March 2, 2008

Cultural Tradition: The Cortège

Posted in Cultural Differences at 4:21 pm by Jess

Aside from the two seconds during which Jon and I say “I do,” or rather, “Oui” (There’s another cultural difference, that whole Famous Two Words thing is obsolete here!) the part of the wedding that I am looking forward to the most is the Cortège. I am looking forward to it for so many reasons: For the organized fashion of a caravan of cars all following us; for the antique car Jon will be driving, for the feeling of cruising through country roads with views of lakes and mountains; for the horns blaring for thirty minutes without pause; for the children racing through fields to grab the candy thrown from cards onto the roadside, for the elderly and adults waving to us from balconies as we pass through small villages; and finally, for my American guests to see, as I have every time I have been a participant in someone else’s cortège, that the Swiss can be loud, let-loose, fun and crazy.

This week we made the map of the route, in order to pass to our guests at the end of the ceremony before leaving. Normally there are two whole cortèges: from church to cocktail and from cocktail hour to reception. We’re just having one (no church). Everyone files into one long line of cars, so mostly people can just follow us, but given red lights, people need directions too – hence the maps. They are handed out along with a large sack of candies, each wrapped individually in plastic.

The key to the whole thing is the honking. From the second the leading (our) car begins to drive, the entire caravan begins to honk insanely – sometimes to a rather interesting beat – and doesn’t stop until we arrive at the reception. The honking alerts all villagers, and especially kids, that there has been a wedding and we are coming. Kids run down to the street to catch the candy thrown from cars.

If you like this idea, try incorporating it in America, and telling people in advance what to expect. Also, drive the route beforehand so you know exactly how you want to drive it, and what potential traps there are for getting lost. Google Maps gave us a set of directions online beforehand, but when we started to drive it we found a MUCH prettier road just along the lake to take, and it was only five extra minutes long.

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4 Comments »

  1. […] kattwinson wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptthe part of the wedding that I am looking forward to the most is the Cortège. I am looking forward to it for so many reasons: For the organized fashion of a caravan of cars all following us; for the antique car Jon will be driving, … […]

  2. […] you are looking for more information on home family weddings, checkout what Jess has to say today: Aside from the two seconds during which Jon and I say “I do,” or rather, […]

  3. Anali said,

    This is a wonderful blog! I’m here via “Bleeding Espresso.” I love the idea of a wedding caravan too. The only car procession that we seem to have in the USA is for funerals. This would be a much happier way to be in a car procession. Now I want to be in one!

  4. Megan said,

    So your name is Jess? And your fiances’ name is Jon? Wow! I have a friend name Jess, and her husband’s name is Jon, and at first, I thought you could have been her. Haha.

    Thank you for the comment on my blog. :] It’s exciting to get input from other brides! I like your blog, so I’m going to add a link to it on mine! :]


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