The countdown to the wedding has begun!
The original goal for C & I was to get most of the wedding planning done in May, so that we could "profite" of June and July before starting up again in August. Except the weather in June & July was crap so not much profite-ing was done, and of course now it's turned nice in August. Oh well.
One of the big things on our list was to sit down and figure out what to do for a wedding registry. This is complicated by the fact that we are having a small wedding in France, so most of the people who will want to send us gifts are in the US. But given the luggage weight limits, it would take us years to bring everything back. Not to mention that American appliances, etc wouldn't work in France.
So back to square one - what to do?
In France, it's quite common for people to give money, either towards a home purchase or the honeymoon. I started hunting around and found out there are some really nice sites out there that let you design a personalized wedding website so people can choose what the money goes towards - say "paint" for a house, or a "couples massage on the beach" for the honeymoon. So in an ideal world, that's what everyone would do - but from what I can glean from American etiquette sites, that's still sort of a faux-pas. I mean, it sounds like you can have one, but that you also need to have other options for people who are offended by just giving money.
Back to square-one again.
Then I came across the Printemps website. Printemps is one of the major department stores in Paris, and it turns out their wedding list can be in either French or English. The actual descriptions of the items themselves are in French, but the site is English and there are pictures there, so in theory, someone in the US could make a purchase and then we could go pick up the item at Printemps. We don't really need anything for our apartment, but at least it would give our guests another option. Sounds perfect right?
They had a selection of things you could add directly from their website, but it was very limited, so last Saturday, C & I headed down there to the actual store to take a look. I was really looking forward to getting one of those scanner guns and then going crazy, à la Bridezilla.
Except once we got there, we discovered they had no scanner guns. Instead, they give you a piece of paper and one of those tiny pencils, and then every time you find something you like, you have to go find a sales person and have them write the UPC plus some sort of secret code on the sheet. FOR EVERY SINGLE ITEM. Do y'all know how hard it is to find a sales person in France?
C was about ready to give up right then and there, but I persisted - we'd already come all the way down there, why not at least take a look? So we set off with our piece of paper and started walking around the store. We would both pick something up, look at the price tag, freak out, and then ever-so-gently set it back down. Like I saw a really nice wooden bowl - the kind that are as smooth as butter - but the price was almost 100€! I can't ask a guest to pay 100€ for a frickin' bowl! Same for the pots, pans, etc.
Okay, on to the linens section. Our table runner is getting stained due to C not being used to eating sauces, so why not add one of those? We found one we liked and walked over to a saleswoman to have her add it to our list. But she personally did not like that color (gray) -how about this lovely red? No thank you, I already have one like that and it's a little too Christmas-y for me. Well how about this pretty pattern? No thank you, we are really looking for something dark to hide stains.
And this is where the lady flipped out. Hide stains? What do you mean "hide the stains"? You do know you have to wash table runners every day right? Umm...sorry lady, but no. What do you mean no?? It is just what's done!
I looked to C for confirmation, but he looked just as confused as I did. We just sort backed away slowly while she gave us the evil eye and mumbled stuff about "kids these days" under her breath.
Alright, let's give bedding a try. We could use a new duvet cover and maybe a new pillow or two. We head over to the pillows and I pick up the softest pillow I have ever felt. I tell you, it was like laying on a cloud. There was no price on it (that should've been our clue right there), so after trying a few others, we flagged a saleswoman down and asked her. After giving us a ten minute spiel on the benefits of this pillow, I interrupted and asked "Excuse me, but what is the actual price of this lovely pillow?".
The damn thing cost 500€ people. 500 EUROS!!! For a pillow! My eyes just about bugged out of my head. I asked if she had an less expensive options and she brought us over to another stack. After going on for a while about the percentage of goose down vs duck down blah blah blah, she told us that this one only cost 350€. Sorry lady, still out of our price range. Okay, how about this one for 200€?
Upon seeing our faces, she finally brought us over to the discount pile, where there were two crappy little pillows for 90€ each. Now I'm telling you, these were the kinds of pillows you can buy in Carrefour for 5€. You know, all lumpy and uneven.
And that was C's breaking point. He very rarely rants, but this time it came out - Printemps was a huge rip-off, they jacked the prices up on everything, they made it extremely complicated to open a wedding list, etc. And I could only agree with him. After a few hours, we only had two things on the list - and one of them was an eye mask.
Printemps' selling point is that "It's your wedding! Go nuts!" but both of us are just too practical to do that. I cannot in good conscience ask my guests to pay out-the-nose for something they could buy in the US for a much more reasonable price. I just don't have it in me. Not to mention that the prices are in Euros, so there'd be an even bigger mark-up with the exchange rate.
So we're back to square one yet again.
Obviously I'm not the first or the last foreigner to get married in France, so I'm hoping someone out there in the blogosphere will have found THE perfect solution to this dilemma.... And if so, please leave me a comment here!
Labels: Franco-American weddings