Day two and I was straight into the Frenchy wedding business.
The very reason I had travelled to France was to celebrate the marriage of one of my most favourite people in the world. One of my best friends Claire was to wed her fiancé Nick. A delightfully warm and heartfelt couple that I have often likened to being Calvin Klein models straight off the front cover. You'll see what I mean when you catch the pictures.
Most people ask why two Australians had decided to marry in a tiny village in France? Nick's parents met and fell in love in Paris. They worked there for some time and although they ended up back in Australia, a piece of their hearts has always belonged to France. In truth I think they will return permanently one day especially since they have bought The Chestnut Tree, a farmhouse they have lovingly restored and transformed. So, when Claire and Nick, who both travel internationally for work themselves, were deciding where they would have their wedding France seemed a good option. I'm sure I don't need to list the reasons.
In order to be married in France they were required to sign Frenchy wedding papers to legalise it. So, on this sunny Saturday a handful of us walked up to what is known as the Mairie - the town hall to be apart of the civil ceremony.
The Mairie itself was quant. It was the town hall, the post office and the primary school all in one! The Mayor himself was there to officiate it all, in 100% French only. He's the guy declaring himself with the sash.
We were all extremely excited because, Frenchy wedding! But who had a clue what was about to actually unfold? Not even the bride and groom entirely! It was all a bit of a surprise which added to the sparkle, for me anyway.
I was dressed in my best civil ceremony get up.
The bride and groom casually pulled into the venue in their vintage Citroen 2CV. The adorable factor was already real and the bride and groom hadn't really been sighted yet.
I don't know about you but I love a good tea length frock and don't you think they're just perfect for a casual civil ceremony? Claire nailed it 300%!
This was the closest to royalty I think Amberac has ever seen. I mean, that wave. Step over Princess Mary.
Ceremony time and although there was a translator, there was a truck load more French being spoken. We just smiled ourselves silly and nodded. I was happily drunk on this french accent dose.
AND what I loved even more was, as a witness, I had to sign the very important official marriage document that was going to concrete this union forever, that was completely hand written in French, all four pages of it! HAND. WRITEN. Secretaries in Australia are laughing with their printers!
And so then, they were married! And we smiled ourselves silly a bit more.
In line with tradition we all piled into our cars and drove around the village in convoy blaring our horns continuously to announce that a wedding had just occurred. Given that there had not been a wedding for 15 years in this village, it created quite a buzz. The locals opened their doors and waved or came out on their balconies and gave us a clap! Oh the child like giddiness that it made us feel. It was such ridiculous fun my face nearly snapped in half from the cemented smile.
With all this romance and serious wedding contract business we had to get down to some other serious business. The best kinda business. The Frenchy business.
The cheese eating business. All the fromage and salami and pate and saucisson (fancy salami) and jamon (the Frenchy version of Procesetta) that we could imagine. And in the other hand, french champagne.
It was the life. A truly indulgent and happy time.
Everything about it was good and beautiful, celebrating a good and beautiful couple.
And isn't the Chestnut Tree just a rural dream?
We sat for hours sipping champagne and nibbling and telling stories and just when we thought we couldn't eat another bite, a chef arrived and pulled out this whopper of a paella, which was laden with delectable local seafood.
What an experience this all was. I was beaming and it wasn't even my wedding!
Annnnnd, we were going to do it all again two days later for the real party part of the wedding.