5 Tips for Getting Married in France

These are our 5 tips for getting married in France – everything you will need to know for your destination wedding

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France – not for nothing known as the country of love. France has so many great things to offer. From the capital of love and fashion, Paris, to quaint medieval villages, rough shores or sunny beaches. This versatile country attracts millions of tourists each year and it’s no wonder why. The marvelous perfumeries, beautiful art museums and stylish boutiques have a great impact on the world. And let’s not forget about the stunning scenery. So it’s not surprising many couples dream of getting married in France. Are you one of the many France lovers and thinking about having your wedding in France? How wonderful! The following post has 5 valuable tips and the legal requirements for a wedding in France. Get inspired!

And don’t worry if France just isn’t for you. Maybe Portugal or Santorini are more your style?

Chateau Wedding in France

A wedding in a beautiful and luxurious chateau in France is always a great idea. Besides, France offers a lot of stunning old buildings that have a rich history. Lush gardens or breathtaking vine yards contribute to the chic french charme. The castles make the fairytale wedding dream come true. Make a journey to the 16th or 17th century with your castle wedding and feel the nobility.  Nevertheless, a chateau wedding is more on the pricier side.

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Photo: Anja Schneemann Photography


When is the best season to get married in France?

Like with all weddings, it’s a good idea to start planning early on, with destination weddings maybe even a bit earlier. One and a half years in advance is a good time to start planning if you want to get married in France. This way you will have enough time and can make sure to get a booking with your favorite vendors at your desired date. The same goes for family and friends since they also have tight agendas and are sometimes booked out years in advance 😉
The climate in France depends on the region. Some regions are cold and rainy during wintertime, therefore most couples get married in summer. Southern France is located on the Mediterranean Sea, so the climate is a lot different. The summer can be very hot, while winters are mild. Here you are able to celebrate a fall wedding without chilly temperatures. So the perfect time to get married in France depends mostly on the region.  Most countries, like here in Germany, the wedding season starts with late spring and ends in fall. With a destination wedding, you will be able to get married in winter, without freezing temperatures – unless you want them.


How many guests should I invite and what about the budget?

It’s always a good to first get an idea of how your potential guests feel about a destination wedding in France and not present them with a fait accompli. After you get a feel for who would make the trip to be part of your wedding, and would be willing to face the costs, you can start planning with this number of guests. In general we advise to limit the number of guests you invite to France and include only your closest family members and friends. With those people you can be sure that they will make anything possible to be part of your big day. Of course nobody wants to miss their best friend’s or child’s wedding. And if you plan far enough in advance, you will still be able to get a hold of those really affordable flights to Paris or Marseille.

What you need now is the budget for your destination wedding in France. A lot of people immediately think that a wedding abroad is extremely expensive. If you plan skillfully and concentrate on the aspects most important to yourself, then prices do not actually differ that much. But of course, the final costs depend on many different factors like number of guests, venue etc.

What are the legal requirements for a civil wedding in France?

After you and your partner decided that you want to get married in France, it’s time to focus on the legal requirements! There are so many things to think of – the documents, the fees, the ceremony…

Getting legally married in France is only possible through a civil ceremony which takes place at the council offices (mairie). To get married legally in France you need to follow specific legal requirements.

To apply for a legal marriage in France you need to provide the following documents:

  • Proof of residency in France for at least 30 days prior to the application, for at least one of the parties*
  • A valid passport for both parties
  • Original birth certificate for both parties
  • Certificate of celibacy, stating that you’re not already married
  • Affidavit of law, stating that you’re free to marry and your marriage will be recognized in your home country
  • Prenuptial agreement, with a notary’s certificate, if you plan to have one
  • Divorce decree, if you were married previously and divorced

*Because of the residency restrictions and other legal requirements involved in getting legally married in France, most foreign couples choose to have a legal wedding in their own country and only have a religious or symbolic wedding in France.

Civil ceremonies performed in France are internationally recognized and legally binding.

TIPP: If you marry a French citizen in France and plan to stay and live there, apply for the ‘long stay visitor’ visa. After the marriage, the local municipality will change your visa into a residency card for spouses of French citizens.


Foreign citizens that wish to get married in France can find additional information on legal requirements on the following embassy websites:


How to apply for a marriage in France

First you need to contact the mairie of the town where you’ll like to get married for full details on the marriage application process. In general, the marriage application must be made and received by the local mairie at least 10 days before the wedding date. Original foreign documents may need to be translated into French and be authenticated with an Apostille stamp.
The civil ceremony must take place at the mairie no less than 10 days and no more than one year after you get authorization to marry.
After your wedding, you’ll be issued a Livret de Famille (official book) that will have your marriage recorded in it. To receive your official marriage certificate you would need to apply to the mairie where your ceremony took place.


How much does it cost to get married in France?

The fee to apply for a marriage application for your civil service in France is around 100 EUR. Since you need to provide all the documents translated to French and authenticated with an Apostille stamp you should expect to pay another 40 EUR per document that needs to be translated.


Are same sex marriage in France allowed?

Same-sex marriage was legalized in France in 2013, and the procedures and ceremonies are nearly identical to those for a heterosexual marriage. Both are called a marriage (mariage).


Can US citizens get married in France?

The short answer would be YES. Under certain circumstances, US citizens can get married in France. But a civil wedding is only possible, if at least one party is a french citizen. The religious or symbolic ceremony is possible for foreign citizens.


Can UK citizens get married in France?

The short answer would be YES. Under certain circumstances, UK citizens can get married in France. But there are restrictions for civil weddings, so you rather choose a religious or symbolic ceremony.


Do you dream of a destination wedding? It’s time to treat yourself with a wedding planner and designer. As an international wedding design studio, working in France, Portugal, Italy and more, we know what to consider when planning a wedding.

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