Guide to getting married in France
Updated: Sep 20, 2018
Are you recently engaged and dreaming of a destination wedding? No better place than the land of romance, France. You could even say I do at Immaculate Chateau. Trust us when we tell you that the grounds of this French chateau are simply breath taking.
This blog will give you a general guide of how to go about getting married in France and will cover the legal requirements and the paperwork needed. If unsure and to avoid any hustle when getting married in France, please seek assistance of a qualified lawyer.
As Immaculate Chateau are simply a venue, we recommend that you work with a wedding planner. Our top recommendation is Sarah from “And then we got married”. But in the end the choice is totally yours.
Getting married in France
▪ It is not as straightforward to get married in France as it is in England, as the French law only recognises civil marriage. Also, one of you needs to be a resident for over a month with proof of address, and then make an application at the town hall.
▪ If you decide to get married in France, the marriage must take place at the town hall and must be conducted by the mayor or one of his/her representatives. A religious wedding ceremony conducted by a member of the religious community will not be recognised as a valid marriage without this civil ceremony. Civil ceremonies performed in France are internationally recognized and if you wish to have a religious wedding ceremony, you must do this after the civil ceremony at the town hall and must present a marriage certificate
▪ There must be consent between the two people getting married who are at least the legal age of 18, minors can only be married with the consent of their parents.
▪ Both future spouses must be present for the ceremony in order for the wedding to be valid.
▪ If you are marrying a French citizen and plan to stay in France, apply for a visitor’s visa. Then after the marriage the local municipality will change your visa into a residency card for spouses of French citizens.
Paperwork and documentation
Documents that are not in French should be translated by a sworn translator. Names of sworn translators are available from the Mairie or local police station.
✔ Proof of residency in France: at least 40 days prior to application for at least one of the parties
✔ A form of identity
✔ Proof of current and future residence
✔ Valid passport for both parties
✔ Original birth certificate for both parties
✔ Certificate of celibacy, this states that you are not already married
✔ Affidavit of law, stating that you are free to marry and your marriage will be recognised in your home country
✔ If you plan to have a prenup. Bring the Prenuptial agreement, with a notary’s certificate.
✔ Divorce decree
✔ Information relevant to the witnesses, for instance personal and professional details.
If you are foreign you should enquire at your local Mayor or consulate on what forms of documentation might be required.
All in all, you have 2 options:
Legally marry in the UK through a civil ceremony then come to France and choose a religious or humanist wedding ceremony.
Legally marry in France through a civil ceremony, and then also hold a religious or humanist wedding ceremony on the same day or a couple of days later.
✔ Humanist wedding ceremony: Allows you to choose any desired location and they are individual and can be more personal and non-religious.
✔ Religious blessing: If you do not want the formal church wedding, you can compose the service, readings and music.
✔ Personalised wedding: This is based on you, the couples’. It is possible to have a friend or relative to conduct the service and the service is often very informal and relaxed.
Most couples choose to have a legal wedding in their own country, then come to France for a religious or symbolic wedding. This removes all of the legal and administrative complications of the French system.
You must be legally married in your home country if you are coming to France to have a religious or secular ceremony. Just remember to bring your marriage certificate as proof that your civil ceremony has taken place.
Other things to keep in mind:
France is symbolically the country of love and a perfect way to celebrate and begin married life. For more information visit:
Did you know
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie got married in the South of France.
Halle Berry and Olivier Martinez got married in a small chateau in France.
Photo credit for all images used on this page: Saša Adamović Photography
Styling & Coordination: @and then we got married