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Nessa’s French wedding traditions

Lavender

In Provence, lavender has been an integral part of the traditions surrounding marriage for a long time. The flower is a symbol of joy and luck to the newlyweds so is often incorporated into their ceremony in various ways.

To celebrate the bride and groom, it is often customary for guests to throw lavender at them at the end of the ceremony. As throwing rice or wheat is becoming less acceptable in wedding venues throughout France, many couples are choosing lavender instead. It’s a nice way for guests to wish the married couple luck and happiness as they embark on their new life together.

Another tradition in Provence involving lavender requires a bouquet of lavender to be placed under the newlywed’s mattress, in order to bring them luck and passion in their marriage. It is also customary to slip a small bag of lavender in the bride's trousseau to ensure a happy and fertile marriage.

Some brides are even starting to incorporate lavender into their headdress, wearing it as part of a flower crown. Finally, offering a bouquet of lavender to newlyweds is also a symbol of infinite happiness.

Marie (France) wears a lavender wreath. The flower is said to bring joy and luck to newlyweds. Image taken by professional wedding photographer, Chloé Lapeyssonnie, using the D850 and AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G lens.

Ensuring good weather

The weather is the foremost thing a couple will not have control over on their wedding day. To ensure nice weather and to avoid rain, some traditions are still followed by superstitious brides and grooms. A tradition particularly popular in Northern France, sees the wedding couple offer eggs to St. Claire. The offering of eggs, which are a symbol of life and fertility, usually takes place at a convent associated with the patron saint, St. Claire - the protector of peace in marriage. As St. Claire’s name can be interpreted to mean "clear time", the thinking is that she will influence good weather on the couple’s wedding day. Monetary offerings known as “paper eggs” are more common nowadays and the sisters of the convent will pray for good weather on the couple’s behalf in return.

French bride, Marie, offers a bowl of eggs to St. Claire to ensure good weather on the day of the wedding. Image taken by professional wedding photographer, Chloé Lapeyssonnie, using the D850 and AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G lens.

The dance of the brioche

A common wedding tradition in Vendée is the dance of the brioche! The large brioche, which generally weighs around 15kg, is usually gifted by the godmother or godfather of one of the newlyweds. The groom must first carry the brioche around after dinner and perform a dance requiring strength, rhythm and balance. Then all the men are called upon to dance with the brioche, which is then passed onto the female wedding guests after the centre is cut out. Following the final dance with the brioche, it is eaten by all of the wedding guests.

Marie and Nicolas (France) perform La Danse de la Brioche. Image taken by professional wedding photographer, Chloé Lapeyssonnie, using the D850 and AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G lens.