Getting married in France

UK residents wishing to marry in France have three options available.

Civil Ceremony

A couple can have a legal Civil Wedding Ceremony held at the City Hall also known as the "Mairie".

Religious Ceremony

A religious ceremony can only be preformed after a couple have been legally married through a Civil Ceremony. Upon which they should be able to present the minister with a Certificate of Civil Marriage. The Civil Ceremony can be held either in France or in the couple’s home country.

Exchange of Vows/ Blessing

This is a ceremony in which a couple will exchange their vows. The ceremony although not legally recognised and is without any religious connotations if performed by a humanist is still a highly symbolic demonstration of a couples love for one another. If however you require any religious pieces included, or would just like a completely bespoke ceremony then an independent celebrant is your answer. Most couples choose the third option, to complete all the legal requirements in the UK and then hold their reception / marriage blessing in a romantic private venue.

Mulberry Days can write your bespoke ceremony for you, after you have decided how you would like your ceremony to be, and then travel to France and conduct your ceremony anywhere. Allowing you to hire a château for the week or go to a local beach or beauty spot, or a friends house, anywhere that is suitable for you. My charges for this service will obviously vary, but your ceremony will be charged for at the same rate as if in England, but I would need travel (flight, ferry or train) and accommodation. There are also lots of other types of venues advertised on the internet for hire. If you do decide however to legally marry in France here is the following advice, and as before it is only advice, please do check with the embassy to make sure things haven’t changed.

Basic Documentation

There is a great deal of paperwork to be organised if you still intend to marry in France, as most Mairies will require these basic documents:

Residency Stay

One of the parties wishing to be married must have been resident for more than 40 days prior to the wedding. Evidence of residency must be shown for example through a utility bill or a rent payment.

This period of 40 days is the absolute minimum required and is comprised of 30 days residency followed by a futher 10 days for the marriage banns to have been posted. The banns can't be posted until the 30 day period is over.

Marriage Certificate

Once you have obtained your Marriage Certificate you will need to have it translated into English. Visit your nearest British Embassy and have the certificate translated. Whilst you are there you can request the certificate then be forwarded by the British Consular to the General Register Office in the UK where it can be deposited.