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The civil service: In France, the only legally recognised wedding is a civil

ceremony which is held at the town hall closest to either one of the couple’s place
of residence. An application should turned into the town hall anything up to 12
months before the desired wedding date. The mayor’s office will then reply
confirming the date and alloted time for your wedding. The number of people
invited to the civil ceremony depends on the number of seats available, big families
can overflow outside into the corridor. Generally however only close family and
friends participate in the civil ceremony.

 The religious ceremony: Catholicism is the number one religion in France. Even if a family
are not particularly big church goers, they will more often than not expect their children to have
a church ceremony to accompany the civil ceremony. It is common to have different
witnesses for the civil and religious ceremonies depending on their religious persuasion.
 ‘Le Lancer de riz’: The French traditionally throw rice (le riz) over the newly weds as they
leave either the town hall, the church / synagogue / temple / mosque etc. The act of throwing rice
or any other confetti in France is, as in other occidental cultures, to promote fertility and to warn
off evil spirits.
 ‘Le Vin d’Honneur': Traditionally, the ‘vin d’honour’, literally translated as
‘wine of honour’, is a mini-reception that takes place directly following the civil or
church ceremony either in the same place as the main reception venue or in
another venue near to the place where the ceremony has taken place. The ‘Vin
d’Honneur’ normally lasts a few hours and is an opportunuty to relax after the high
emotions of th wedding ceremony and for the married couple to invite those with
whom they would like to share a part of their special day but who they will not
necessarily invite to the main wedding dinner and party. Often older guests such as
friends of the parents’ or grandparents’ will be invited to the ‘vin d’honneur’ as well
as work colleagues or neighbours. Champagne, wine and cocktails such as the ‘Kir
Royal’ are commonly the drink of choice at the ‘vin d’honneur’.

Beeping of car horns: It is customary in France for the cars following the wedding car to
the reception venue to beep their horns all the way. The tradition began as a way to warn
off evil spirits and the devil but today it’s really just a way to draw attention to the bide
and groom and to celebrate in a festive, fun way.

‘L’Apéritif': The aperitif or ‘apero’ for short, is pre-dinner drinks (champagne usually)
accompanied by savoury canapés and ‘verrines’. The aperitif takes place after the ‘vin
d’honneur’ and before the wedding breakfast

La Pièce Montée': The ‘pièce montée’ is the French wedding cake. The ‘pièce
montée’ is brought out in an extremely ceremonial way after dessert and once
guests have had a chance to dance a little and is served with Champagne. The
‘pièce montée’ is traditionally a ‘Croqenbouche’, a delicious coneshaped cake made from piling up cream filled profiteroles with hard caramel all
round the outside, decorated with spun sugar shapes, flowers or ribbons.
‘le Jeu de la Jarretière': The ‘Jeu de la Jarretière’ or Garter Game in English is an
auction which takes place at the wedding reception to win the bride’s garter. The
‘Jeu de la Jarretière’ was popular before wedding lists became common place and is
a way of raising money to help pay for the wedding,. An auction is conducted by the

each time a man bids.DJ or master of ceremonies and guests can bid cash to win the bride’s garter. In some cases. The winner either removes the garter by hand or with their teeth! . The garter either goes to the person who donates the most money or to the person who is in the process of donating money when the time limit for the auction ends. the bide has to hitch up her dress and the female guests bit for her to lower it. A pot or hat is handed round in which people place money.