petite anglaise

April 2, 2008

jarretière

Filed under: knot tying — petiteanglaise @ 9:33 am

When I asked The Boy to marry me, we decided that if we were going to do this thing, we’d do it our way. That essentially involved taking the bits we liked (clothes, jewellery, party), leaving the bits we didn’t (sugared almonds, seating plans, speeches, name changes, wedding lists filled with fine china and solid silver salt and pepper pots) and making a few practical decisions (marriage contract – séparation des biens – at The Boy’s behest).

Nine weeks away from Jour J, things are on their way to being organised, although not half as much as the super-secretary I once was would secretly like. I have a dress. He’s ordered a suit. We have rings on order. I still need shoes (red, I think). The evening party venue – a house borrowed from a friend – is being renovated and is currently, ahem, not quite finished. We haven’t yet settled on a restaurant for lunch (although we are testing a candidate this evening) or worked out where to drink champagne beforehand. I have no idea who will tame my hair into a chignon at the crack of dawn so that I can get to the Mairie on time, and the invitations are still work in progress in photoshop.

To my horror, I’ve recently found myself having heated discussions with The Boy about petty things like wedding gifts, when it became evident that our mix and match approach was, in some respects, flawed. Our first instinct was to say that we didn’t want gifts at all. Until we find a new place to live (and frankly, right now, I have no time to look), we don’t have an inch of extra space. And we don’t really need anything. But then guests started asking about wedding lists, and I realised that they’d like to make a gesture. And in return for all the things we’ll be laying on, I grudgingly came to the conclusion that it made sense to let them.

‘Well, we could have an urn,’ suggested The Boy. ‘Or do the jarretière? Just don’t ask me to pick out knives, forks and spoons. Anything but that…’

I wondered how gifts and garters could be related. Google, as always, provided the answer.

It is customary, I read, for a French bride to wear a garter. Often a blue and white garter, as the something old/new/borrowed/blue tradition appears to exist on both sides of the English Channel. (I was planning to ignore this.) What I didn’t know was that there is a tradition involving male guests tucking money into said garter, in exchange, in some circles, for the bride raising her dress, just a little, in exchange for every donation. Sometimes the female guests will put in counter bids, thereby enabling the bride to lower her skirt before things get too graphic. The Boy seemed to think that the whole thing usually ends with one of the male guests – the highest bidder – removing the jarrettière with his teeth.

I suspect the boundaries of his own fantasies and French tradition became a little blurred at that point.

‘There is no way I’m performing some sort of wedding strip tease!’ I said indignantly. ‘And anyway, my skirt is already just above the knee, and you know how sensitive I am about my thighs.’

We settled on a honeymoon holiday fund at Printemps instead, that people are free to contribute to, or not, as they wish. And as for the garter, The Boy will just have to wait until Jour J to find out whether I’ll be wearing one.

But if I do, it will be for his eyes only.

114 Comments

  1. Think of the money you could earn!
    ah, go ON… ;)

    Comment by lucy — April 2, 2008 @ 9:36 am

  2. When my husband and I got married, we had to combine two households. We didn’t need anything and spent a great deal of time getting rid of things.

    When asked, we requested people not give us gifts. If they felt the need to do something, we suggested they make a donation to the charity of their choice in our names.

    Comment by Global Librarian — April 2, 2008 @ 9:55 am

  3. Oh my! That Dress is very, how you say, ooh, la la!

    And as regards the note-stuffing – a ritual which is clearly not without merit – perhaps you could Go Greek and pin it? After all, how much dosh can you squeeze inside a garter? :)

    Comment by mike — April 2, 2008 @ 10:04 am

  4. well, given the circumference of my thigh is roughly double that shown in the picture above, quite a bit, I imagine…

    Comment by petite — April 2, 2008 @ 10:09 am

  5. “I suspect the boundaries of his own fantasies and French tradition became a little blurred at that point.”

    The Boy is not fantasising about this tradition. When I got married in the Auvergne, my French wife wore a garter and the male guests bid for the privilege to remove it with their teeth.

    I can’t remember who won but I do remember we acquired quite a tidy sum of money. In fact, so much cash that I’d have been willing to wear the garter myself.

    Don’t worry you won’t feel a thing – as long as you drink enough Champagne.

    As Kenny Everett would have said, it is done in the best possible taste . . .

    . . . Good luck!

    Comment by Dumdad — April 2, 2008 @ 10:22 am

  6. Sounds like it will be a very cool wedding. Much more fun to celebrate it exactly how you like rather than jumping through endless hoops conforming to the norm.

    Comment by Babycakes — April 2, 2008 @ 10:42 am

  7. Petite, I have been a long term reader though never commented before however, having recently watched an old family wedding video I feel compelled to comment.
    It is an Irish tradition that the groom removes the garter from the brides thigh using only his teeth. The garter is then thrown into a crowd of single men.
    The man who catches it must (using only his teeth) put the garter on the woman who has caught the brides bouquet when it was thrown into the crowd.

    Comment by Emma — April 2, 2008 @ 10:48 am

  8. Some Americans do the garter as well, though I was definitely not one of them.

    BTW, I can’t begin to tell you how much I’m enjoying the book! Well done!

    Comment by Liza R — April 2, 2008 @ 11:07 am

  9. I have recently bought my favourite pair of red shoes ever: http://www.kurtgeiger.com/online-shop/14731-carvela-anemone

    Not sure if they’re your sort of thing, but I can assure you they are a thing of great beauty. And they sell them in Printemps…

    Comment by Alice — April 2, 2008 @ 11:12 am

  10. your laissez-faire approach to this wedding doesn’t seem to be panning out… in fact its probably making things more complicated!

    nice dress… don’t do red shoes! gah!!

    Comment by kara — April 2, 2008 @ 11:55 am

  11. The jarretière de la mariée (only one “t”, mind you) is a tradition that is practiced by some, but certainly not all. I’ve been to quite a few weddings and I saw it done only once. Am I the only one finding it interesting that such a supremely macho form of entertainment is still considered acceptable these days?

    On practical terms, the fund is a much better idea, and probably a more lucrative one.

    Comment by ontario frog — April 2, 2008 @ 11:58 am

  12. Wow great dress!! In Greece they sometimes put the money in the bride’s shoe, so maybe you could use that tradition instead :)

    Comment by stavroulix — April 2, 2008 @ 11:59 am

  13. my first marriage (to Frenchwoman but while we were living in Germany – don’t ask!) was poshed up by her maman (ma seule fille, elle doit s’en souvenir, etc) and must have cost a packet. OK, we managed 19 years, but perhaps if we’d done the garter thing we would have stayed together longer (naturellement pas, c’est pour rigoler!)
    After a divorce which took much too long, seeing that everybody was d’accord, I married my present and final wife in Denmark (the only place in Europe where you didn’t need to wait six weeks/pay through the nose/do a sword-dance blindfold) with a home made Wedding-cum-maternity dress, no guests and two Danish clerks from the town hall as witnesses. This marriage has lasted sixteen years and looks like surviving as long as my fragile (metaphorically speaking) frame will support me.
    What I could have said without all the beating around the bush is simply -if you wanna do it, do it! And forget about the trimmings, there are always people around who will be delighted to organize it all for you (as long as you pay, of course).
    I can’t help this remarque personnelle – women seem to be obsessed with´their thighs, except for those incredibly fat German and Russian women who flaunt their truly awesomely fat cuisses d’éléphant on beaches everywhere. Perhaps it’s the female equivalent of penis envy?

    Comment by Bill George — April 2, 2008 @ 12:07 pm

  14. Bonjour Petite,

    I have been reading your blog (and catching up with its archives) for about a month now and I’m finally posting a comment!

    As I just began year 2005 of the blog and also began Petite Anglaise book, I was not aware of the wedding with The Boy. So, congratulations! =)

    Your dress looks amazing. I like non traditional wedding outfit!

    I happen to be a friend’s witness for her wedding in September and I just bought her a jarretière. I only knew, as the bride throw her bouquet to the single girls, the groom has to take the jarretière off with his teeth and throw it to the single men. But not about the “dance” thing! Good luck with that! ;o)

    Maeva

    P.S. the honeymoon fund is a very good idea, my friend also chose this as a “wedding list”.

    Comment by Mae — April 2, 2008 @ 12:13 pm

  15. Wow, fab dress, love it, love it, love it !!!!!
    Also like the red shoes Alice, but not so sure they would be ok with the dress. All the very best to you both….enjoy !!!!!!

    Comment by tache — April 2, 2008 @ 12:21 pm

  16. Is that really a thigh in the picture?…. Looks like an arm to me! Took me a while to figure it out, obviously haven’t seen enough [ahem] female thighs [yeah! right!]

    My wife and I married in relative secret last year with only 8 others knowing who came for lunch with us. We invited 20 out for a chinese banquet at night & told them at the last minute.

    All in all the whole day was around £1100, including rings, registry office & fodder. Honeymoon was on the following Monday where we eat croissants at home while watching King Kong …. and I wouldn’t have done anything different!!!!

    Comment by Jester — April 2, 2008 @ 12:22 pm

  17. That is a GREAT dress and I love the idea of red shoes! It sounds like it’s going to be a wonderful wedding and a lot more fun than a traditional one.

    Two questions: what is Tadpole wearing? and where are you going on honeymoon?

    Comment by Hazy — April 2, 2008 @ 12:23 pm

  18. Very many congratulations… I had no idea you were tying the knot :)

    Comment by Jonathan — April 2, 2008 @ 12:24 pm

  19. The “J” of Jour J could now be said to refer to the jarretière?

    Comment by Hazy — April 2, 2008 @ 12:27 pm

  20. Hi Petite,
    Long time since we met at Tim’s birthday in the pouring rain! I’m so glad for you that everything has turned out so well since then, esp finding Mr Right (Here Right Now and Forever). Love the dress!
    My meilleure amie had to do the jarretiere thing at her wedding and found it excruciating, so I concur with above comments – this is YOUR day, you should be comfortable and merry and not do anything you’re not happy with (in Austria the bride is “kidnapped” by a male relative after the wedding and the groom has to find her following clues, so in a sense the jarretiere is not as much work as other traditions!). Congrats again and good luck with the preparations.

    Comment by Geraldine — April 2, 2008 @ 12:31 pm

  21. Hello, Its the 1st time I posta comment, as I have only rediscovered your blog.I have read it two years ago just before moving to Paris.It’s slightly bizarre I seem to be living quite close to where you live (metro pyrenees) and am writing a blog about my wedding preparations. I am getting married next year to my English fiancee.I think its great that you asked , soo cool.And I always wanted to wear a short 50s style dress , though my drea fiancee vetoed it.And little fights about details are normal,in the end you can always pull the IM THE BRIDE!card.Good luck!

    Comment by Francine — April 2, 2008 @ 12:43 pm

  22. By the way in Hungary,(am half Hungarian) its custom to have a bridal dance where the bride dances with all the guests and each guest has to pay her for it.I’m a horrible dancer so it’s not for me but most proper Hungarian couples get so much it actually pays for the wedding!I(‘d be a bit freaked out by the garter thing, but that cause I really dont like my thighs.

    Comment by Francine — April 2, 2008 @ 12:47 pm

  23. Just tell your fiancé you want to go Dutch – we don’t do any of the old/new/borrowed/blue or jarretière things over here. ;)

    A friend of mine is getting married soon and she told me her sister-in-law had advised her to make the preparations as much fun as possible, because the wedding day itself is going to be over so quickly, and often it’s quite a rush.

    Comment by Marjolein — April 2, 2008 @ 1:08 pm

  24. Erm… not the most comfortable of garments for the thigh-challenged among us. As long as the dress is not tight, go for it, otherwise avoid.

    Comment by Ariel — April 2, 2008 @ 1:11 pm

  25. Yes, go the red shoes. Or whatever you fancy. Could you handle matching red shoes for Tadpole? This mother-daughter matching outfits happens in posh areas of Sydney, Australia. Not recommended, but there is a sneaking wouldn’t it be lovely idea about it, non?

    Comment by lindsey violet — April 2, 2008 @ 1:13 pm

  26. That dress is absolutely BEAUTIFUL. It almost makes me wish I had found it for my own wedding (though I loved my dress too – thankfully!). And red shoes are a must. I found mine – red suede, peep-toe, vintage-style – from Emmy (she’s in London, but you never know): http://www.emmyshoes.co.uk/scripts/col-peeptoe.asp?colcode=rose&subcatid=5 They were bonkers expensive but I love them far more than is healthy considering they’re inanimate objects, and get them out of their box from time to time simply to marvel at their beauty.

    On a different note, back to péah, the book: I’m sure you don’t remember, but Clare P, who is a friend of mine, got you to very kindly sign a copy for me when you were in the Penguin offices – so thank you! It’s a much treasured object.

    Comment by Amber — April 2, 2008 @ 2:02 pm

  27. I LOVE the dress!

    Comment by metro mama — April 2, 2008 @ 2:13 pm

  28. Oh dear god! I’m literally in shock at the thought of having to lift up your wedding dress. Surely most brides are wearing serious control top cycling shorts things under there anyway?! Honeymoon fund = much better plan!

    Marianne

    Comment by Marianne — April 2, 2008 @ 2:56 pm

  29. Oh man, let the floodgates open…

    If you think you receive a lot of Tadpole-rearing advice, you’re going to be flooded with wedding advice! It’s just one of those things where people don’t hold back.

    Dig the dress, by the way. And what’s the deal with sugared almonds? Is it custom to serve / eat them at a wedding in France?

    Comment by Zoe — April 2, 2008 @ 3:23 pm

  30. Congrats, petite! I’m tying the knot myself at the end of this month, so I understand what you’re going through! We decided to alleviate our stress over “what to do and how to do it and what everyone wants to tell us to do and how we should do it” etc. etc. by eloping to Las Vegas… then we’re honeymooning in PARIS! I’d love any solicited advice you have for me about that. In any case, your dress is definitely ultraCHIC sans garter!
    Cheers,
    filmfangirl

    Comment by filmfangirl — April 2, 2008 @ 3:33 pm

  31. I know you’re proud of your French but there’s a typo in the beginning of this post – Devrait lire ‘Séparation des biens’ si tu veux bien!

    Comment by parkin pig — April 2, 2008 @ 3:44 pm

  32. hello petite,

    this really has nothing to do with your post, but i got my hands on an advanced copy of your book here in NYC and I have to say that I’m simply fascinated. I literally cannot put it down. I don’t want to sound insulting and you might get this all the time, but I, when I first went to paris as a 20 year old (i’m 22 now), I felt the same way as you describe in the book. Your writing brings me back there (and makes me a teensy jealous, though NYC is a nice compromise). I started my blog to also, sortof (if i’m getting this right) to combat the “resentment” i’m starting to feel living in this ginourmous and confusing place. Congrats on the impending nuptials darling and i only wish i found you sooner!

    _girlhalf_

    Comment by girlhalf — April 2, 2008 @ 3:46 pm

  33. I haven’t read all the comments, and I’m sure someone must have told you already, but “jarretière” is an “old” tradition and by that I mean that most French women these days do NOT do the “jarretière” on their wedding day (or any other day, for that matter ;o). In fact, I don’t think that I have ever seen it done, only heard of it.

    Very nice dress. Can’t wait to see the shoes.

    Comment by Celine — April 2, 2008 @ 4:15 pm

  34. Reading your first sentence, easy to see why you call him the Boy!

    Comment by SW France — April 2, 2008 @ 4:48 pm

  35. Ah the joy of weddings. Currently planning one of my own for November and quite frankly Gretna Green is looking tempting! And I can’t even be bothered with the hen, although i did say I wanted input!
    I am having fun finding places to stay in Costa Rica for the honeymoon though.
    As everyone keeps telling me – do what YOU want, no matter what it is.
    Regarding presents, do organise something or you will end up with loads of crap. A friend of mine had one at Berry Bros and they are loving their well stocked wine cellar

    Comment by Lisa — April 2, 2008 @ 4:54 pm

  36. I would have rather grave concerns about said money flying through the air and being lost at the removal of garter, especially if by the teeth. It would, in turn, all be for a lost cause.

    As my mama says, keep yer knees together love!

    g.i.m X

    Comment by girlwiththemask — April 2, 2008 @ 5:23 pm

  37. I wore two garters at my wedding. The one the was removed was just above my knee and didn’t involve any risk of inappropriate body parts being flashed in front of relatives and friends. The one for my husband was up higher on the other leg. No one knew except for the two of us. I don’t suppose that’s an option with your dress though–it is beautiful!

    Good luck with the rest of your plans! Has Tadpole found her dress yet?

    Comment by Leslie — April 2, 2008 @ 5:42 pm

  38. Cute dress and nice gift compromise :)

    Comment by A Seattleite in Paris — April 2, 2008 @ 6:36 pm

  39. From the comments it seems to me that there are quite a few Greeks or connaisseurs of the Greek habits!Anyway I avoided to have a Greek wedding for the funny customs but at the end I couldn’t avoid the English customs, before the wedding my english mother-in-law gave me with this funny thing ‘garter’without explaining anything so I had no idea where I had to put it, as bracelet, elastic band for my hair…etc… So this garter was the mystery of my english wedding…

    Comment by penelope — April 2, 2008 @ 7:03 pm

  40. Still trying to catch up with you and all your goings on!!
    Congratulations on the Wedding!
    What is Tadpole wearing?
    And I love the dress,very swish.

    Comment by lex — April 2, 2008 @ 7:14 pm

  41. Hello there

    Loved the dress, are you going for super high shoes? If so will you be doing the catwalk walk? You know how the models lift their feet and put them down as if they are walking over a series of mini fences.

    My number one daughter, the city girl, went for the trad country church wedding, reception in a plush country hotel, harpist playing for the guests by the river, designer wedding cake, etc. I wanted her to wear pale pink with fairy wings to celebrate her past life as a would be fairy but I was over ruled. Shame.

    My number two daughter, the country girl, has said she won’t have that sort of wedding herself, probably won’t have any guests at all. She’s emigrating to Australia to join her new partner and will marry within a year. Horses for courses – well she is a horse riding instructor.

    I can see the attraction in both options.

    Will Mr Frog be receiving one of the invitations once you’ve finished designing them?

    When I began to read about the wedding list dilemma I was going to suggest a slush fund for the honeymoon and think you’ve done the right thing.

    Now we just need to know what Tadpole is wearing to the wedding don’t we!

    Congratulations to you both, to you all.

    Comment by ookymooky — April 2, 2008 @ 7:39 pm

  42. the dress is beautiful. not sure about red shoes with it though…

    Comment by amii — April 2, 2008 @ 8:13 pm

  43. When I finally married (2 years this month!) we did it all our way; we upset a few people, outraged some, offended religious sensibilities but we had a ball!

    We opted for a registry ceremony, were able to write our own vows and had one hell of a party – a 15 piece brass band played us all into a very happy bliss.

    I chose for a dress in a similar colour to yours (although different in style) and I opted for a top hat. Your dress looks chic and I think scarlett red shoes would would add something awesome.

    Gotta trot, it looks like the cat is pooing in the raspberry bush!! But I guess what I am trying to share with you is, that it is your day so you really must make it what you want it to be for you, The Boy and Tadpole. Garters? – I was worried about what would happen (irish family, same teeth removal method), but it never materialised as we all forgot.

    xx

    Comment by Jennifer Malpas — April 2, 2008 @ 8:16 pm

  44. Hi Petite: I got married in a very traditional ceremony, at church, wearing my mother’s dress, etc. However, my husband and I blended our own, more modern stuff with it: no ‘favors’ (presents or cookies that couples put on guests’ tables, no bubbles as we left church, no huge bunches of flowers all over the place, no runner down the main aisle of church, no huge, ugly poofy dresses for my bridesmaids, etc). And, most of all, no traditional cake which I have always hated. Instead, I had a raspberry chocolate cheescake made, and it was fabulous. People thought I was crazy, but I didn’t care. Why have regular cake when you hate it?@!?? So, I didn’t. :) Do what you like and enjoy every minute.

    Comment by Kat — April 2, 2008 @ 8:25 pm

  45. Quite frankly I can’t wait to get my teeth round your garter … bring it on!

    Comment by prawn cocktail crisps — April 2, 2008 @ 8:53 pm

  46. LOL – I think the Boy’s imagination may have run riot a bit. I lurve the dress though and think the garter will look ever so delicate under it…

    Comment by teeweewonders — April 2, 2008 @ 8:55 pm

  47. At my cousins French wedding at least 30yrs ago I seem to remember that it was traditional for the guests to hunt down the couple on their wedding nightIf they were found they were made to drink champagne served up in a chamberpot with melted chocolate and rice paper floating in it.However the celebrations did last a couple of days and everyone was housed in the same village.there was a garter but I think it was auctioned off.

    Comment by Carol — April 2, 2008 @ 10:11 pm

  48. Ca semble prometteur ce mariage …
    Meilleurs voeux.

    Comment by marie-hélène — April 2, 2008 @ 10:24 pm

  49. Alice’s red shoes would be great if you were going to tap-dance down the aisle.

    Comment by Pat — April 2, 2008 @ 11:21 pm

  50. And what is Tadpole wearing?

    Comment by Pat — April 2, 2008 @ 11:23 pm

  51. Beautifully written

    John

    Comment by Dr John Crippen — April 2, 2008 @ 11:36 pm

  52. you will look utterly charming in that dress. a perfect choice! xxx

    Comment by rivergirlie — April 2, 2008 @ 11:53 pm

  53. so darling! i love that dress. it’s perfect for you.

    Comment by barbie2be — April 3, 2008 @ 12:17 am

  54. My wedding.

    The Bridal Dance

    The last dance at the wedding reception before the bride and groom leave the wedding reception is usually reserved for the Bridal Dance.
    The custom of pinning money to the gown of the bride is centuries old. It was to help the young couple set up housekeeping and gave them money to begin their new life together. Today, it is more popularly known as the “money dance” and money may be pinned on both the bride and groom in payment for dancing with them.

    Comment by Zooey — April 3, 2008 @ 1:14 am

  55. -

    Michi
    http://www.glimpseofnewyork.com

    Comment by Michi — April 3, 2008 @ 2:17 am

  56. Are you sure you are going to wear this dress?

    Comment by Rose — April 3, 2008 @ 2:37 am

  57. Love the dress, and the idea for shoes. Don’t love her hair, but you have way more class than to put a giant cinnamon bun on the top right of your head, like some sort of Princess Leia on crack, right?

    Yep, I hear you on the wedding gifts stuff. It seems so petty, but people do want to make a gesture, and some guidance as well, so they don’t end up getting you something you hate and making you go to the trouble of returning it. A necessary evil, I guess.

    Of course, the ex-Mme. Sarko had her list online, why not you?

    Félicitations, BTW. I am so glad you are so happy.

    Comment by La Rêveuse — April 3, 2008 @ 2:44 am

  58. Red shoes? How perfect. I think of them as Dorothy’s ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz, taking her wherever she needs to go. Unless, of course, you plan to wear trainers. That might be pretty ugly! And yet, it’s your wedding, do as you please! You are moving on with the the marriage, your writing, and the unnamed “Boy.”

    I wore white flats on my wedding day in 1971, an abomination to my mother and sister, who were horrified.

    Your untraditional plans are a delight. When we married (at ages 21 & 23). I simply let my mother make all the arrangements since she and Daddy were paying for it, and the details were really important to Mom; less so to me. I stood my ground on the dress, but let Mom have the rest. I got the boy/man of my choice, the important part.

    And certainly, Tadpole will need to wear a tiara, whatever else she wears. After all, she is very much the princesse.

    We are so happy for you and yours.

    Comment by PJ Carz — April 3, 2008 @ 3:28 am

  59. i love the dress too!!!
    as for the shoes, i’m thinking embellished and sparkly to go. no, not red i hope. ;-)

    Comment by odette — April 3, 2008 @ 5:16 am

  60. At the American weddings I’ve attended, there is always a garter worn by the bride. After the cheezy tossing of the bouquet by the bride to all the single women to see who will be the next to get married (note to self: avoid this at my own wedding), there is another ritual for the garter. The bride sits down and her new husband gets to take the garter off. This is always done to strip-tease music, and often the groom will be completely UNDER the dress (in the case of the big poofy dresses at least) and will remove the garter with his teeth.

    Then the groom tosses the garter to all the single men. The man who catches it then has to put the garter on the thigh of the woman who caught the bouquet. This can be hysterical especially depending on the ages of the two people involved. At one wedding some old maiden aunt of the bride caught the bouquet so of course none of the men WANTED to catch the garter and they let the little ring bearer have it, and skipped the part where he had to put it on the old lady’s leg. I once caught a bouquet and the boy who caught the garter — a good friend of the bride’s sister whom we’d all known for years — made a good show of the whole thing but two years later he “came out”. And at a recent family wedding my niece caught the bouquet — she was 12 at the time — and when the best man, who caught the garter, had to put it on my niece’s leg, her father and uncle and big brother stood over her shoulder glaring at the poor boy like the mafia — who then kept it below her knee!

    I like the idea of guests contributing funds to the honeymoon or something like that. Let’s face it, as we get older we need less stuff like fancy china and silver as in our parents day, and as working adults we usually buy things we need as we need them anyway. Hope you will post pix of the red shoes – perfect with that dress!

    Comment by The Bold Soul — April 3, 2008 @ 8:06 am

  61. We still have a photo in our sitting room of me removing my wife’s garter, with my teeth, at our wedding in Ireland. Don’t think I would have let anyone else do it though. Great day, enjoy yours.

    Comment by Nick Carraway — April 3, 2008 @ 9:15 am

  62. Hello Cath,

    I did not realize that you were getting married so soon, in 9 weeks! WoW that’s so exciting!
    I got married for the second time in Las Vegas but I have to admit that the first time it was in Italy and I was in white and in a church! I loved both marriges but I absolutely adored the one in Vegas! Just hubs and me! People thought that it wouldn’t last because it was done so suddenly…but after 7 years we are still here,together!
    Ok…so after all your readers wedding stories here a little comment on your book which I finished last night : I love it! I simply love it!

    Comment by olga — April 3, 2008 @ 9:42 am

  63. Loving Alice’s red shoes. Off to get me some, I think.

    Dress is fabulous.

    Comment by Duck — April 3, 2008 @ 9:57 am

  64. Exciting days ahead!
    The dress is drop-dead gorgeous…
    Have you decided on the soundtrack yet?

    Comment by happyforyou — April 3, 2008 @ 11:20 am

  65. I have heard of the ‘garter’ tradition but in my 16 years here in France and numerous weddings I’ve attended over the years (including my own) have never seen the tradition being carried out.

    I think my MIL and her cronies would have had a heart attack if I’d done this on the day and my husband told me that it only ‘pour les ploucs’. Can you tell that I married into a family that’s more Chanel than H&M

    Anyway if you wear a dress that short everyone will see it sticking out anyway! Oh I do wish I had the legs /body that could carry an outfit like that off.

    We used our wedding list money in France to buy super furniture that we would never otherwise have bought (replacing the crappy Ikea) and in the UK people just bought what ever they fancied.

    Comment by Pauline — April 3, 2008 @ 11:23 am

  66. Well honey, toutes mes félicitations….

    Comment by Parisian Cowboy — April 3, 2008 @ 11:57 am

  67. Lovely lovely dress!

    What’s Tadpole wearing?

    And for you: glasses or contacts?

    Comment by miss london — April 3, 2008 @ 1:49 pm

  68. For Tadpole I’m thinking something off white and frothy from Monsoon with appropriate accessories and possibly flowers in her hair. And I think contacts for me, for once, and some sort of simple chignon (not like the model pictured in the Moschino catwalk shot, obviously). And definitely a tan (in lieu of exercise/diet).

    And I should point out that the dress is much longer on me than on the model, as I am not 2m tall. It also has a life of its own when you walk, as the three layered skirt has some reinforcement in the hem and maintains its fluted shape. It’s simple yet theatrical. And I love it.

    Comment by petite — April 3, 2008 @ 2:02 pm

  69. Your dress is STUNNING!! Do you think you’ll wear it afterwards at posh parties, or will you just take it out of its mothballs periodically to sign over its beauty?

    Can’t wait to hear what Tadpole is wearing!

    a x

    Comment by angelesque — April 3, 2008 @ 2:12 pm

  70. Nobody but the worst chav families in France practice this ridiculous custom any more. I have attended around 50 French weddings in my lifetime and have never saw it practiced once.
    It is more like a urban legend these days…

    Comment by jack — April 3, 2008 @ 2:52 pm

  71. Tossing the garter to the single men is done at some American weddings, though I think it’s only happened at 1 out of the last 3 weddings I’ve attended. Also, I don’t remember the recipient of the garter placing it on the recipient of the bocquet– maybe everyone was already in a relationship. I’ve never seen a groom crawling under the bride’s dress and never seen it removed with teeth(!). That would be considered a bit trashy even by us gauche Americans!

    Comment by Sakoro — April 3, 2008 @ 3:01 pm

  72. Marriage contract??? Separation des biens?? Comment???

    Comment by Emma — April 3, 2008 @ 6:10 pm

  73. In France you have three choices when you marry – 1) everything becomes jointly owned; 2) separation des biens = everything separate; 3) you keep separate what you had before and everything purchased while married is owned jointly.

    Given that I have a child (not his) and may have another (his) and that things will be complicated enough as it is (French inheritance laws), we prefer to keep everything separate, at least on paper.

    So I guess he wasn’t after my ‘megabucks’, after all…

    Comment by petite — April 3, 2008 @ 8:08 pm

  74. Love the dress, the shoes and the whole idea of your wedding. :-)

    My son and his wife had lived together for a while before their wedding so had everything, and everyone was asked if they would like to contribute towards the honeymoon, which we all did, and they went to the Maldives or Mauritius, can’t remember which one now..:-)

    Comment by anne — April 3, 2008 @ 8:38 pm

  75. It is refreshing to read about a bride who is in love with her fiancee as opposed to being obsessed with a mega ego-fest of a wedding…Keeping things simple assures that the big day will be less stressful and more fun! You are to be commended on planning your future wisely; by keeping your assets seperate,you are setting an example for Tadpole of a woman who safeguards her future.

    *In place of sugared almonds,perhaps M&Ms?
    You can have them custom printed with something funny/sexy and the evidence will melt in your mouth ;)

    I also recommend multiple cake testings with plenty of (extremely good) champagne to wash them down…

    Comment by Belle — April 3, 2008 @ 10:47 pm

  76. First tings first: Your wedding dress is gorgeous. I forgot to mention that in an earlier comment. Lovely how the hem stands out and floats with your movements.

    Really interesting to read various interpretations of wedding traditons. Being a US person, I need to say that I have never, ever seen, nor heard of biting the garter off the bride’s thigh! So, I must disagree with some of your commenters who have said this is common in the USA. NOT!

    Apparently these differences are regional, and may apply in some places. (See the Bold Soul, whose blog I enjoy.) Sadly, I have seen some brides and grooms smear wedding cake on each other’s faces when the cake is cut. I hope this ugly trend has not crossed the Atlantic.

    Happy count-down to your Jour J. (Am embarrassed to say that as a French-speaking Yank, I had no idea it was not called D-Day en francais, but glad to learn even so late.)

    Enjoy this happy time, and share the good bits with your faceless followers, when you can.

    Hugs, p

    Comment by PJ Carz — April 4, 2008 @ 5:50 am

  77. I’m afraid it’s not his fantasy: we really do as you described in French weddings… he’ll have to remove your jarretière with his teeth! ;-)

    Comment by LN — April 4, 2008 @ 9:05 am

  78. Dear Petite,

    My Oh My, you are a busy lady! The Blog, The Book, The Baby, The Boy… Happy to read that your wedding plans are moving along… Nothing better than being in love…

    I am new to your blog and purchased Petite Anglaise at WH Smith the night of your book signing.

    “Jarretière” caught my eye… Why? Because lingerie is my business… Take a peek at http://www.soyelle.com to discover a world of beauty solutions and accessories for your lingerie.

    Wait. I have an idea.

    I would like to offer you the product selection of your choice for a value of 50€ as my wedding gift to you. I couldn’t bear the idea of your marriage getting off to the wrong start with a lingerie faux pas…

    Simply make your selection and contact me by email at madamesoyelle@soyelle.com

    Madame Soyelle
    PS I do hope you are planning on wearing a porte-jarretière + jarretière…

    Comment by Madame Soyelle — April 4, 2008 @ 9:21 am

  79. Interesting dress. I wouldn’t go for the garter thing with a skirt that short either!

    As the others have said, what’s Tadpole’s outfit like?

    & gifts? If you both have all you need why not ask people to send money in lieu to Medecins sans Frontiers or something? Goodness only knows they need the money.

    But all the best anyhow.

    Comment by Sharon — April 4, 2008 @ 12:42 pm

  80. When I was a student in Grenoble in the early eighties I went to a wedding. The raising and lowering of the garter depending on who wass putting in the cash was a huge laugh that went on longer than I thought possible. It was the highlight of the party. You must do it! :-)

    Comment by ian in hamburg — April 4, 2008 @ 12:44 pm

  81. It sounds as though you two have come up with the ideal gift arrangement. And I vote for red shoes. If not now, then when?

    Comment by Dean — April 4, 2008 @ 7:06 pm

  82. Delurking to offer you my congratulations. And I love the dress.

    Comment by sassy — April 4, 2008 @ 9:53 pm

  83. Your wedding sounds exactly the way I’d like to have one (if I even had a boyfriend, that is). Very nice. :)

    Comment by Zandria — April 5, 2008 @ 2:38 am

  84. I went to an American wedding where they pushed the cake in each others faces when they cut it. I couldn’t believe it – all the money the bride had paid for professional make up to be covered in icing.

    Comment by Jessica — April 5, 2008 @ 9:46 am

  85. So the marriage contract is essentially a pre-nuptial agreement?

    #84 – Yes, for some reason this is a classic American tradition, though, it is supposed to work both ways….The groom is supposed to get cake smooshed in his face too…..

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — April 5, 2008 @ 12:56 pm

  86. I LOVE the dress! And the red shoes,sounds like a modern fairy tale combo. A Louboutin perhaps?

    Comment by Maureen — April 5, 2008 @ 12:58 pm

  87. *blog hopping from Mauritius* ^^

    Ohh I think the dress is lovely! Nothing to do with the traditional long white wedding dress :P

    About the “jarretiere”, I’ve actually seen men removing it with their teeth from the bride’s thigh at weddings! Hahaha. I really don’t know where that tradition comes from.

    Comment by Angele — April 5, 2008 @ 6:14 pm

  88. Do any of you wonderful fans want to either sell your copy of the book or pick me one up? I’d be happy to paypal the funds for the book and shipping to you. That is legal right? I’m in the US and I really don’t want to wait for June. I’m dying to read this!

    If anyone is willing let me know – my email is MySecndWnd@aol.com

    Comment by Tara — April 5, 2008 @ 8:54 pm

  89. I love weddings… better yet, I love long and happy marriages. I’m sure you will have both.

    The dress is Wonderful! I’m quite sure that Tadpole’s princess gown and tiara will shine almost as brightly.

    I can’t remember when I got so excited about a wedding.

    Best Wishes!

    Comment by Danna — April 6, 2008 @ 12:20 am

  90. I must intervene and save Petite Anglaise and prevent her from experiencing real trauma here! You are a stylish girl so please stay away from the Garter!!!

    The garter ordeal is the most embarrassing moment of a French wedding. The face of the French bride says it all really (while she stands on a table showing her knickers, regreting she accepted to do that while creepy old men drool and keep on paying to get to lick a bit of her thigh). Cos it’s always the biggest bidder who removes the garter with his teeth, not the sexy groom! And the wealthiest bidders are not usually the ones whose head you’d want to have under your dress. If you see what I mean.

    I agree that the urn or the trip thingy sound just perfecto!

    xxx

    Comment by frog with a blog — April 6, 2008 @ 1:12 am

  91. Petite

    You should get Hello! to cover the whole thing then you can have his ‘n’ hers thrones and a sugar candy carriage pulled by white horses. Hmm tasteful. NOT.

    But please let us have some photos!

    Wishing you the very best for your coming nuptials and much happiness for your future married life.

    xx

    Comment by Anna J — April 6, 2008 @ 1:25 am

  92. wow!! petite you are still in the 7th position of the weekend’s most read on ft.com!!!! Well done petite a great impact on the readers

    Comment by penelope — April 6, 2008 @ 11:59 am

  93. Tara, you can order Petite Anglaise or any other book from The Book Depository, http://www.bookdepository.co.uk. Free delivery worldwide.
    No, they don’t pay me!
    I am sure Frog with a blog is right about the garter, sounds a nightmare scenario!

    Comment by Susie Vereker — April 6, 2008 @ 12:53 pm

  94. Thought it was appropriate to share this as we’re still on the topic of your wedding Petite. I went to an English/Scottish wedding this weekend in Lytham St Anne, Lancashire, England.

    Traditional white wedding dress, no bagpipes – a flautist instead. Snow was forecast in Lytham St Anne but the sun shone though it was freeeeezing and there were lots of white horses on the sea.

    My elder daughter read a very appropriate passage from an Iris Murdoch novel (subject, miracle we met, we must never lose each other, etc.). Bride and groom left the church in a very old cream Chevrolet convertible with champagne on board, with the bride and dress there was hardly room for the groom.

    Bride and groom led off the dancing with a routine she (dance teacher) had choreographed to Queen (can’t remember name of track)….this was fantastic as groom had NEVER been known to dance in his life so it was a huge surprise to his family and work colleagues. There was lots of Scottish dancing, Gay Gordons, etc..

    Wedding cake illustrated what the bride had never done before she and the groom got together a year ago, i.e., it was 3 mountains, strewn with ropes, crampons, a rescue helicopter, spades, a JCB, and at the top of the highest mountain? Two little figures in cagoules with vacuum flasks sitting on a bench (artistic licence)…….the groom proposed in this sort of scenario.

    Lots of kilts and when the youngest went on a crawl about he was wearing the obligatory baby apparel underneath his – so felt no need to enquire of the older guys if they were going commando.

    We stayed at the boutique hotel where the reception took place and I shared with my younger daughter but since the bed was 8ft wide I didn’t mind, she used to try to kick me out of my bed in her sleep when she was small, but she couldn’t find me in this one.

    There was a spa too, so we swam, jaccuzzi’d and sauna’d, food wonderful, all in all it was a fab wedding.

    I drove back to Cambridgeshire via the M62 to get a view of Yorkshire, got a flat from a nail in my tyre 60 miles from home but even that was OK as I was outside the American Diner on the A1. Nice RAC guy came to sort it out and I even saved petrol on the remainder of the journey as it was a temporary wheel and I had to drive at 50mph. Fab weekend!

    Can’t wait to hear all about your wedding when it’s taken place.

    Comment by ookymooky — April 7, 2008 @ 9:57 am

  95. Would just like to say that I got your book over the weekend and am so enjoying it. I am rationing my reading of it to a couple of chapters at a time, as usually I speed read everything and that wouldn’t do it any justice. So far it is tremendous, well done Petite!

    Comment by Eater's Regret — April 7, 2008 @ 3:34 pm

  96. Nice frock, you’re gonna be GORGEOUS. Looking forward to the photos.

    BTW, have you seen your latest mention?

    Comment by Suziboo — April 7, 2008 @ 7:57 pm

  97. just take good care of your guests. Make that a priority of your planning. Too many couples get sucked into “It’s all about me” thinking.

    Comment by Small Town Diva — April 8, 2008 @ 1:27 pm

  98. @96 Jeez – Not only am I a cautionary tale (again), but I have brown curly hair… Whatever next?

    Comment by petite — April 8, 2008 @ 1:50 pm

  99. Dear Catherine,

    Your package left today… I am sure it will do the trick…

    All the best.

    Madame Soyelle
    PS Don’t worry… your secret is safe with me!

    Comment by Madame Soyelle — April 8, 2008 @ 2:06 pm

  100. Congratulations, Petite and The Boy whose heart she’s ensnared! ;-) I think, most importantly, no one will forget what the bride wore.

    Comment by Vanessa — April 8, 2008 @ 2:30 pm

  101. Congratulations. How in the world did you get to be so popular? You have a great writing style btw.

    Comment by Jack Abraham — April 8, 2008 @ 5:30 pm

  102. @ #93: i am so happy. i am a us reader and just ordered the book from bookdepository.co.uk and still can’t believe shipping was free! i’m psyched, esp bc i was not looking forward to the american ‘translation.’

    Comment by jd — April 9, 2008 @ 12:08 am

  103. Just dropping by to say Hi atm Im reading your book n loving it I can see me there when our kids were tiddlers …2 under 3 no help n how alone I felt as my husband was at sea at that time…. I wish now with hindsight we had had a computer way back then to vent my frustrations out on… Thankfully they are now 22 n 21 respectively * smiles * there was light at the end of that tunnel after all …..

    Sooz

    Comment by Soozyuk — April 9, 2008 @ 3:04 am

  104. Have you seen the “review” in the New Statesman?
    Seems a bit overboard/ manic, doesn’t it?
    I mean, disturbo? Dork? Nutter?

    Comment by happyforyou — April 9, 2008 @ 9:03 am

  105. Can you DANCE?

    Comment by pablo — April 9, 2008 @ 11:15 pm

  106. Sorry Petite, that photo of the garter is not on a thigh, it is on an arm! No adult woman’s thigh would be that scrawny!

    Any tradition where you get cash is good in my book! I hope that you can loosen up a bit and think twice about the garter! ;-)

    Comment by Peggy — April 10, 2008 @ 6:22 am

  107. @104
    You didn’t give the link, which is here:
    http://www.newstatesman.com/200804030049

    Interesting review I thought. I read and enjoyed the book (devoured in less than 48 hours actually), but I kind of see where the reviewer is coming from.

    Btw, congrats on The Wedding, Petite!

    Comment by Claire — April 10, 2008 @ 7:50 am

  108. Shoes! Although actually mine are the same style but higher. Yum. (Marc by Marc Jacobs.)

    Comment by petite — April 10, 2008 @ 1:20 pm

  109. Go for good tasting cake over good looking cake ANYDAY. m

    Comment by meme — April 10, 2008 @ 3:42 pm

  110. I recommend asking for money or artwork (something interesting). My husband and I did that on our wedding day and we got lots of moulah and lots of beautiful artwork (luckily our friends knew and understood our tastes well).

    Comment by carrie — April 10, 2008 @ 4:39 pm

  111. Ce que j’ai vraiment réellement envie de savoir est:
    quel était le site de rencontre??

    Comment by Marlene — April 10, 2008 @ 5:17 pm

  112. Did I talk about a site de rencontre, in this post?

    No.

    But it was Meetic. I think I’ve said that before…

    Comment by petite — April 10, 2008 @ 6:39 pm

  113. If you haven’t bought those marc shoes (they are fab) check out http://www.eileensheilds.com…..pretty yummy – got myself a pair of the Eva’s in black and they are in red too.

    Comment by Susie — April 10, 2008 @ 9:33 pm

  114. i just wanted to congratulate you (or are best wishes for the bride?) and to say that i love your dress. can’t wait for your book to be available stateside.

    Comment by cellybelly — April 10, 2008 @ 10:00 pm


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