Thursday, September 24, 2009

A fairytale wedding

I met M in 2008 when she moved to Paris from Toronto. She was a former roommate of a friend of mine in New York. M and her husband A work together at the same bank and met at a company function in late January 2009. By February, A had worked up the nerve to ask M to lunch and the rest is history (they also bonded over books, its such an aphrodisiac!).

I met up with M for drinks at Sir Winston when I was in Paris for B’s birthday this February. There was a group of guys from her office there, cute French banker types, who asked us to join them. Of course I was all ready to say yes but M quickly said no and steered me towards an empty table on the other side of the bar. Apparently its office policy that you shouldn’t date coworkers so it was all very hush hush, but she told me that she had met “The One” 2 weeks ago and that they had already talked about marriage and children. Keep in mind this was my no-nonsense, type A, investment banker friend who dated 6 guys at a time because she was too busy and independent to devote herself to one man. Now she had met some guy at the office (and a Frenchie no less! She was adamant about not dating French guys) and they were planning to get married?! Already?? If I didn’t know her better I would think that she had lost her mind, gotten herself knocked up or was just plain desperate. But later that night I met A and was like, “Ohh, I get it”. He is absolutely fantastic (the man carries her purse for her when they’re out shopping, enough said) and they compliment each other so well.

A month later they planned a trip to Venice and A proposed during a late-night walk along the canals (cliché yes, but so romantic!). Three months after that they were married in a civil ceremony in Paris. Their Catholic wedding took place in Clermont-Ferrand 2 weekends ago, at the church A was confirmed in.

We arrived on Friday so that we could spend a day exploring Clermont. Let me just warn you right now—there is NOTHING to see there. I spent about an hour exploring; the rest of my afternoon was spent working in my hotel room.

We did go to a lovely restaurant for a truffade dinner (an Auvergne specialty of fried potatoes, melted cheese and ham) that was the most incredible thing I’ve ever had. Then we went for drinks at the “Aussie Bar” in the center of town before heading to bed.

The wedding ceremony on Saturday afternoon was lovely.

The cathedral was as beautiful as French churches always are, and they hired a gospel choir to sing throughout which was the highlight of the ceremony for me.

When they came out of the church, we all threw rose petals and rice at them before heading off to the reception. It was my first time staying in a chateau so I was stoked.

This was less of a party atmosphere than E & J’s wedding. It was a black tie affair so we basically hung around looking fancy, drinking champagne and chatting. M & A changed into Indian outfits to incorporate her Indian culture. There was a series of lovely speeches by M & A’s friends and family—and when her father spoke, he got so chocked up talking about his littler girl that we were all in tears. Dinner was fabulous (fois gras, duck confit, chocolate mousse cake and LOTS of wine),

followed by an hour of dancing (disco) before everyone retired to bed.

One funny thing was that there was 1 single guy at this 70 person wedding (see, no men anywhere! I’m starting to get worried!). M told all her single girlfriends (7 of us) about him so we spent the night before the wedding talking about what he would be like and who would snag him first. We finally spotted him after the ceremony and one by one, each of us said, “Um, that’s ok. You can have him” and “Oh, that’s him? Um, not really my type”. M sat him next to me thinking we would hit it off best and though we chatted throughout dinner, there just weren’t any sparks. M’s little sister said he looked like Mr. Bean. And he spent the entire night on the dancer floor by himself while us single girls danced together in a group. Poor guy.

On Sunday morning we had a long brunch, took a tour of the grounds and hung out by the pool before starting back for Paris. I managed to score a last minute ride with a French/Italian couple (which saved me 65 Euros on train fare) and we stopped by Vichy on the way back. It’s a really cute town, but a bit like Ft. Lauderdale in that no one was under the age of 65 (Vichy is known for its thermal springs and being a base for the Nazi’s during the war). We arrived in Paris around 10pm on Sunday.

All in all a great wedding… the fact that I was able to spend the weekend in a castle in a beautiful region of France was all I really needed for it to rate as one of my favorite weddings ever. How often do you get to do that?

Oh and last thing I forgot to mention, the family. M grew up in the coolest family. Both her parents are bankers who love to travel. So they lived their lives all over the world—India, Beijing, Singapore, Toronto, South Africa, London… wherever her parents felt like relocating to next. During breakfast one morning, her father entertained us with stories of wild jumper plane rides in Africa and being invited to dine with the family of their taxi driver in the Middle East. These days, M’s family is spread out between the States, Europe and Asia. Their friends are so diverse and people flew in from all over the world to attend her wedding (so it made sense that the reception had an International/Global Travel theme). They are really such fascinating people with amazing stories and experiences under their belt (after the wedding M’s parents were driving down to the South of France, then flying to Denmark to spend a week with their grandchildren, then heading back home to Singapore) and I couldn’t help but think that was just the kind of life I want to live. I totally understand the need for children to have structure—spending their entire childhood in one home, one school, making lifelong friends. But there’s something to be said about raising a child that’s a citizen of the world. Going to international schools, living in a different foreign country every few years, speaking several languages. M and her sisters are all well-adjusted, smart, successful—and very close to each other and to their parents, even though they live thousands of miles apart. Of course, I don’t know if there are any deep-seated issues that I just don’t know about, but even with the constant moving, they seem to have turned out ok.

1 comment:

rhonalala said...

Looks like a gorgeous wedding. It was interesting that when you were describing your friends parents lives, I was thinking to myself, also, that is the type of life I would like! :)
Tradition isn't all is cracked up to be that is why (I think) we see more and more people escaping the bonds of societal expectations and doing what they want to make themselves happy. I aspire to live a world-traveled wonderlust life myself.