Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Civil Ceremony

The civil ceremony wasn’t that unusual for me since they have them in Russia too, but I hadn’t actually witnessed one, so it was interesting to see the mystery solved.

When we got to city hall, we waited around outside for the bride to get there and for my brother to do some negotiations. I found it extremely frustrating that after ordering some kind of service and being promised something, there was still negotiating to be done. My brother had to bring a chair to round out their office furniture and a bottle of wine. As in the airport confusion, it all seemed like a game: collect certain points, pay certain fees, go backwards and forwards...

Photography was part of the game. I really wanted to start taking photos of the scenery and the family members gathered, but there were policemen about and I didn’t want to cause trouble…not until after the wedding, anyway! But Hortense’s brother and cousin started filming, so I joined in.

Finally we were all called to go into the room where the ceremony would be held. At the last minute we were told to line up by two’s. My sister and I lined up together, but it turned out we were supposed to be boy-girl, so we had to switch.

We were led into a room where three stern-looking women were officiating. The ceremony was in French and I could understand the obvious parts like the vows and the exchanging of the rings. Then the lady in the center asked how many children they wanted, and started reading some long articles about marriage. I’m not sure what that was about.

After the bride and groom and the witnesses had signed the papers and the ceremony had concluded, there were the congratulations and the photos of different combinations of people. As we were leaving, the bride and groom took their rings off and put them back in the box….there was still one ceremony left!

To be continued...

1 comment:

  1. Well, you certainly were accustomed to stern women, in any case!


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