Need wedding ideas for the bride who wants to be chicer than chic and channel Jane Birkin or Brigitte Bardot on her big day? The name of the game is effortless. That seems to be the bedrock of French-girl style—that breeziness that says, "I care, but not that much, mainly because I'm chicer than you, but I don't know I'm chicer than you because that's how cool I am." Sound like you? Read on for our wedding ideas on how to get that French-girl vibe, naturellement!
1. Don't try too hard.
Nothing is less French than fussy. Skip the caked-on makeup and oversprayed updo. In fact, the more bed-head, the better! A little smudgy and lived-in eye makeup doesn't hurt, either—or you can do like BB and draw on a quick cat-eye. If you go for the feline swoop, make sure the rest of your face is clean and looks natural. The irony is that sometimes it takes MORE effort to look effortless, but we have faith in you.
2. Choose a venue that feels intimate.
If you go with a venue that makes you choose from their list of vendors, the amount of control you'll have over the vibe will certainly dwindle. Ideally you'd have a small ceremony (at City Hall? Maybe in a beautiful, quiet park?) and then a reception at a chic, but relaxed, restaurant—with a charming terrasse, of course—or a beautiful, slightly overgrown and wild backyard or unmanicured lush outdoor space.
3. Make sure your flowers don't feel too "arranged."
Even if you do have a professional florist, your flowers should feel straightforward and spur-of-the-moment, i.e. "I just ran to the market and grabbed something I liked, trimmed the stems and called it a day." Mono-fleur will work best for your bouquet, nothing too big or showy (sorry, peony lovers) but something light and sweet, like clematis, hellebores, Queen Anne's lace, or sweet peas. For your tables, small bud vases using any of the above blooms will feel effortless—especially if you don't overdo it, and sprinkle lots of tea lights around. Keep the color palette to whites and greens—nothing too bright or deep.
4. Keep the wedding party very minimal.
Or just don't have a wedding party. If you do have bridesmaids, tell 'em they can wear whatever their heart desires. A French girl has only the chicest friends, and she can't be bothered to dictate what their 'maids should wear—especially when she knows her friends have impeccable taste.
5. Consider not sending invitations.
Your wedding will be so intimate, everyone will know the details without any sort of formality. If you do send something, grab some vintage postcards, hand-write the details and call it a day. No save the dates either—the French girl doesn't plan so far in advance.
6. Serve amazing food, delicious wine.
Don't skimp on the food. It should be the centerpiece of your celebration and served all night long—start with long boards of cheese and meander into a many-course meal, served family-style. If you have control over glassware, try renting (or borrowing) mismatched vintage crystal or glass. Better yet, try collecting it over a few months and letting guests take their glasses home as their favor.
7. Keep the party going late into the night.
Because French girls can drink wine until the wee hours and still look fresh as a daisy in the morning.