Thursday, April 27, 2006

Mr & Mrs or Madame & Monsieur....

The big day dawned and our party of guests prepared for a day which they had no idea what would happen. We hadn’t dared to ask for a rehearsal beforehand and we hadn’t even seen the room before. Jacques and I waited outside together with our best man, Matt and my best friend, Ella, and all walked down a kind of aisle, him on the left, me on the right. We met in the centre at an upholstered chaise-longue where we sat and waited. It was a lady doing the servic and she smiled. Our Hungarian friend, Anniko, translated the Hungarian for us into English and we said 'yes' in Hungarian at the right moments until she signaled to Jacques to put the ring on. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief as it seemed such a familiar gesture to everyone in the room.

Then the French pushed us into the side of the room and filed past kissing us on both cheeks. My English family did the same although with some amusement. Outside my dad threw paper confetti, which mystified the French side. Should it not be rice they wondered? After a few photos in the park we went by taxi to the Marriott hotel for an afternoon tea of tea, cakes and pastries with champagne.

The evening dinner was at the top restaurant in Budapest - Gundels. We had not told anyone so they were surprised to see a private room with a Hungarian Gypsy group to play for us. We served Pineau de Charente cocktails, a drink from Jacques region in France. Then we ate. We were nervous when planning the menu, eager to please both sides of the family. The starter of a creamy soup was fine, followed by chicken with roasted vegetables. But the crunch came with the cheese. One big difference between French and English formal dining is that the French eat cheese after the main course and then end with dessert. The English choose to eat our cheese last, with a glass of port. Jacques always says the French would not want to kiss someone tasting of cheese so that’s why the sweet comes last!

After much heated discussion we went French-style for the cheese but I stuck out for the traditional two tiered English looking wedding cake that seemed essential. And we did the menu in both languages, although I have to admit that food mysteriously sounds better in French! Soupe aux legumes avec une crouton du Fromage aux Cheves is better than ‘Vegetable Soup with Melted Goat’s Cheese on Bread’, let’s face it!

My best memory is of my Dad and Jacques’ mother crooning together with the gypsy band, doing a karaoke versions of Edith Piaf’s ‘La Vie Est Belle’ and The Beatles ‘When I’m 64’.
So Mr and Mrs, or is that Madame and Monsieur, became married. And three months later became a family…..

No comments: