Wedding planning has slowed down significantly since I went back to work three weeks ago, as I predicted, but we’ve managed to make a lot of decisions and reserve a lot of things already. The choices are interesting when it’s a Franco-American wedding.
1) Wedding website: During my sick leave I set up two wedding websites, one in English on Weddingwire and another in French on Zankyou. Zankyou has a registry function that is basically just a common pot for a specific gift, so after learning that Weddingwire no longer lets you put in your own html code in order to do a Paypal donation button, we’re just directing people from the Weddingwire website to the Zankyou website for any gift-giving that will happen. You can switch Zankyou websites from French to English on a front page drop-down menu. Of course, it won’t translate anything you’ve written in yourself.
2) Caterer: Like I’ve said, the five-course meal was pretty important to J, and we’ve found some pretty yummy stuff to eat. We met with two caterers, one down the road that was way too expensive, and one about a 45-minute drive north of here. We went with the cheaper one, obviously, but it’s also a family operation. The owner’s dog sat at our feet during the appointment. We were won over.
3) Venue: I guess there are many French people who find the idea of getting married in the village hall sort of sad. But the price can’t be beat (280 euros for the weekend because we’re village residents). And ours was renovated in 2010 so it’s completely modern. Interestingly, this also means that the kitchen is almost empty except for metal counters and a sink, but it seems most caterers are used to that these days and come with their own fridge trucks and reheaters. We’ll be doing our own decoration, though the caterer said they can set the tables and do the centerpieces if we leave them instructions. But since we’re planning to do something different on each table, we’ll just do it ourselves. We get the keys to the building the Friday before (though we don’t know what time), and it’s literally right next to the town hall so there’s no need for transport between the two.
4) Photographer: We’ve found our photographer (fingers crossed—he still hasn’t sent me a contract to sign) who is exceptionally inexpensive because his main job is making websites and not taking photos. But we really liked his photos and again, the price can’t be beat.
5) Ceremony: We’re only doing the legal ceremony at the town hall. I didn’t know that “cérémonies laïques” were coming into fashion in France till we met with a photographer who told us about them. But I can’t be arsed with the extra planning that entails. We already have a vin d’honneur to plan, and it’s looking like we may be taking on a lot of that work ourselves. So renting white chairs, finding an “officiant”… laisse tomber.
6) Cake: American-style wedding cakes (called “wedding cake”) are also trendy in France nowadays, in addition to or replacing the traditional “pièce montée” of cream puffs that I find so unattractive. Both caterers told us that a wedding cake was very expensive to make, and the first was willing to make us one for almost 1000 euros (for 100 people). Fortunately we found a pâtissière from south of Poitiers who specializes in cakes and wedding cakes, and we met with her twice to decide on flavors and decorations. It’s only going to cost 400 euros plus 25 for delivery. So, I don’t know what the deal was with the caterers.
7) Music: We don’t have room in our budget for a DJ, and I’ve heard that DJs can really be hit or miss. So I’ve made Spotify play-lists for both the meal and the dancing (over 10 hours of music). This was really fun to do, and I’ve also made an “extra music” list in case we want to mix things up that evening. It’s been fun to make a mix of French and American songs. We’re planning our first dance to a song in French and my dance with my dad to a song in English. We’re going to put a password on the computer because J does have friends who are capable of messing with the play-list to put on their own French electro that no one else wants to hear.
So yeah… that’s all the wedding talk for now.