Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Honeymoon Part III: Our Friends Get Hitched

We made our way to the chateau exhausted and weary from our travels thus far, but we were excited and pretty amazed at what we saw as we pulled up.

The rest of the day was spent wandering around the chateau and the grounds just falling in love with everything, except maybe all the taxidermy (we're talking giraffes, baby elephant, chimp, lions, it was ridiculous).

Our Room!  For reals.

Some of the taxidermy we could have lived without.

The next day the I headed into town with our friend, the soon-to-be-groom and rounded up provisions for that night's dinner.  We roasted chickens, made my Grandma's recipe for rice pilaf and haricot vert with almonds for dinner.  Dessert happened to be some lovely fruit tarts from the local patisserie, and we also grabbed some amazing cheeses and cured meats for everyone to snack on, oh and over 40 bottles of wine.

The groom, with seven French hens.

Mr. Moonbeam helping with the wine.

On a side note, the 40 bottles lasted us approximately 1.5 days.

Good thing there was a wine tour scheduled the next day.  We learned about terroir and appellation and some quick tips for picking yummier wines.  Oh, and we sampled a lot of it as well.

Then we headed back to the chateau for a hog roast.  It was pure yumminess.

And there were mustaches, because what's a wedding without 'em these days.

Dinner was followed by macarons, and various other pastries that tasted even better than they looked.

The next day was the ladies luncheon, it was held at an adorable bistro in the nearby town of Cande.

While we were enjoying our food, the guys were out shopping for dinner provisions.

Then a few of us headed down to the kitchen and started making dinner.  I made a flourless chocolate cake, a  nut tart and a lemon tart.  Dinner that night was fish, mashed potatoes and various veggies.  But the main event was the Murder Mystery Dinner!  The maid of honor, her husband and her twin brother spent the day setting up the mystery.

I wish I had gotten my camera out, but sometimes you're just having too much fun, and a big shout out has to go to Mr. Moonbeam.  He played the murdered Earl's old friend who was just released from prison.  In Mr. Moonbeam's mind this meant that he had a paunch, cigarettes, an empty bottle of wine and a surly, half-passed out attitude all night.  He split the prize for best character with the Maid of Honor's Dad, also a standout.

I highly recommend a murder mystery as a fantastic group activity for a destination wedding, maybe even a rehearsal dinner (which, technically, ours was).

After the dinner, we danced in the basement until the wee hours of the morning, I can not overstate the willingness of the British to have a good time dancing, singing and drinking all night.

The next day was the 'Big Day'.  We woke up at some time and everyone sort of helped out where necessary.  I was helping with the steaming and ironing of various garments.  Then Mr. Moonbeam and I got our fancy duds on and hung out with the groom until it was time.

I found out that getting ready on the guys side involves things like ice cream (if you go to Europe, get Magnum bars, as many as you can find) and sandwiches.

Then there all the last minute things happened, lint was removed, bouts were pinned and it was time to go.

We all went out to the garden for the short and sweet ceremony.

There was a reading from the Mother of the Groom, a poem written by the Bride's Uncle (officiant) and read by her Aunt (his wife).

Vows were said, rings were exchanged, there was a kiss and they were Man and Wife.

We all went to a lovely treed area for cocktail hour.  Then the Bride and Groom finished their portraits and joined the party.

Check out the radiant Bride.

Hair flower perfection.
After cocktails we headed to the front of the chateau for some group shots.

The guys picked up the Bride.

So, naturally the girls picked up the Groom.

Love the backdrop.

Then it was time for dinner, there were slideshows, and then the Groom announced the honeymoon surprise, they were going to Corsica.  Perfection.  And dinner was amazing, I can not overstate the decadence of a French roasted duck.  Then there was croquembouche, I've always wanted to try it every time I see it in a picture.  It was great, but I had always thought that there was cream inside and I was wrong, it was something with hazlenut and it was super yummy.

Then came the formal dances.

After that it was time for the happy couple to head to their honeymoon.

I'm in love with this dress, btw.

Next, we took over the foyer for drinking and dancing.

Dancing with old friends

A crazy Frenchman

And all of our new buds.

Many of the people there were Texans, and there were a couple of Scots in attendance as well, so we traded cultural info.  Some of us Texans taught everyone how to Two Step, Line Dance and Cotton Eyed Joe.  The man in the kilt taught us the Gay Gordons and Whip the Willow.

Cotton Eyed Joe.

Whip the Willow

I have determined that Scottish dances are mainly about drinking large amounts of alcohol, running and spinning around in circles.  They are great and even if you're not Scottish, I'd recommend them at any wedding.

Then we caught a few zzz's and head into town for our way-too-early train to Charles de Gaulle to head back home.

Ah, we had the best time and how I wish I could go back.  My favorite part was definitely at the chateau, we met some great people, got to hang out with a few people we never get to see any more, and we got to teach the Brits about breakfast tacos.

And, I'll leave you with a pic from our mini photo session on the grounds.

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