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Trends I Tire Of: Marie Antoinette

**I have, of late, restrained my commentary on wedding trends, so as to not risk offending some of my more delicate readers. It seems, however, that my inner censor has gone on vacation. Delicate readers, avert your eyes.**
Questions to ask yourself before planning a Marie Antoinette themed wedding:

  • Do you want to base your marriage on the woman who said “Let them eat cake!” when the French peasants had no bread to eat? I understand you’ll be serving cake at your reception, but you still might want to think this through.
  • Do you know that she ended her life in a small jail cell, before she was beheaded by the guillotine for treason? Again, I know you liked the movie, but something to ponder.
  • Are you marrying a gay man? Because this is the only way you have even a 1%* chance that your partner will like your theme.
  • Would you like people to arrive with bouffant unwashed hairdo’s infested with rats?
  • Despised for legendary excesses? Mmmm. You do know about the financial crisis, non?

*Gay men: I do think you have better taste than this.

**And with that final volley of sass, I’m off for Thanksgiving. Happy travels, and much unedited dishing to each of you! And for all my non-American readers, have a scotch in our honor. This year, for a change, you might just wish you were us!**

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43 thoughts on “Trends I Tire Of: Marie Antoinette

  1. I think the marie-antoinette trend is actually quite fitting for most weddings. It really illustrates the over-the-top spending without thinking about tomorrow, just because you want to feel good and impress your guests.

    Anyway, Marie has most probably never said the quote she is now so famous for. And even if she had, it only shows that she was spoiled and led an extremely weird, shielded life.

  2. I think more people should have weddings where they require everyone to wear wigs with insane things in them like cucko clocks, fish tanks, and small stereos.

    Think of how strong of necks we’d get?

  3. This made me laugh!

    Marte is right, though — Marie Antoinette probably never uttered the famous “let them eat cake!” quote. The story of a spoiled princess who told the peasantry to eat cake when they ran out of bread was around long before Marie Antoinette, and the quote was attributed to various spoiled princesses and queens before becoming attached to Marie-A.

    Nevertheless I agree that this is a stupid trend. Who in their right mind wants to wear a 40-pound wig?

  4. I think about this all the time! (I’m a graduate student working on French history) Although I have to say that you missed single most damning fact about the Marie-Antoinette-as-wedding-model: she and Louis did not manage to consummate their marriage for years. Also, they were married by proxy (without ever having met). And, from a pure style perspective, the dress she wore at the French ceremony was totally decadent (covered in diamonds) BUT it didn’t fit — they couldn’t get it to close. So not even MA’s wedding was perfect!

  5. This is a funny way to look at a wedding trend. Although, I think you are taking it very literally. The trend to me is more about froofyness than anything. It is good to question these things. I started doing posts on my blog to uncover where some wedding traditions come from, its good to be educated when making these decisions!

  6. I think poor people shouldn’t be so picky. If I had nothing to eat, I would be way happy with cake, preferably pound, or angel food, with fresh strawberries, and real whipped cream.

  7. OK, it’s official: I LOVE you. I was deeply in like with you before, but now… it’s love. ::swoon:: And today’s post freakin’ ROCKS!

    I’m on a bridal board where one bride has modeled her entire wedding around the Marie Antoinette movie. I’m surprised (and saddened) by the hordes of other women that are so completely enamored with the idea.

    As a movie, it was entertaining eye candy. But IRL? Not so much…

    I honestly feel that weddings are a reflection of ourselves. And excessive soirees are less about commitment and more about putting on a good show. Again – just my opinion. ;) Great post, Meg!

  8. MA didn’t commit suicide. She was indeed taken in a tumbril to the guillotine. Jacques Louis-David made a sketch of her waiting for the block in which she is very stoic and calm.

  9. Haha! Im so with you on this… and it was fairly well known at the time and now that her marriage did not go so.. shall we say… swimmingly, just another thought to add to your list.

    Happy thanksgiving! keep the sass coming!

  10. Such Sass! Point well made and I didn’t even know this theme was hot. Where have I been?

  11. Yes, yes, yes! Loved this post. Screw the delicate.

    Happy thanksgiving! We’ll be celebrating here… purely because my colleague and I will use any reason we can to eat cake. Oh yeah.

  12. You know what i am tired of… themed weddings. Isn´t marriage good enough of a theme?? Lovely post by the way ;) Happy Thanks Giving!!! :*

  13. Meg, I have missed your sass so very much. Opinionated but thoughtful and funny, it’s what I love about you.

    Got to disagree about the wigs though, how fun wigs and rodents could be!

    Happy thanksgiving! I bought my first fresh cranberries yesterday in honour of the occasion!

  14. Oh I agree. To an extent.

    Marie never said those words, historically speaking, as a history major it’s one of my pet peeves. However, she was a very sweet, down to earth girl. In fact, she stunned the Parisians by wearing “peasant” dresses and “nightgowns” in her Petit Trianon days. She liked it better than the stuffy corsetry and extravagence of Parisian life. She indeed preferred this country life. (As says most revered historians.)

    Now, here’s where I agree with you. I don’t agree with extravegant, flashy, showy, break the bank, go bankrupt for a wedding weddings. Now, if you have Bill Gates money.. do as you wish, but I completely agree with you on the fancy schmancy crap.

    I believe if I was going to have a “Marie Antionette themed wedding” it would be more from her country persona. Elegance, class, and simplicity.

    Sorry, for the bitchy rant!!! I just really hate to see history misappropriated. It’s the history major in me.

    There’s a great book if you’d like some inspiration, history, and a great read called Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette wore to the Revolution or there’s another really good one by Antonia Fraiser that the movie was based on that I can’t remember the title but I think it’s simply Marie Antoinette.

    History is lovely.

    BY the way. I like the sass. Keep it coming. You write brilliantly and have great mind, awesome ideas, and a down to earth air. That’s why I love reading your blog.

  15. Hey Amy, my understanding is that Marie Antoinette wore peasant dresses in a dress-up, play-pretend way… as entertainment rather than an honest style choice. She had a mock peasant village created (as was apparently a popular custom among the wealthy and nobility) as another type of entertainment. I think it’s useful to distinguish between truly admiring and respecting a way of life, and just using it as another playground.

  16. *Achem* My dear readers, excellently read all, we need to discern the difference, stylistically, between historical criticism and satire.

  17. No. This is v. serious stuff, Meg. I didn’t even mention that as a lover of rats, I’m offended at your suggestion that they would want to ride around in anybody’s unwashed hair.

  18. Agreed with some of the posters – Marie Antoinette was so sheltered that any poor decisions she may or may not have made (history is, as many posters have said, unclear) were likely out of poor advice.

    As for the hair – agreed. They didn’t bathe much then, either. So wouldn’t a true Marie Antoinette themed wedding mean the guests shouldn’t bathe for a few days beforehand, too? You know, to be authentic? :)

    Good post!

  19. Hmmm, well you are some what correct on the facts but I think that you seriously need to do some research. First off she said, “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche!” Which does not mean let them eat cake, even though it is what most people believe. Also she said that at the age of 10, while living in Austria (1765). She did not touch French land unil she was married in 1770. Next, yes she did live in a small cell from August 2, 1793 till her beheading on October 16. Where she was moved because she took on extreme depression after they beheaded her husband, refusing to eat, exercise, or anything else. Before that her and her family were for the most part under house arrest in Paris and were still required to play the part of royalty, attending events as such. Furthermore, while people did wear wigs, the women of the royal courts changed theirs quite often. Marie Antoinette was said to have changed her hair style as often as her moods changed. Usually she had a new hair style at each event she attended, with a fancy ornament in her wig to represent the event. So I doubt that it was really quite nasty, rat infested dirty wigs in the royal events (especially a wedding). Finally, my fiance and I are planning on dressing like Marie Antoinette (I really love the gowns)and Louis XVI (because he said he loved me so much he didn’t care what he was wearing)for our wedding, and he is 100% straight. However, we are also doing a masqeurade ball/halloween type wedding where all of our guests will be allowed to dress however they choose. Finally, as far as the excess and financial crisis, all I can say is that Marie Antoinette and Loius XVI did not cause the financial crisis. It was actually inherited, and sadly for them they were not properly instructed on how to run the countries finances in a way to fix the problem. In the end almost everything that Marie Antoinette was accused of in her trial was all false. For example the diamond necklace had already been proven to have nothing to do with Marie Antoinette in 1785, but the people accused her of it anyways in her trial in 1793.

    All in all, having the Marie Antoinette themed wedding is more about making sure that you and your guests are left with a lasting impression. Which can be done without breaking the bank, wigs with rats in them, gay men, and many other false presumptions. One just needs to know how to do plan it properly. Quite frankly, I am bored to death with the weddings that I have been to which all seem to have the same ceremony, wedding attire, food, reception, etc… But that is just my input.

  20. Ah yes Sarah,
    Weddings with all the usual trappings – true love, a lasting marriage, abiding friendship, perhaps some food (not to mention, a couple with a sense of satire and irony) tres boring.

    Why even go?

    As for the financial crisis, perhaps you haven’t heard of it? We’re actually in it now.

  21. Yes, I know we are in one now. I just assumed the article was referring to that time period, since the majority of the article itself was reffering to that time period. I am a big, “If you can’t pay for it in cash right now, then don’t buy it with credit.” person though. I learned that the hard way 10 years ago (I am 28 now). So this current economy problem hasn’t affected me as much as a lot of the people in this country. My fiance and I both have full time careers as it is. But for our wedding we both took part-time positions, as a second source of income. I am useing my part-time position to pay for the majority of our wedding. While my fiance is earning our honeymoon with his. We plan to go to Europe for a month. It has worked out very well. For example, I found out what the cost of my wedding dress I wanted was ($900 for a hand made gown)and then I waited until I had the money in hand to purchase the gown. Since we wanted a longer engagment (3 years), we haven’t been stumped with the “buy it in a hurry because the wedding is next month” issue either. Also if there is an item that is $3 each and it looks almost identicle to another item which is $10 each, we go for the cheaper one. I am obviously not condoning going broke to impress people. I mean if you are not willing to put forth the time and the effort to not go into the hole on your wedding, then just go to the local courthouse or have a backyard wedding. There is nothing wrong with that, if that is all you can afford. However this economy has not stopped me from my wedding and honeymoon dreams, and I have a feeling that we are going to come out with a nice chunck of change for a little down payment on a house.

  22. Wow, I can’t believe how many MA loyalists you’ve managed to stir up! But, whatever, keep the sass. I think about eighteenth-century France all day since that’s what I study professionally, and I totally agree with you that MA makes a bad wedding model. Two major factual inaccuracies have cropped up on this board that I just cannot let lie — she *was* financially irresponsible (even if she didn’t singlehandedly bankrupt France) and lots of people — including her husband — asked her to cut back and she refused. Second, those country dresses she wore were actually very expensive, so I wouldn’t call them authentic, nor would I call hanging out at Trianon and putting on pastoral plays a real preference for rural life.

    But all of this factual quibbling is beside the point! The spirit of the post is that weddings don’t need a theme at all, certainly not one based on excess and loveless marriages. Brava!

  23. I ask myself the same thing. “But she’s so classic and stylish!” Yes…but she also had a fake cottage where she spent most days “pretending” to be a poor shepherdess while there were real people out there suffering. Good choice. Very elegant. HA.

  24. If she said it at all, which she more than likely did not, She said it because she was a bit of a dope..not because she was really spiteful and cruel (like so many parisians liked to believe)…your post is funny I must admit..I think people are a bit mislead when they say their theme is Marie Antoinette because like you mentioned it has absolutely nothing to do with the queen since no one is wearing wigs or balcking out their teeth to look like prisoners…

    maybe we should call it Fairy tale with a classic twist??

  25. Hi, I found your blog while searching for Marie Antoinette themed weddings. While I am no fan of Marie Antoinette (after all, she died a few centuries before I was even born), I’d have to jump in and say that M.A. never said, “Let them eat cake.”

    “‘Let them eat cake’ was said 100 years before her by Marie-Therese, the wife of Louis XIV. It was a callous and ignorant statement and she Marie Antoinette was neither.”–Historian Antonia Fraser

  26. Um. I’m closing comments on this post. I also tire of people claiming Marie Antoinette was somehow a great person.

    No dice, people. Done.

    1. I don’t know how I ended up back here in the archives but I am CRACKING UP over this comment thread. whaaaaaaaaaaat hahahahah man you really used to bring out the loony bins, I had kind of forgotten. just had to share a giggle.

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