Weddings are probably one of the most important events in people’s lives. With our modern & busy way of life, the couples who works a lot have little spare time left for managing wedding suppliers, especially when they want to plan a destination wedding in a foreign country, and have to face the language barrier ! If professional bridal consultants & wedding planners are based worldwide, the industry is definitely the largest in the USA ! Therefore, it has become normal to think that the first wedding planners were coming from North America ! But of course not !
You might be surprised to hear that the first wedding planner were actually French, ‘Oui madame !’, and that the job took its origins during the ancien Régime in the XVI – XVII century where kings, queen, princess & nobles were having fun all together at the occasion of sumptuous celebrations & grandiose coronations ! I admit that I discovered this information very early when I decided to dig into the wedding industry, and that I felt somehow a little amused ! I also learned that pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom ! So I’m sharing today this piece of information with a lots of humility , enjoy my french humour !
The ‘Grand maître des cérémonies de France’, understand in english ‘The Grand Master of Ceremonies of France’ was actually one of the great officers of the Maison du Roi. The position was created by the one & only Henri III in 1585, to relieve the Grand Master of France of part of his workload and was later eliminated in 1792, but was reinstated during the Bourbon Restoration. How complicated are those French ! The name of the position changed to “Masters Menus Plaisir” which is indeed a cooler name ! “The Building of Menus Plaisir” in Versailles still exists. Next time you will visit Versailles, you’ll probably look at it in a different way !
The function of the « Master Menus Plaisir » was to plan any kind of public ceremonies of the crown and to organise state ceremonies and not court etiquette or any private functions. He played a big role in ceremonies planning royal births, baptisms, marriages, and even funerals for members of the royal family, ambassadors and so on… The meetings of the States General & royal entries into towns was regular job for him ! To make it more dramatic, he always carried a baton covered in expensive black velvet, with an ivory tip ! Shall I get one too ?
Just like any modern wedding planner, The Grand Master of Ceremonies duties involved overseeing the logistics of ceremonies such as materials, vendors, menus and time lines. He was also carrying important messages from the king to the Parlement, and accompanying the king and the queen on their travels, so that he could also manage the celebration during the vacation. I assume he was very much appreciated ! The «Grand master of ceremony » was making official records to improve future ceremonies; counseling the members of the court of their role in the celebrations, and overseeing that the ceremonies was always unfolding properly. He also had an assistant to get some little help during the busiest events : « master of ceremonies ». I swear that’s how I’m going to call my next assistant. I’m sure she will love the nick name !
SUMPTUOUS EVENTS, destination wedding planner in Paris !
Article Picture : Réception du Grand Condé à Versailles (Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1878)