Je vous souhaite de souhaiter.
Je vous souhaite de désirer.
Le bonheur, c’est déjà vouloir.
Comme en droit pénal, l’intention vaut l’action.
Le seul fait de rêver est déjà très important.
Je vous souhaite des rêves à n’en plus finir et l’envie furieuse d’en réaliser quelques uns.
Je vous souhaite d’aimer ce qu’il faut aimer et d’oublier ce qu’il faut oublier.
Je vous souhaite des passions.
Je vous souhaite des silences.
Je vous souhaite des chants d’oiseaux au réveil et des rires d’enfants.
Je vous souhaite de résister à l’enlisement, à l’indifférence, aux vertus négatives de notre époque.
Je vous souhaite surtout d’être vous.
– Jaques Brel
With all the planning for our Scottish wedding in August, the day of our French ceremony crept up on us and almost took us by surprise. Our paperwork roller coaster ended up with an official date in the diary at the mairie, but document to confirm it until I went and asked 3 days before (which probably also contributed to the everything seeming a bit unreal). Most of my stress on the day of the wedding was related to making sure the various close family members made it off the Eurostar and over to the mairie on time, which was made a bit more difficult by the fact that my little brother arrived with a crutch and his arm in a sling, accompanied by his pregnant wife, but looking after everyone else helped to stop me getting too stressed about the actual wedding, which was probably a good thing.
When we finally did make it to the town hall, everything was locked up and there was nobody around. (It was lunch time in France, after all.) Eventually they opened the doors and we made our way up to the salle des mariages, a very plain and official looking room with a big desk and a microphone at the front, some rows of chairs, and a picture of François Hollande on the wall. As our main wedding celebration will be in Scotland, we hadn't asked for any extras in our French ceremony, so it began with us being asked to identify ourselves (I had to confirm the pronunciation of my name before we started), followed by the extracts from the Code Civil, our agreement to take each other as husband and wife, signing the register and the reading of the acte of our marriage.
The ceremony was conducted by a representative of the mayor and she explained to us that it was only her second wedding ceremony since being elected, so she got a little bit emotional, which was actually really nice as it made what was otherwise quite a bureaucratic procedure seem that bit more personal. To finish, she read the text above, which I think is so beautiful, I sort of wish we'd chosen it for our other wedding too! It's called "Les Souhaits aux aventuriers de la vie" and was originally a speech made by Jacques Brel when he was asked to give his wishes for the new year during an interview. So in the end, what could have seemed like just another administrative step to take turned into a really nice celebration of this big step in the adventure of life. And, with our new livret de famille on the living room shelf, I'm not only officially married, I feel a little bit more French as well!