In France there are two ceremonies :
First, you must have a “mariage civil”. It's the legal ceremony that takes place at the “mairie” (townhall). It used to be the “mairie” of the bride's parents district or town.
This “mariage civil” is compulsory but it lasts only a few minutes.
Then the religious ceremony can take place. If you don't want to have a religious ceremony, then the wedding is done and you can go and take the photos.
If you want a religious ceremony, you can't have it before the “mariage civil”. In fact as France is a laïque state, only the “mariage civil” is official. The religious ceremony is personal.
A traditional French wedding will have a religious ceremony in a church.
There's also a time for all the photos.
There are many different types of organization :
Some people take photos between the “mariage civil” and the religious ceremony, some after all the ceremonies.
We don't take photos before the “mariage civil”.
When people take their car to drive to the “mairie” or to the church, they hoot their horn (that's something you must certainly have heard on saturdays in France).
People can get married when they want, but as they want all their friends to come, they plan their wedding on Saturdays. And as they want a beautiful weather, most of the time weddings take place during spring and summer.
May and June are very good months for weddings in France : nice weather and everybody is here (not yet on holidays).
There's no special time too, but an afternoon ceremony is common.
Back to "I'm invited to a wedding"