I am sending this dispatch from France, specifically from the waiting room at the ferry station where my husband and I sit after missing the boat to attend a wedding on an island off the coast of the Atlantic.
Poor patient hubby is used to this scene. I've a long history of missing planes, trains, and boats. But things are not so bad -- the sun is shining and hopefully we can catch the next boat.
It is exciting to attend a wedding in a foreign country. This is the daughter of the family who has adopted our child as a fourth son. I've written before about our foreign friendship. We are so honored to also be included in the festivities. What a good reason to jump on a plane.
But what do people wear to a French wedding? Do we cover our shoulders in church? Is it true that French fathers of daughters set aside a good bottle of wine the year of birth to be saved until the wedding? I've also heard that the French party until the wee hours of the morning. Mon Dieu, I'm not young anymore, but when in Rome... .
Also, what to do for a gift? I was once told that an ashtray is a traditional French wedding gift. The bride used to smoke. Not sure if she still does. I thought about buying this one. I also considered buying them something that they don't have in France: Wisconsin maple syrup, a Levi's jorts valance, or maybe a taxidermied brown squirrel? (That's right, supposedly there are no brown squirrels in France.)
I remember that my favorite wedding gifts were things not on my registry. Unexpected surprises. A piece of art. A hand-forged cheese knife and rough hewn cheese board. An address book with family addresses already written in. For this wedding, we've decided to do the universal gift appropriate for all young marrieds -- cash. Plus this little something from my husband's hometown.
What do you like to give to young people starting out? What did you enjoy receiving?
Photo by Scott Webb via Unsplash.