Thursday, December 27, 2007

Le Mariage

It's been almost three weeks and it already feels like ancient history! At 4 pm on a rainy Friday in early December, we made our way to the Mairie de Xeme in Paris (with its Salle de Mariage shown here in photo, quite an impressive place) and tied the knot (don't know the French equivalent expression - anyone?). As I walked into the Mairie, shaking out my soaked umbrella and taking off my waterlogged boots, someone said consolingly, "Mariage pluvieux, mariage heureux!" (translation: "Rainy wedding, happy marriage." Interesting that mariage covers both the ceremony and the state of being married in French...)

A lot of people asked me afterwards if I cried or felt emotional during the ceremony. In fact I didn't - which is ironic, because I've cried at every other wedding I've ever been to, including when I went as a date to weddings of people I didn't know! How then could I have been so sang-froid at my own? Perhaps because the ceremony was in French, and I was using most of my energy to understand the formal, legal language as it bounced off the cavernous, museum-like spaces of marble and glass (that, in addition to making sure that my new Spanx girdle - something new- stayed up, and the asymmetrical shoulders of my designer dress and slip - something borrowed - remained in place). Thus I couldn't tell you everything that was said, though I don't think any of it was too bad, since the Maire and his assistant were smiling throughout (or perhaps they were just drunk from lunch? Because I have to say, for French officials, they were quite jovial). I know they read our names, and our dates of birth and occupations, and who our parents were (I think), and where we live, and so on. After that there was some stuff about marriage itself, and what it means, but the main thrust seemed to be about taking care of any children we might have, i.e., providing for them financially (interesting how French property laws reinforce this focus on children inheriting their parents' wealth - making me wonder about the historical details which created the need for such laws...).

The whole thing took about 20 minutes from start to finish, including the bride and groom (les maries - with accent on the "e", but i can't seem to do it on blogger) saying "Oui" (instead of "I do") and signing a bunch of papers up at the podium to seal the event (that part was a little stressful, I admit, as any bureaucratic moment is - I always feel that I'm signing my life away, or my soul or something. I think it goes back to early experiences with grammar school IQ tests...).

The only rather strange bit (I mean, other than the whole idea of marriage and all being strange, but we'll leave that for another discussion!) was when, at the very end, after the Maire said he hoped we'd stay in the 10th arrondissement (um, sorry, actually we're leaving!), he thanked everyone for coming and then passed around a collection plate...! (Holdover from the Catholic Church? It did seem strange to do at a wedding, although I admit he had a captive audience...)

(photo collage: Lance Lee/ombre chinoise media)


Blogger Kimberly said...

Isn't it amazing that such ornate buildings are in every single neighborhood in Paris?

Although it does make things seem daunting and officiale.

I hope there are more pictures soon ... like one of you in the dress and one of the happy couple ;)

7:47 PM  
Blogger wampoline said...

Ah yes, more pictures! Though i am sort of shy about what i post on this blog (strangely, considering that i'm OK about writing about personal details of my life!!)

OK, i'll see what i can come up with that doesn't give too much away (i like keeping a low profile on this blog, literally, seeing from the inside out versus being seen from the outside...)

8:22 PM  
Blogger Jill said...

I wish I had been there! Though somehow reading your blog post made me feel like I was. And where did you get those shoes! You looked so beautiful!

10:27 PM  
Blogger wampoline said...

Jill! i just blogged about the shoes so you can see them close-up. I neglected to say that i got them in a store in Paris called Garance, and the maker is Chie Mahara - made in Spain.

6:40 PM  

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