Audrey & Etienne's French cheese-loving wedding at a ski resort

By on Mar. 14th
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Photos by Blanc Coco except where noted

The Offbeat Bride: Audrey, self-employed translator (and Tribesmaid)

Her offbeat partner: Etienne, developer

Date and location of wedding: Etienne's mom's house, Veyrier, France and La Scierie restaurant, La Clusaz, France — December 21, 2012

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We got married on December 21, 2012, because it was the end of the world, baby! Not only was it the end of the world, it was also a Friday, and virtually no one gets married on Friday in France. But it was the Friday preceding the national Christmas holidays, and a lot of guests could make it.

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Choosing to get married the very day of the end of the world enabled us to set a goofy tone for our wedding. Since this end of the world was in winter, we could make the most of our hometown, located in the mountains. We love winter, snow, and winter meals, so it was perfect for us.

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I wore a black and white dress as black is my favourite color. Except for rainbow striped socks, all my accessories were black. I did not risk catching pneumonia and wore a black woolen coat over my dress.

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My bouquet was kusudama flowers with beads glued on it… black and white of course! I had a second, black and white dress for the dinner and dancing since no one on Earth could actually eat and dance in the dress I had for the ceremony. Boy, was I relieved to change dresses.

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Photo by a friend of the couple

The cocktail was in Etienne's mom's house, because we wanted a homey, relaxed atmosphere. I set up a hot cocoa bar to warm our guests, with typical wedding and Christmas sweets. It was also where guests could suggest a destination for our honeymoon with a globe and Post-Its. I honored my baby cat, who couldn't make it to the wedding, by using pictures of a black cat for signs.

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Photo by a friend of the couple

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The dinner was in a ski resort nearby. We chose a mountain-style restaurant because we wanted an all-inclusive venue which would take care of everything, from choosing the wine to setting up the tables. We were happy to find La Scierie, a gorgeous venue with lovely owners open to all our ideas. The venue was beautiful in itself, so we didn't do much decor, only paper fortune cookies with silly, Chuck Norris quotes to break the ice.

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The menu was cheese-oriented, as we are the world's biggest cheese lovers. The main course was a Swiss hearty meal of melting cheese over potatoes with cold cuts (raclette), which everyone here loves in winter.

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We had no cake cutting (who wants cake after a raclette anyway?), no first dance, no rice toss. The only tradition I kept was the bouquet toss, because I really wanted to toss something. But I made it my way: I invited every guest to catch a bouquet, which ended up being made of soft candy!

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Our invitations contained quotes from Spider-Man, Star Wars, and Toy Story. The music for the processional was "The Imperial March" from Star Wars, and the recessional was "Highway to Hell" by AC/DC. The music of the dinner was made of instrumental music from movies and video games, such as Super Mario Galaxy, Tetris, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and The Avengers.

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Last but not least, we had a wonderful guest of honor: a cardboard cut-out of Darth Vader, who joined us for the photo booth. There was also a costume of Darth Vader for guests to play with.

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Tell us about the ceremony: French law states that to get legally married, you have to get married by a mayor (and no one else) in a town hall (and nowhere else). So we got married by a mayor in a town hall. It was short and administrative. This type of ceremony usually doesn't require much participation from the bride and groom. We didn't exchange vows and only said "YES!"

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After that ceremony, you are free to do whatever symbolic ceremony you want (religious or otherwise). As we are both atheists, we opted out of the religious ceremony. The secular ceremony was enough for us to feel married.

Our biggest challenge: The only tough challenge was the kid issue. We had a guest list of 70, plus 10 kids including five newborns. Having the kids for dinner was not an option for us, but we invited them to the ceremony and cocktail and offered to pay for the baby sitter during dinner. There were a few ruffled feathers, but in the end everyone found a solution and we had the kids-free dinner we wanted.

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My favorite moment: The processional was incredible. For civil ceremonies in France, the bride and groom usually mingle with guests before the ceremony. We chose to have all guests seated and do an entrance together. Seeing all our guests, friends, and relatives being here, smiling, and clapping for us was incredibly powerful.

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My funniest moment: Our guests surprised us with a flash mob to "Gangnam Style." It was hysterical to see guests of all ages dance on this song. During the cocktail, I got everyone's attention with a gong! It surprised the hell out of them, while all I wanted was a little quiet for my speech. It was funny.

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Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? A few weeks before the wedding, I had a minor panic attack about our choices: would the guests laugh at our music choices? Would they think a candy bouquet was childish? Would the iPod playlist be a flop? I stuck to my guns since I couldn't picture our wedding any other way anyway. Thankfully, the guests laughed with us during the processional, they drank from the hot cocoa bar, and danced to our playlist.

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? There are no problems, only solutions. And sometimes, there are compromised solutions (with your partner, with your mom, with your mother-in-law), and they will work.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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