There are several ways to interpret the French theme — you’ve got the grand, post-renaissance inspired France, and the charmingly rustic countryside that seems that evokes ideas of simpler times. Whatever way you look at it, it’s all about whimsical understatement, classic beauty, and a whole lot of romance. Not to mention, delicious food and amazing selection of wine and champagne.
When envisioning an imperial-inspired bridal gown, think structure and layers; a lace corset with a layered, wafting skirt, full of movement, maybe with textured. It’s all about trying to capture the elaborate decadence of the post-renaissance era. Bridal designer, Sarah Houston is known for creating gowns with a beautiful beaded bodices and flowing, pleated skirts.
Photo taken from Sarah Houston – Spring 2013 collection
Reversely, to honor the French’s admiration for minimalism, clothes should look effortless, modest and natural with simple accessories. This aesthetic is perfect for the budget-conscious bride, as the quiet elegance that is valued by the French can be perfected for a reasonable cost. Without miles of fabric and elaborate embellishments, an A-line, short or sheath wedding dress from an affordable retailer like David’s Bridal will look as stunning as any dress worth thousands.
Photo taken from David’s Bridal – White by Vera Wang
When selecting the location and décor, some couples will go with an elaborate French castle or stately home. These venues work best on the bigger, more classically-styled weddings. Decorations should be romantic and lavish; think lots of rich velvet, red, gold and an endless flow of carefully arranged flowers. The Biltmore, located in Asheville, North Carolina, is the perfect example of a venue fit for grand French-inspired wedding.
Photo taken from Biltmore
For a rural French wedding, you can keep location simple. Many couples opt for a farmhouse setting that is decorated with off-white hues mixed in with tasteful draping fabrics like chiffon and lace to create a dreamy atmosphere. Blushes and flirty pinks will help to balance the femininity with unpolished naturalness for a look that the French would undoubtedly adore.
No matter what era you are trying to convey in your French-inspired wedding, the food should be magnificent. Start out with the h’ourderves – escargot, caviar, mini-quiches and baked brie. When it is time for the entrée, the options can range from salmon cooked with tomatoes all the way to ratatouille, a French stew. One thing all of these dishes have in common is the need to be accompanied by wine and champagne. Have a large selection of white and red wines to compliment all the different types of food you will be serving.
For the cake, consider a traditional dessert called acroquembouche. An impressive tower of cream puffs coated with caramelized sugar, it is a favorite among French brides and is ideal for rustic-themed nuptials. Other sweets that can be offered to guests include crème brule, fruits drizzled with chocolate and sorbet.
So, whether you opt for the high-class luxury of a Marie Antoinette wedding or go for the Gauloise-in-hand approach of the countryside, just remember: keep the whole thing elegant, whimsical, and, most importantly, French. Raise your champagne glass and cheers to a long and happy marriage! A la votre!