The Wedding

Here we are, finally back from our trips and with all the urgent responsibilities out of the way, and we’ve finally gotten our professional wedding pictures too. I say “finally” because they were actually ready two days after the wedding, but since we were leaving town and J didn’t want to pick them up over the internet, we waited until we got back from vacation… by which point he was much more impatient than I was.

So what to say about the wedding? It went swimmingly, in spite of a little rain the morning of. We spent all of Friday setting up the hall, including tables, table cloths, decoration, escort cards and our DIY lazy girl photo booth.


Setting up the “photo booth” (photo by me)


Putting silly decoration bits on tables (photo by me)


photo by ? (on my phone)

The lazy girl photo booth involved a lamp with a powerful light bulb, bunches of props bought at the party store, a tri-pod, a camera, and a white wall. We spray-painted a styrofoam packing frame gold to serve as a frame. We weren’t willing to put any more money or time into this, but we did want it, and the guests had a great time with it.

Escort card photos

Escort card photos (photo by me)

Our escort cards were all pictures of the guests, with J and/or me when possible. I got this idea from this website.

The flowers arrived Friday night and I think that’s when I started to feel like we were really getting married.

Our table flower arrangement + the menu in French

Our table flower arrangement + the menu in French (photo by me)

Both my pre-wedding appointments went faster than expected, and we were ready earlier than expected, so we filled the time with a game of Ticket to Ride (Les Aventuriers du rail), USA edition, on our patio.

Getting my hair did

Getting my hair did (photo by Laurel)


I was clearly going to win. (photo by R Bernus)


(photo by R Bernus)

My mom’s hair appointment went well as well, since my sister-in-law and brother accompanied her and she took in pictures of what she hoped for.


(photo by R Bernus)


We did set up the vin d’honneur inside rather than outside because of a late downpour, and J and I did arrive under an umbrella, but after that, there was no more rain.

Umbrellas made for adorable pictures like this (we are still confirming whose little girl that is):


(photo by R Bernus)

Our officiant was the adjunct mayor of culture. I estimate about ten years on those dreads. He was great, though we assume it was his first wedding because he was quite emotional and had prepared lots of notes about the laws and acts to read.


(photo by R Bernus)

I didn’t eat anything during the vin d’honneur (I had eaten a sandwich around noon) though I did have a cocktail (a pineaujito) and J did make me taste the miget aux fraises at one point.

Juicing the limes Thursday evening

Juicing the limes Thursday evening (photo by me)

Two coolers of bitters and pineau, ready for lime juice

Two coolers of bitters and pineau, ready for lime juice (photo by me)

The finished product

The finished product (photo by R Bernus)

Melons from Poitou

Melon from Poitou (photo by R Bernus)

Miget aux fraises

Miget aux fraises (photo by R Bernus)

Tasting the miget aux fraises

Tasting the miget aux fraises (photo by R Bernus)

As J had predicted, no one went home between the vin d’honneur and dinner, except the American guests who needed a rest in order to make it past midnight. So there were games of pétanque and shellfish gathering down by the river as well as a slack-line.

Slack-line (photo by J's sister)

Slack-line (photo by J’s sister)

I was not stressed out the day of the wedding, but in the days prior I had been worried about the service and the timing of the French wedding games. But everything went well. J’s friends had translated the games into English and his witness read in both languages, and the American guests actually loved it.

Elle ou lui? (Newlyweds game) (photo by Laurel)

Elle ou lui? (Newlyweds game) (photo by Laurel)

As a “prize” for the first game we got a couple of aprons and a betta fish. Yay?


(photo by R Bernus)

Actually, I was pretty happy about the aprons, but the fish? We were leaving on a twenty-day vacation afterwards… somehow he miraculously survived two full weeks without food and with very little sunlight.

The cake appeared around midnight, and the first dance happened around 1 am. (Thanks to my dad for sticking it out till then, because the father-daughter dance followed.)

mariage julien eileen (48)

Cutting the cake as the younger cousins look on eagerly (“C’est pour qui ce morceau?”) (photo by J’s sister)

mariage julien eileen (51)

Our Franco-American themed wedding cake (photo by J’s sister)

The dance party was fun, but most of J’s friends actually don’t really dance, something I discovered at our wedding. So once the Americans left the party at around 2/2:30 am, the dance party consisted of about four or five people at a time (including me, almost always). We did managed to have a few good moments toward the end of the night when we put on Manau (La Tribu de Dana), Axelle Red (Parce que c’est toi), and Louise Attaque (Léa, Je t’emmene au vent).

We went home at 5 am, were in bed by 6 am (after fifteen minutes of pin-pulling in my hair), and 25 guests showed up at our house at 6:15 am with the onion soup that is a regional wedding tradition. We didn’t know they had soup, we just heard them yelling to let them in, which were not going to do because my brother and his wife were staying with us and they had to get up at 9 am to catch a train (also we had to get up at 10:30 to set up the Sunday brunch for these same people and our families). So we cursed some in French and yelled and when one of J’s friends finally climbed in through the bathroom window, he basically just turned around to spread the message that this was not going to fly. So the 25 guests went back to the village hall and ate the soup amongst themselves. We have loads of it in our freezer.

The Sunday brunch went well, though we were exhausted and there was a lot of cleaning to do. J’s friends hung out playing pétanque and palets, his family and mine and my American friends all made a massive effort to clean up the hall. By around 6 pm people started leaving, and we went to dinner with my parents and my American friends that night in the Poitiers city center.

Tired. (photo by Ed)

Tired. (photo by Ed)


Palets (photo by J’s sister)

The days following we managed to see a few guests that were hanging around longer. The last guests left Tuesday and we headed out to our mini-moon on Wednesday morning.

I had spent a lot of time dreaming about a day-of-coordinator, but they are pretty expensive and I would have wanted one for two full days almost. In the end we didn’t hire one, and everything went fine. I also didn’t regret the 100-euro wedding dress instead of the 700-euro one, or the lack of a DJ (since J’s friends don’t dance anyway). J looked fab and I felt pretty great.

Coming out of the mairie, getting whacked with petals (photo by J's sister)

Coming out of the mairie, getting whacked with petals (photo by J’s sister)


5 thoughts on “The Wedding

  1. Your wedding looked beautiful and you both look so happy, congratulations! SO funny about the Americans needing naps to make it past midnight, that’s SO true! My first French wedding I think I was done by 3 AM! After 2 years in France I’ve began to train myself a bit more! x

    • Thanks Dana, that’s very sweet of you! I was surprised I didn’t need a nap myself, but then again it was my wedding, so I think I had extra energy. We’ll be going to someone else’s next summer so we’ll see what it’s like for me at that one!

  2. Beautiful! I love the cake! It’s gorgeous! I’m glad the day went well and that the games ended up being fun!

    There’s some weird tradition where my J’s family lives that involves making some sort of “pot” and bringing it to the newlyweds once they’ve gone to bed. I said if anyone dared to try it, I’d send Elliot after them. I wanted to sleep… though it was so hot that I didn’t actually sleep especially with my mom leaving at 7am. J’s parents didn’t sleep at all and still managed to function the next day! I basically just wanted to curl up in a corner.

    • Thanks Shannon, glad you like it! No one really saw it close up so I think the “theme” was lost on people, but they did love the flavors.

      I guess I could have made it clear in the days leading to the wedding that a soupe à l’oignon visit was undoable… but I really didn’t think they’d do it!

      I can’t believe your mom managed to get out at 7 am! My parents had to get up early to take my brother and his wife to the train station… for us it was impossible. It was hard enough to get up at 10 to go get pastries.

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