Sunday, July 16, 2006

Wedding (f)eve(r)

The church, Binic, evening
Originally uploaded by goforchris.
The day before the wedding is somewhat fraught. For a start, it rains heavily all morning. We have all heard the downpour in the night, and on a nocturnal wander I saw the lightning over the fields. Brittany sous la pluie is if anything even more depressing than Dunoon on a wet day. There is, however, much to be done, and most of it involves driving our hired car (isn’t it good that it’s not in Rheims?) hither and yon. Yesterday we drove to St Brieuc station to meet l’epoux, and later to the airport in Dinard to collect his godfather. Now we must return to St Brieuc to pick up flowers, and then find what seems like an industrial complex in the middle of nowhere to be given the tablecloths for the vin d’honneur. We scuttle about St Brieuc in an un-Scottish sort of way, inadequately sheltered under small umbrellas instead of sensibly clad in cagoules, and I am wearing sandals. My feet become distressingly soggy. They will remain thus for many hours.

The expedition to find the tablecloths takes on a comedic frenzy at a roundabout when the back-seat drivers start shrieking “tout droit” and the driver makes a smart right turn. He skids to a halt on the stripy bit of road when the howls of “Non, non!” reach a wild crescendo. We find the tablecloths and all is well. The driver – who is also the father of the groom – myself and the Godfather steal half an hour off-duty to sing in the empty church in Binic. The acoustics are magnificent, and the Godfather has brought a copy of Byrd’s Mass for Three Voices. We feel suddenly at home, as if the church is our own.

We make an expedition to the Chateau du Val, where the reception will be held. We go en masse, in two cars, and stand menacingly around the garden while the about-to-be-married couple argue with the receptionist about the numbers expected. The receptionist looks as if she has a bad smell under her nose, and we prepare to join battle. However, we hear laughter and realise that charm – or something: this is all in French – has won the day. We return chez nous, dropping the bride off chez sa mere, and collapse with pasta and a bottle of wine or two. Last night we all ate together – both families – in a creperie, but tonight we are observing the proprieties. And besides, the bride has to do things with these flowers ……

Never realised weddings were such hard work.

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