Normally, the wedding in France starts in the city hall for administrative ceremony, followed by wedding reception.
As I wanted my wedding to be unique, meaningful and memorable, I added a touch of Thai wedding with a few ceremonies that weren’t too complicated to do in France.
Finally, this day has arrived! We woke up at 5 am to prepare everything, it was hard to get all things done in the dark and do it quietly because we didn’t want to wake everyone up. It was like full-body workout!
For the decoration, mostly it was what we found in the cellar of the house, they were so perfectly rustic. Most of the time, we used dried flowers, for fresh flowers, it was all from the house’s garden, we cut it in the morning of the wedding day.
First Look: If you want me, prove it!
Our wedding started at 9 am which was considered to be too early. It was like a “First Look”, but before getting to see me, Max needed to do something to prove it.
This was inspired by a Thai ceremony called “Khan Maak” that the groom, his family and friends have to organize a procession with Thai music band.
Once they arrive at the place, they have to successfully pass through some obstacles called “Pra too” (which means a door) where there’re 2 people holding gold or silver belts or necklaces, before getting a chance to meet the bride.
In our wedding, we asked Max’s dad to play guitar instead of having Thai music band. We cut 3 branches and tied both sides with ribbons to replace gold or silver belts or necklaces.
There were 3 doors, the first and the second obstacles were given by Max’s cousins, the third one was created by his mom and my mom. Max could pass through all the 3 doors (with the help of the whole family at the end!), then he came to knock my door, and finally got to meet me in bridal dress. Voilà! This is how our “First Look” looks like!
Snack time and Wishes corner
After, it was snack time! I prepared a butterfly pea flower drink, a Thai herbal drink with some honey and lemon one day before. What is special in this drink is that normally the color is blue, but when we put some lemon, it will turn to purple. This drink gives a touch of Thai, also it’s good for health.
Another choice of drink was fresh apple juice from Bergerac local market. All the guest could take their glass mug home as a souvenir of our wedding. For us, we use this mug for hot soy milk drink almost every morning, love it! We also had cashew nuts from Thailand, dried cranberries and popcorn for snack.
Not far from snack bar, we had “wishes corner” for the guests to write wedding wishes on a small piece of paper, then roll and put it in the bottle, we will open it in our anniversary (July 9, 2017).
What we loved the most in this corner was that we did something like “Family tree” by putting the photos of our parents’s wedding, photos of little Fon and Max, a photo of our engagement, and a photo of our save the date photo.
There were 3 adorable kids, 3 dogs running around, a horse and a donkey in our wedding, guests were trying the new drink, some were writing their wishes, it was so fun to look at this scene.
Wishes through lavender petals
I noticed that at most of the weddings, we didn’t have much time to discuss with the groom and the bride, sometimes all we can say is just “Congratulations”.
Personally, I think that having your loved ones give wishes or advices for the wedding is one of the most important parts of the event, so I got the idea of bringing a Thai ceremony called “Rod Nam Sang” or water pouring ceremony to my wedding so that the guests can come to the groom and the bride one by one and pour some water in conch shell on their hands while giving them wishes.
For us, we replaced water in conch shell with lavender petals in cones. To create the cones, we used old pages of the book “Une année en provence” or “A year in Provence” of Peter Mayle.
In the ceremony venue, we used the vintage table from the living room and 2 chairs from the kitchen for us to sit. For the guests, we rented wood chairs, each chair had a little burlap bag with their name on it, inside there were photos of each guest and us when we spent time together and a few lavenders. On the chair, there was a sandalwood fan as a useful gift because the weather was hot, and its implication is to fresh up your body and soul, to cool down bad things and to create peace of mind.
When I’m writing this, it reminds me of so many meaningful details behind the wedding and that makes me smile. Actually, it took a lot of time and patience, but it was such a happiness as we knew the meaning of each thing we prepared. That’s why we think that the preparation of the wedding isn’t something boring or stressful like other people told us.
On the way to be officially WIFE
The city hall is just 5 minute drive from home. At first, we wanted to use the car of Max’s parents, it was the white one.
However, the day before the wedding, while we were so busy about preparing the decorations, Max were on the ladder trying to hang flowers on the tree, I was guiding him where to place it.
We heard the sound of the horn so loud, then we turned to find out what happened, we saw a black collection-car, we thought it was so gorgeous and elegant, anyway we continued our work without knowing that it would be our wedding car that the neighbors of Max’s parents borrowed their friend to surprise us as a wedding gift. (How kind they are!) The name of this collection-car is “Pénélope”.
This magnificent collection-car is “Citroën Traction Avant” and more than 60 years old. Actually, we prepared the decorations for our wedding car, like purple ribbons, but after we saw “Pénélope”, we needed to change the plan as it was too beautiful to put anything on it. Finally, we had light silver and gold ribbons on the 4 doors, and our names on burlap flags in the back.
Let’s make it official
Pénélope took us to the city hall of a small town of 1200 inhabitants, what makes it so special is the kindest mayor and staff who work there. The day before the wedding, we came there to decorate the room.
The mayor is very opened to adjust the ceremony as we wanted, he was the one that came across with the idea to do something Thai. He talked to us a few times before the wedding and asked us to tell him our story. He even came to see Max’s parents at home a day before the wedding to get more information about us and Max’s childhood so that he could make the speech during the ceremony.
While the guests were inside the place, Max’s little younger cousins were ring bearers getting prepared with us outside. We walked in with the song “Photograph” of Ed Sheeran. (That’s why we came up with the idea to give each guest photographs when we spent time together with them.)
During the ceremony, we all were so touched by the speech of the mayor. We exchanged rings and signed documents. The mayor allowed little younger cousins of Max to stand next to him, they are such adorable kids and made us less nervous.
When the ceremony was done, we came out and saw tons of bubbles in the air with smiles of our loved ones, it was absolutely one of most beautiful days in my life.
Special Family Lunch
I don’t want to say that it’s a wedding reception, for me I consider it to be a special family lunch. It took place at the restaurant “Le bistrot du presbytère” at the village of Queyssac.
This place is such a hidden gem, the owner is very nice, the food is delicious with reasonable price. It was Max’s parents who found this restaurant, seriously, we couldn’t ask for more! We did decorations on the table by ourselves with dried lavender and other flowers and candles.
We made cootie catchers that had the name of each guest, inside we had questions and answers about us, for example, the date we first met, our first travel, etc. It allowed the guests to get to know us more. When all the answer was opened, there was the menu of the day.
As I looked back to that day, I still found something that didn’t go as planned, but now that made me laugh!
I admitted that at first, I was stuck with the thought that we could have done better, but finally I realized that nothing’s perfect, maybe we could make this thing better, but we will find another thing else to say that we could have made it better.
Here are some examples of what didn’t go as planned: Max forgot to give me the bridal bouquet after the “First Look”; I forgot to bring this bouquet (again) to the city hall, that why we missed the “Bouquet Toss”(but we did it in the next day with family); or at the end of the day, we found out that Max forgot to wear his belt!!!
Look at the bright side, I missed the “Bouquet Toss”, it means that I could keep my “love at first sight bouquet” with me one more day. Or when Max forgot to wear his belt, it was like casual fashion style and made him more comfortable.
Bringing Thai tradition in this wedding was a big challenge because we were afraid that the guests wouldn’t understand the message that was conveyed to them. But finally, they really got it! So, don’t hesitate to make your wedding more unique, add something you like or skip something you don’t, the guests are there for “your wedding”, not others!
Anyway, this is the wedding of my dream, but it couldn’t happen without supports of Max’s family and mine especially his parents who helped us along the way and let us use their home as the beginning place of our married lives.
Moreover, this wedding made my mom step out of Thailand for the first time in her life, and also out of fear and comfort zone as she had to go to France alone by herself. This wedding totally made the dream of little girl and her mom come true…Thank you everyone for making 9/7/2016 unforgettable!!!