines were all standing in rows greeting us as we approached the old cellar. Dinner was magnificent. Entree was a salmon dish, main was rack of lamb and this was followed by cheeses. Dessert was a selection of individual serves of cakes and other treats. One of the desserts we experienced was the best crepe suzette I have ever tasted. Over dinner there were some fun speeches and a guessing competition to see who knew the bride and groom best and how well they knew each other. There was also a slide show of old photos and the ones of Julie were particularly funny.
By the time we had finished dessert it was bout 1:30am and time to round up the kids and head home. Overall it was a lovely night which had been well planned and well executed. Everyone seemed to be having a good time and we would have enjoyed kicking on, but such is the life of parents with young children.