13 French Wedding Traditions And Customs

What makes all the magic of marriage in France, it’s the rituals that surround this very special day. Whether or not you are for a traditional wedding, here are different French Wedding Traditions And Customs that you may adopt.

The day of the wedding is rich in symbolism. From the wedding dress to the walking down the aisle to the bridal bouquet, the French Wedding Traditions And Customs are not lacking to make this event a day that will remain forever in memories.

French Wedding Traditions And Customs

French Wedding Traditions And Customs

Whatever the style of your relationship and your marriage, your wedding ceremony will go through many stages all rich in emotions. If you want to follow the French Wedding Traditions And Customs and respect the inheritances, you will find in this list the main rituals of marriage in France.

1. Sleeping separately

The tradition is that the newlyweds sleep separately the day before the wedding. This ritual can make the moment of reunion even more precious in passions and make it possible to mark a difference between the life of single and the life of a couple.

2. The 4 elements

It is true that this custom comes from England at the end of the nineteenth century. It’s about the idea that the bride must have in her possession 4 components at the time of getting married, 4 symbols bring happiness: something old, something borrowed, something new and something blue. They designate respectively family bonds, luck, success and finally the loyalty of the bride and groom.

  • In the first place, on the day of her wedding, the bride must wear on her, something “old”. It can be a family jewel, a bracelet of sentimental value … but belonging to the bride. it represents the family link of the bride, her story before marriage.
  • Then, the “new” element is usually represented by the wedding dress. It symbolizes renewal, success, and prosperity for the life to come.
  • Thirdly, the “borrowed” object represents luck and happiness for the future married couple. It is usually an accessory (chosen by the bride) having already been worn by a bride on the day of her own wedding (a veil, a jewel, a skirt …) happy and fulfilled.
  • And finally, the color “blue”: symbolizes faithfulness and purity between the couple. For this, it is often a discreet accessory (a handkerchief, a bow …) that is chosen by the bride.
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3. The bride always stands on the left

The bride traditionally stands and sits on the left of her future husband in the church. The custom is that the bride is to the left of her husband during the ceremony. Indeed, in ancient times when the knight came to the rescue for his beloved princess, he held her with his left hand as he kept his sword in his right hand. This supposed to signify the groom’s ability to use his right hand in fighting all people opposed to this marriage.

4. The Rings

Indeed, the origin of this custom dates back to ancient Egypt. The round form of the covenant symbolized eternal and infinite love. It goes to the left ring finger, which according to the beliefs is traversed by a vein going directly to the heart, called by the Greeks: “the vein of love”. To put a ring on that finger means that the heart belonged to the one who had offered the ring. Thus this finger became the ring finger.

5. The rice throwing

This practice goes back to antiquity. These French Wedding Traditions And Customs are actually a vow of prosperity and fertility for the newlyweds. It is a pagan rite of throwing grains on the spouses to transmit strength and fertility. The throw of rice takes place at the exit of the church or the town hall.  This also guaranteed happiness and luck for the couple, by removing “evil spirits”.

Today, although sometimes replaced, it remains traditional to congratulate the newlyweds in a shower of confetti, petals, bubbles … as a sign of congratulations and shared happiness.

6. The procession

At the end of the ceremony, the newlyweds leave in a car, usually followed by the wedding procession. Then horns are struck on their pathway. We owe this ritual in the Middle Ages where clandestine weddings were common. Also, the law obliged to announce the marriage union as loudly as possible.

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7. The dragees

This is one of the most common gifts offered to guests. These sweets go back to Antiquity and were introduced in France as early as the 16th century. Highly prized by monarchs, they are a symbol of eternal love.

8. The bridal bouquet throwing tradition

This wedding tradition also appeared in the 16th century in France. It was previously the male guests to grab the bouquet, running after the bride! The custom imported from the Holy War. The knights reportedly inscribed this custom of their crusades. At their weddings, future wives made bunches of orange blossoms (symbol of purity). It is now customary for the groom to offer the bouquet to his wife. Today, the bride throws it back to her female friends. Whoever catches it will be the next to get married.

9. The garter

Where does such French Wedding Traditions And Customs come from? It would seem that the inheritance of the garter goes back to a more than distant time: prehistory! Indeed, paintings of women wearing strange bands around the thighs, similar to our garters, were found on the walls of prehistoric caves.

Remarkably, it was at this time, only the warlocks had the right to wear them. The garters were according to beliefs, endowed with magical powers. It was then seen appearing in all legends and fairy tales, they became magical charms.

Later, in the Middle Ages, during a dance with the Countess of Salisbury, King Edward III of England saw falling on the ground, the garter of the lady. The latter picked it up and tied it to his own leg: the most famous order of British chivalry was born: the order of the garter!

Today, the garter symbolizes above all purity (white) and fidelity (blue). Brides wear it at the thigh limit of sensual and intimate space. It symbolizes her purity. It is most often white or blue, colors of purity and fidelity among the Hebrews.

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10. The chamber pot

This custom, exclusively a French one, originated in the Aveyron region. It symbolizes the passage from childhood to adulthood. The ritual required the bride and groom to walk in a cart with a chamber pot in their arms to announce their wedding in the village. Very early, the day after the wedding, the friends of the newlyweds would look for them, to bring back their chamber pot.

It involves waking the bride and groom and offering them a strange mix, often made of chocolate, bananas, and champagne, all in a chamber pot decorated with toilet paper. This custom. Indeed, the chamber pot was supposed to strengthen the bride and groom after their wedding night. It is also a symbol of the transition from childhood to adulthood and that of singles to newlyweds.

11. The onion soup

Legend has it that this drink was invented by Louis XV himself. It is usually served at the end of marriage to regain energy after dancing all night.

12. The groom to carry the bride over the threshold

The groom traditionally carries his wife to cross the threshold of their home. This would be to prevent bad spirits attacking the bride. And if they stumble, a symbol of bad luck for the young couple in Roman times.

13- The veil

The veil of tulle is an indispensable part of wedding customs. It is true that this custom comes from ancient traditions. This was to transfer to her lover by throwing a cloth on her head, so she could not go back to her parents’ house …

Later, the custom changed. At the time of the arranged marriages, the parents covered the face of their daughter, with the veil until the marriage is celebrated. Therefore, the man did not take into account the physical criteria.


Nothing forces you to follow all those French Wedding Traditions And Customs. If you dream of an original or modern wedding, revisit these inheritances or create your very own ones!

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