French Wedding Traditions 法式婚禮傳統

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A wedding is always said to be one of the most important events in a woman’s life; every culture has their own traditions to celebrate the love between the bride and the groom.  France is always a dream destination for weddings, apart from their romantic venues and delicious food, have you ever imagined how a French-style wedding is like? Whether or not you are getting married in France, it is just as inspiring to discover some of their traditions and perhaps take from it some ideas for your big day:

婚禮是一個女人生命中最重要的事之一,每個文化皆有其獨特的婚禮傳統,以慶祝新人之間的愛情。法國作為結婚的夢想國度,你有否曾想像過何謂法式婚禮?無論你是否在法國舉行婚禮,發掘他們的傳統元素,都或許可以為你的重要日子借取靈感:

1) Center of Attention 婚禮重心

Instead of focusing on the bride or the couple, the French consider weddings as a celebration of the union between two families.  The groom would walk his mother down the aisle after the guests have been seated, then the bride with her father.  There are no deliberate teams of bridesmaids or groomsmen, but they may invite a few close friends to act as witnesses (maximum of 4) in the ceremony.  To avoid the hustle and bustle of the city, many French couples prefer to tie the knot at the countryside, where they may enjoy their time with families and friends in a beautiful laid-back environment.

法國人視婚禮為兩個家庭結合的一個慶祝儀式,故焦點不在於新娘子,或一對新人,形式一般簡約真摯,而不是一場為了令眾賓客驚嘆的宏偉典禮。新郎挽著他的母親;新娘則由其父親帶當中沒有特意安排的伴娘團或伴郎團,唯邀請少數親密朋友擔任新婚夫婦的見證人。而且許多法國新人喜歡到鄉郊地區舉辦婚禮逃離城市的喧囂,在悠閒的環境中與親友共度時光。

 

2)Attire and Hairpieces 婚宴裝束與頭飾

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French brides do not usually dress extravagantly – but an understated fancy white gown that exudes style and elegance, accompanied by a flower crown.  Their makeup and hair would be natural and timeless.  High-heels are not a must, it is not uncommon to see them wear sandals or flats, and they could even go barefoot during the night long party time.

法國新娘子當日的打扮一般不會特别隆重華麗,婚紗一般選擇風格較低調卻展現優雅的剪裁,配上一個花冠。髮型風格偏向自然清爽,妝容亦較簡約。你或者會以為在這個重大的日子,新娘定必配上一對高跟鞋 - 事實上,她們會以涼鞋或平底鞋取以代之。甚至在派對期間,即興赤腳跳舞。

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White flowers are commonly used for the wreath or the bouquet. However, the ones used for commemorating the dead are generally avoided, such as lily or chrysanthemums.  The same goes for red carnations as it is a symbol of bad luck.  In rural France, some flowers such as sunflowers and lavender are considered agricultural crops and therefore not used in weddings unless specially requested; flowers such as orchids are preferred instead.  A veil may also be worn, as veils are traditionally thought to ward off any malice that may descend on the wedded couple.

As for the guests, the only dress code is to avoid wearing white and avoid outdoing the bride. While black is avoided in attending a wedding for Chinese, it is common, on the contrary, for French to wear in black.  It is also a tradition, and sometimes mandatory, for guests to put on a fascinator type of hat.  Keeping with the easy style of French weddings, guests usually wear fancy fabrics in classic cuts that are not too low cut.

花冠或手上的花束,通常以白色的花朵製成,避免使用紀念逝者的白花,例如百合或菊花;同樣避免象徵惡運的紅色康乃馨。在法國某些鄉村,向日葵及薰衣草被認為是農作物,因此除特別要求,否則不會用於婚禮上,並選擇蘭花等品種代替。新娘亦會佩戴頭紗,因為傳統上認為頭紗可以避免惡運降在新婚夫婦身上。

至於賓客的服裝要求,則是避免穿著白色衣物及裝扮得比新娘更隆重。會令中國人倍感意外的是,法國人穿著黑色衣服出席婚禮幾乎十分普遍。佩戴淑女帽亦是傳統之一,有時更會被指定為必須的配飾。保持簡約法式婚禮風格,賓客會選擇面料高貴、裁剪簡單卻不失品位的服裝,不會穿著領口過低的衣服。

3)A Long Wedding Reception 當日流程

On the morning of the wedding, the groom would lead a bustling crowd of musicians to the bride’s home and pick her up.  As they walk together towards their marriage venue, children on the street would block their path with ribbons for the bride to cut, which symbolizes overcoming the obstacles of a married life.  After the ceremony, cars driving to the reception would beep their horns loudly along the way to ensure all the guests find their way. Traditionally, the cars would even have trails of metals cans attached to them to create even more clatter. The wedding meal usually starts quite late – possibly at 10pm – and usually ends after midnight, followed by an all-night dance party.  French wedding parties are known for finishing at 5 to 7am in the morning!

在婚禮的早上,新郎會帶領一群熱鬧的音樂家到新娘家中迎接她,一起步行到婚禮場地,途中街上的孩子們會用絲帶擋住他們,新娘要剪開絲帶以象徵克服婚姻生活的種種障礙。婚禮結束後,前往接待處的車輛將沿途大聲鳴笛,確保所有賓客能找到方向。根據傳統,有些車輛甚至會拖著一串串鐵罐,製造更多咔嗒聲。法式婚宴通常開始得很晚,大概晚上10時開始,午夜結束,隨後才開始通宵的跳舞派對。所以,法國的新婚派對通常到早上5時至7時才圓滿結束!

4)The Wedding Cake and Champagne pyramid 結婚蛋糕與香檳塔


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Instead of a grand tiered wedding cake, you would see a Croquembouche, which is an impressive pyramid of cream puffs held together by wisps of caramel glaze.  With a bit of creative twist, the cream puffs can be replaced by other types of pastries, such as colourful macarons.  Originating from the Middle Ages, the Croquembouche evolved from a stacked pile of small cakes or pastries brought by guests as gifts.  The wedded couple were said to have prosperity for life if they could kiss over the pile of cakes without knocking them over.

說起結婚蛋糕,我們最經常會聯想起現代的巨型層疊式蛋糕。可是,法式婚宴的特別之處正正是不採用這款蛋糕。宴會以精緻的法式糕點結束,當中值得一提的Croquembouche,是一座由奶油泡芙堆疊而成的高塔,整座塔用焦糖來黏合固定。若多加一點創意,奶油泡芙可由其他糕點取代,例如彩色的馬卡龍。Croquembouche由中世紀演化而成:當時參加婚禮的賓客會帶來小蛋糕或糕點作為禮物,並把它們疊起來;據說新人若能成功在這堆糕點上親吻而不把糕點推倒,他們將享有終生的豐足。

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(Photo Source: http://liliagjerstad.com/inspo/)

Apart from a tower of pastries, French weddings may also include a stunning pyramid of champagne specially built with multiple stacked layers of Coupe Champagne glasses which have a wider rim for balance.  The bubbly is poured into the topmost glass and gradually overflows into the lower layers.  The champagne is then served around for toasting to the newly weds.

除了糕點塔外,法式婚宴還可能包括一座壯觀的香檳塔。香檳塔由多層 Coupe 香檳杯疊成,這種杯比一般的香檳杯具有更寬的邊緣,易於平衡。香檳塔是一種流行的派對玩意,香檳被倒進最頂層的香檳杯,並逐漸溢出流到下層。裝滿所有杯後,把香檳分派給賓客,向新婚夫婦乾杯

5)The Meal and Table Manners 婚宴及餐桌禮儀

A typical French wedding menu may include starters such as Foie gras and scallops, followed by meat-based and fish-based main dishes.  Onion soup is a signature in French Wedding, usually served on the morning after the wedding feast to help guests recover from the overnight partying.

Since French wedding meals last for more than several hours, there is no rush for guests to finish the food or drinks.  Having the wine glass three quarters full indicates that it does not need to be refilled.  Throughout the meal, guests should keep in mind to have their hands visible on the table instead of hidden on their lap, while elbows should be kept off the table.  After finishing a dish, the fork and knife should be placed next to each other on the plate.  To leave the table for a short while, place the napkin on your chair; to leave the table after finishing the meal, place the napkin on the table.

典型的法式婚宴菜單可包括鵝肝、扇貝等前菜,接著是以肉類、魚類為主的主菜。洋蔥湯是經常出現的菜色之一,特別在在婚宴次日的早上供應,以助賓客恢復因前夜狂歡呼聲起舞所消耗的精力。

由於法式婚宴持續超過多個小時,因此賓客不必急於完成食物或飲料。若不需要添加飲料,可把酒杯保持四分三盛滿。整個用餐過程中,緊記把雙手放上桌面,而不是放在膝蓋上,肘部則不應靠在桌上。每一道菜吃完後,把叉子和刀子並排放在碟上。若要短暫離開餐桌,可將餐巾放在椅子上;若要離開宴會,則把餐巾放在桌子上。

 

6)Wedding Favours 傳統回禮

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Traditionally, guests will receive 5 Dragées – sugar or chocolate coated almonds – as gifts. The almond symbolizes the bitterness of life, while the sugar or chocolate symbolizes the sweetness of love that will hopefully overcome life’s bitterness.  In addition, the 5 Dragées in 5 different colours have their individual symbolization: health, wealth, happiness, longevity, and fertility.

給賓客的婚宴回禮,傳統上會每人送出5粒 Dragées – 糖霜杏仁 或 巧克力杏仁作為婚宴回禮。杏仁象徵著生命的苦澀;糖或巧克力象徵著愛的甜蜜,希望能克服生命的苦澀。此外,5粒不同顏色的Dragées分別象徵健康、財富、幸福、長壽及生育。

 

7) The Trousseau  新娘嫁妝

The bride would take with her the Trousseau to her married life, which is a collection of linens, dresses and lingerie.  It is part of the custom to embroider the bride’s married initials on each item, by the bride or her mother,  which will be kept in a wedding armoire or hope chest especially carved by the bride’s father for her new home.  The more modern version would be to gift the bride with French bed linen for her home, to be kept in a beautiful French Armoire.

新娘會帶著一份名為Trousseau的禮物前往她的新居,是一套由她母親和她自己親手製作的布製品,包括床單、連衣裙、內衣等等。新娘婚後姓名的首字母會被繡在每件布製品上,存放在由新娘父親雕刻的婚禮衣櫥中。到了現代,通常會送贈新娘一套寢具並保存於華麗的法式壁櫃裡。

 

Are you planning a wedding? 正在籌備你的婚禮?

At The Girls Room by QueenEco, you may experience some of the elements of a French wedding by booking our venue for a bridal shower or a cozy wedding reception.  Simply contact us for more info.

在 The Girls Room by QueenEco,我們將法式婚禮的一些傳統元素帶到你面前,立即聯絡我們以預約屬於你的 法式婚前幸福茶聚派對 及 溫馨證婚派對

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