People choose to create their own wedding ceremony for any number of reasons. Here in France, because there are so many strict rules surrounding civil and religious weddings, many foreigners who do decide to get married in Paris find it easier just to create their own symbolic ceremony, rather than deal with all of the red tape.
I helped Shawna and Fabien to pull inspirations from their American, French and Indian cultures to create an absolutely beautiful and unique wedding ceremony here a few weeks ago. Fabien is French, so their celebration actually started on Friday afternoon, where they were married in a Civil ceremony at the City Hall of the 13th arrondissement. This was followed by a champagne and croquembouche reception on the Seine for close family and out of town guests. The next day, they were joined by over 80 loved ones at the Maison des Arts et Metiers for a ceremony and candlelit dinner reception. The ceremony itself included French traditions (Fabien walked his mother down the aisle), American traditions (they performed the Unity Candle ceremony) as well as Indian traditions (they exchanged garlands, as well as performed the ceremony of the Seven Steps, among others). They also included readings in both English and French. Shawna is a classically trained musician, and so music played a heavy part in their celebration. The couple decided to self-officiate their event, and used music as well as bilingual printed programs to help guide their guests through the short ceremony. The dinner that followed was a fusion of French and Indian flavors, with a 4-tiered, Indian-inspired American-style wedding cake served as the finale.
As anyone who has done it will tell you- it’s not easy to create your own wedding ceremony. Unfortunately, a lot of couples leave it to the last moment, when tempers are high and time is short. I always advise couples to start talking to each other about their ceremony as soon as they decide to create their own. Think about weddings you’ve seen in the past, and what elements you did or didn’t like (with an emphasis on what you DID like…). And try to keep in mind that the reception is the celebration of the marriage ceremony that just took place. Here are some photos of Shawna and Fabien’s beautiful Hindu-Franco-American wedding to help inspire you.
all photos © photozhou