Anyway, aside from that, the wedding was amazing. I drove down on Wednesday night with 3 others. We arrived at the campsite around midnight to find E’s Dutch girlfriends hanging out in front of our bungalow with chilled beers waiting for us—in what we would come to term “the dining room”. They had stopped by the supermarket on their way into town (the closest one being 40 mins away) and stocked the fridge with everything we would need for the next 4 days… you’ve never seen so much booze in your life. By that alone I knew we would get along very well :)
There were 7 of us (E’s friends) in two rented bungalows. We would drive into town every morning before breakfast to pick up fresh bread and have a cup of coffee at the bar (why do you always find old men drinking alcohol early in the morning?) before heading back to the campsite. The day would begin with a huge feast of a breakfast, followed by a dip in the pool, followed by a long lunch. At night we either hung out with some other Frenchies from the wedding party or sat in our “dining room”, drinking and chatting into the wee hours of the morning. One night we got into trouble for making too much noise. It was nearly 2am and we were singing and laughing and apparently keeping the rest of the campsite awake. The guardienne of the campsite came over to us and said, “You guys have to keep your voices down, it’s late. And this is Ardeche, not Mykonos. People come here to for the peace and quiet.” Oops.
On Thursday, about 30 of us went to E’s mother’s house for the BBQ and Olympiade. We spent the entire day eating, drinking, lounging in the sun and swimming in the lake. And later, playing petanque, football (soccer), volleyball and some relay race that involved an egg and a spoon. It was great b/c everyone got a chance to meet and get to know each other prior to the wedding, which only made Saturday that much more fun.
The wedding day was great. The ceremony took place at the mairie (which only held about 30 people, the rest of the group had to stand at the windows and peek inside. By the way, the entire town consisted of a town hall, bar, market/boulangrie and post office—and the view was amazing). After the cermemony, we danced through the town to the music of a local Klezmer band before driving back to the house for the reception. We sat under tents in the front yard, mingling and eating a delicious mix of Dutch and French food. The night was full of beautiful speeches, hilarious performances by their friends and an amazing DJ… I will admit I was one of the last people on the makeshift dance floor. We finally started the 15-minute walk back to the campsite around 5:30am… needless to say Sunday was a wash for me. I spent the entire day in bed until we started the drive back to Paris that evening.
I only hope my wedding will be like that— the entire day (or weekend) being a true reflection of who we are as a couple instead of conforming to some preconceived idea of what a wedding is supposed to be like; surrounded by the people who know and love you. And just a whole lot of fun. E & J looked beautiful and happy and everyone had a wonderful time… days later we were all still talking about how great the weekend was.
You really feel the difference when you come back to the city after spending a few days in the countryside. For 4 days my cell phone didn't work, I had no access to TV or the internet and there was nothing to see but cows within 50 miles of our campsite. We barely had hot water. I had real time to relax, talk to people, make new friends, read, eat good food... it was absolutely perfect.
Funny story: one morning during breakfast I realized that we forgot to make coffee. I got up, planning to walk down the road to get water to boil (yes, we were really roughing it) but one of the girls stopped me saying, "No need. Just use the water in the pot we boiled the eggs in". I almost died! Everyone poured themselves a cup of dirty egg water to make their coffee so I (not wanting to look like the bougie city girl) poured a cup too. But I just couldn't bring myself to drink it. It was this city girl’s first foray into camping and I don’t think I complained too much. I could have done without all the bugs and spiders and oneness with nature, but surprisingly, I had an absolute blast. I don’t think I could have gone as hardcore as sleeping in an actual tent (though our bungalow was little more than that), but I’m proud of myself!
This weekend I’m in Clermont-Ferrand (3 hours South of Paris in the center of the country) for my friend Mallika’s wedding. I’ll have to detail their love story later, it’s hard to believe. Mallika and Alex are getting married at the cathedral he was confirmed in and the formal reception will be held at a chateau nearby. It will be the complete opposite of the Ardeche wedding but no less amazing I’m sure.
ps— this makes wedding #7 within the past 4 months… I’ve warned my friends not to tell me about their engagement until the new year :)