A weekend wedding celebration in France
August 09, 2013
Our trip to France last month took us to Paris, through the amazing French countryside, to the Atlantic coast and back again, but what in fact brought us to one of my favorite countries: a wedding. Since we were unable to accept two amazing European wedding invitations in the last few years, we figured this was an opportunity we could not pass up. Not only were our friends getting married in France, but they were hosting the weekend's festivities at their recently purchased chateau and vineyard just outside of Bordeaux. Talk about a dream wedding scenario.
The wedding festivities, while held in France and with all services performed in French, had definite influences from this international couple: him from England, her from Romania. Even the guest list was made up of people from all over Europe, a handful of American expats and even one work colleague who traveled all the way from Russia. Let me tell you, this bunch knew how to party. Dancing had begun not only before dinner, but before the tent and dance floor were even open for the evening, with people grabbing partners and taking advantage of whatever space they could. Not to let my own heritage have too much of a bias, but Eastern Europeans might be the most exuberant and dedicated partiers I've ever met.
With one day for the civil ceremony and the other for the marriage in the church, the parties were scheduled to last all weekend. Not only was there dancing - and lots of it - but this foodie's belly was in heaven. Saturday, merely called a 'garden party', was complete with countless hors d'oeuvres, an amazing salad spread and not one, but two pigs roasting on a spit. In what I can only call the best dessert decision ever, bite-sized sweets ranging from macarons to mini eclairs to little cups of fruity, creamy heaven were set out alongside French mainstays of bread, fruit and cheese. Needless to say, after such indulgences, we were already dreaming of the following day's menu - but we were not even close to prepared. Appetizers of butter-seared foie gras on toast and creamy sweetbreads (my first ever) wrapped in flaky pastry could only be outdone by dinner's caramelized duck breast with candied citrus and chanterelles. Of course, endless bottles from the couple's own vineyard was just icing on the rose-covered, firework-adorned cake.
We called this amazing couple neighbors for an unfortunately short amount of time, but managed to spend holidays together and form a connection I only hope will last a very long time. They are truly the kind of people you feel lucky to even know. And if you happen to notice the bride's Linda Hamilton-circa-Terminator-2 biceps, that's because in addition to being a full-time lawyer - in not her native language - and now part-time wine maker, she's also an incredible table tennis champion. Seriously, this couple brings joie de vivre to a whole new level and we left humbled and inspired to live a life even half as full as theirs.