How to get married in France

7th October 2011

Beautiful settings, good weather, fabulous food, succulent wines, late parties and a little “je ne sais quoi”…

These are all good reasons for chosing to get married in France ! But there is the admin side… below are the rules of getting married on the other side of the channel :

For a religious wedding : A city hall marriage before the religious ceremony

In France you must get married at the city hall before going to Church. Weddings at Church are not recognised by the state, and Churches do not have the right to marry you unless you show that you have been legally married at the city hall. There is absolutely no way around this.

To get married in a city hall in France, you need to be able to prove that you have been living in the city you want to get married in for at least 40 days (at least 30 days before you hand out your marriage request to the city hall + 10 days for the publication of the bans). If you do not mind having a long holiday in France before your wedding, then you can get married the French way : 1st at the city hall and then at Church (it does not have to be on the same day).

If you do not have that many days off though, the best option is probably for you to get married in the UK in a city hall, to get the documents translated (you can contact the French consulate in the UK to receive a pack explaining it all) so that you can show them to your wedding Parish in France. You will then be entitled to a religious ceremony in France.

For a non religious ceremony

A non religious ceremony can be celebrated anytime and anywhere, just as in the UK.