Happy Monday! How was your weekend? Are you taking time to check-in with yourself and give yourself the care, love, and attention you need? If not, it’s perfectly okay to set aside time for yourself to do whatever you want/need to do during ‘me time.’ Maybe your thing is yoga, meditation, running, paddle boarding, reading, tending to a pallet garden you built, sewing some pillowcases for your home decor, making a dress to match your homemade mask, paddle boarding, refurbishing furniture, tooling around with some new tools, or even playing animal crossing with family and friends, but whatever you want to do during your assigned ‘me time,’ make sure you’re doing it and giving yourself a break.
If you didn’t get a chance to read yesterday’s post - “French Alps swim session” - you can click here to read about a wonderful hike to a waterfall, picnic, and swimming hole experience I had in the South of France! Otherwise, if you’re all caught up, buckle up and let’s continue this journey together! In the spirit of continuing the trend of where I was this time last year, let’s continue our time together in France!
When I originally agreed to a mini-Eurotrip with my now boyfriend, the whole point the trip started was in order to attend his brother-in-law’s best friend’s wedding. After we spent our afternoon swimming, we ended up having a delicious, casual dinner at the Groom’s parents’ house. It was almost like a rehearsal dinner, except it was all homemade food and in a backyard and super small (so, basically, my ideal vision of what a rehearsal dinner would look like). The next morning started out super relaxed. We woke up early enough at our AirBnB so we had plenty of time to get cleaned up, to get dressed for the wedding, and to pack up our things since we were checking out.
We all met at my boyfriend’s brother-in-law’s parents’ house and headed over together to the wedding. I’d never been to a French wedding before, but it was pretty cool to see how it was done. There were two separate wedding ceremonies. The first wedding ceremony involved everyone squeezing into the small local courthouse in order to make the marriage official in the eyes of the law. The second ceremony involved everyone leaving the courthouse and taking a short walk up the street to the church in order to make the marriage official in the eyes of God. It was a long morning, but it was amazing to see two people so clearly in love commit to the journey together.
The two ceremonies were definitely incredible to see, but the wedding reception was unlike any other wedding I’ve ever experienced. Everyone drove about an hour from where the ceremony was held to drop things off at a local hotel where most people would stay the night. The reception was held at a Chateau in the countryside that was rented out for the weekend. To kick things off, there was an outdoor happy hour where hors d’oeuvres and drinks were served. There was a DJ that played for awhile, and then there was a live Saxophonist who literally brought the place down. He played along with some hits and tore up the dance floor (dirt and grass driveway) while he played. I’m very proud to say that my boyfriend and I were the very first people on the dance floor at the reception, and everyone else followed suit. The cocktail “hour” continued until the sun went down, and then, much to my surprise, people started to line up to head inside to the actual reception. If you’d asked me a year ago with no prior knowledge of French weddings, I’d have assumed that the happy hour was the reception because that's how awesome it was. I would have been wrong.
The Chateau was decorated beautifully for the reception, and everyone filed in to find their assigned seats. My boyfriend did not tell me that we were actually going to be seated at the head table. In the moment I wanted to laugh because of how crazy life can be sometimes, and now, looking back, I still want to laugh. How someone like me who speaks an embarrassing amount of French and had only met the bride earlier that day ended up at the head table is beyond me, but it was an incredible night. The charcuterie dazzled, the wine never ran out, and the actual wedding meal consisted of both steak AND foie gras.
There were beautiful speeches (most of which were in French, so I couldn’t actually understand what they were saying, but I swear I could hear the emotion in their voices), a portion where every woman present joined the bride in order to serenade the groom (the lyrics that were handed out were also in French, but I gave it the old college try), and, my god, there was dancing. So much dancing.
As the dancing continued throughout the night, there was an open bar outside in addition to the wine that never stopped flowing, as well as long tables of desserts that were set out. One of the funniest things to happen at the reception (besides me attempting some horrible French and communicating basically through smiles and excited hand gestures) occurred when I disappeared from my boyfriend to check out the dessert table. I have an almond allergy, and in case you weren’t aware, most French desserts include almonds of some degree. The head chef of the wedding personally came out to point out exactly which desserts I could have and could don’t have, and then he made me go back to the beginning of the table with him so he could quiz me, making me point out and show him I knew which desserts were okay and which were off-limits. When my boyfriend finally found me by the dessert table, I introduced him to the chef and then proceeded to show him exactly which things I could eat and which ones were Johny killers. There were only 3-4 desserts I could have out of the 20ish total, but the ones I could try were absolutely delicious. Almonds, be damned!
The wedding reception didn’t end up wrapping up until 4 o’clock in the morning - at which point we made our way back to the hotel. When we finally got back to the room, we were still so energized from all the excitement of the day that it took us nearly another hour to even fall asleep. We stayed up talking for awhile before exhaustion eventually took over, and my eyes refused to stay open.
Have you ever had a picture of something in your mind and then the reality of it was so much better? That’s how I felt about my experience at the French wedding last year. Let me know! Subscribe in the e-mail submission box below and reach out, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and reach out to me on the “contact” page. I’m so happy you're here and that I’ve been receiving a lot of really incredible stories, questions, and feedback from a community all over the globe! Other people’s stories that I’ve gotten to read via e-mail, text, tweet, DM, etc. recently bring me such smiles, and I am so grateful for all of it! I hope I get to hear all about whatever stories you’ve been thinking about as we’ve been on this virtual journey together! Also, I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you have any restaurants/eateries/pubs/coffee shops/ice cream joints/theatres/lookout spots you would recommend in other countries or even in your current home town or city, I'm absolutely 100% all ears!! I couldn’t do this without you! So THANK YOU! From the bottom of my heart, truly, thank you.
P.S. - If you want to catch up from the beginning on this series of travel adventures, here's a cheat sheet to the posts (in order in which they were published):
1. Won't you join me?
2. grateful for starbucks and sandymount strand
3. Once Upon a December in the National Gallery
4. plant a smooch for that gift of gab
5. may the 4th be with you: Dingle style
6. cinco de mayo: the best Mexican food in Dublin
7. pizza in roma
8. mussolini’s window and the philosophers’ metro stop
9. father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife
10. it's the vatican, not the vatican't
11. spoiler alert: i did not lose my hand
12. more pizza and gelato and Neptune, oh my
13. craft beer, romper season, and volcano magic
14. bus singalongs and the okey dokey karaoke origin story
15. the beginning of the journey to the land of outlander
16. the boy who lived and the musical rapper
17. oh i just can't wait to be kingggg
18. fudge and haggis, quite the dynamic duo
19. the banshee labyrinth... or, my first time trying buckfast
20. the world's most magical toilet
21. gwyneth paltrow's (improv) sliding doors
22. scottish sombreros and jam, thank you
23. bob seger, a cèilidh, and arthur's seat
24. the next maxim cover girl!!
25. you can vote now!!
26. kindness at… the airport??
27. conversations with strangers and #basic meals
28. aren't gas stations amazing?!
29. not just mac's... supermac's
30. American vs. European Cell Phone Providers
31. brown bread ice cream
32. Black Lives Matter
33. technology and theatre
34. a love of Dublin pizza: Manifesto
35. a love of Dublin pizza: Dublin Pizza Company
36. a love of Dublin pizza: with my dad
37. Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness
38. thank you! round 2!
39. a love of Dublin pizza: and every other pizza
40. ahh-oooooh werewolves of london
41. a special london edition nerd alert
42. defying gravity is a WICKED good time
43. that wanker Van Morrison
44. The Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre
45. LA girls love London green juice
46. Super Bowl LII Champs at Wembley
47. champagne fizz and fruity cocktails
48. How-to: DIY Pallet Garden
49. dublin tattoo magic
51. thank you! Maxim round 4!
52. dublin bog bodies
53. dún laoghaire ice cream
54. local celeb sighting
55. 13.1 in Dublin
56. thank you! Maxim round 5!
57. every girl likes a bad boy
58. poolbeg lighthouse
59. conflict, bias, and propaganda in belfast
60. bow to your lord mayor
61. HAPPY HAMILTON DAY!!
62. Maxim Cover Girl Quarter-Finals!
63. gulliver's travels in belfast
64. all aboard the HMS Caroline
65. all aboard the RMS Titanic
66. you know nothing, jon snow
67. cave-born shadow babies
68. afraid of heights?
69. giants and their egos
70. the Kingsroad
71. sunsets in Donegal
72. derry dining chains
73. Maxim Cover Girl Semi-Finals!
74. Spontaneity is Key
75. Dear Nana
75. blasket island centre
76. Nana's blue tin cookies
77. a dance lesson in Dublin
78. dublin to Royal Portrush
79. Shane Lowry's Open Championship
80. maxim and Belfast Chinese food
81. Irish beachy wild women
82. my Irish love, Cork
83. my Irish love, Cork: hot chocolate
84. my Irish love, Cork: knit life
85. my Irish love, Cork: English Market
86. my Irish love, Cork: Blackrock Castle
87. one year ago today
88. pastis and the French Riviera
89. French Alps swim session