If you are getting married and own a property in France, chances are that you are considering to hold the party in your French home. Here are a few tips on what is possible in France and the challenges that you might have to face.
A WEDDING CEREMONY IN FRANCE
If you own a property in France and spend a good amount of time there, you might qualify for a town hall marriage in France. You then need to prove your address with the usual electricity bills or bank statements. Of course, you should be living there, although the town hall is not going to pop by your house to make sure that you are in so… Some city halls also are less fussy than others and will accept to marry a couple whose parents own a house in the area, knowing that you and they do not live there permanently.
If you are willing to have a religious ceremony in France, you would need to prove your legal marriage (town hall) at the latest as you arrive at Church for the wedding (for example you can get married at the town hall and go straight to the Church, and hand out your marriage certificate to the Priest then). If you are Church or England and there is no Protestant Church in the area, your Pasteur can ask the Catholic Parish to borrow their Church. He can then celebrate the Church of England marriage in the local Catholic Church.
ORGANISING A MARQUEE ON YOUR FRENCH HOME GROUNDS
Sourcing a wedding marquee in France is not an issue at all. There is actually a very broad range of marquees to choose from, from the traditional clearspan marquee to bamboo marquees that you can set up as open or as closed as you wish depending on the temperatures (great in the south of France!). In France, as opposed to the UK, all marquees would have hard flooring and having a carpet sitting directly on the grass would not really be an option.
SOURCING A BAND
There are lots of great bands in France who are used to play at international events. In fact there are some French bands who are very well known in the UK and who regularly travel for foreign clients. Also, the same way as there are quite a few British people living in France, there are a few English bands over there too, so if you prefer to go for a British band you can find that too without having to arrange any travel!
ORDERING YOUR WEDDING CAKE
More and more caterers offer wedding cakes, but it is still not something you can find everywhere. There are a few wedding cake companies in France though, most of them being in the big cities and near the places attracting to US or UK couples such as Bordeaux, Toulouse, Cannes, Paris,…
This is probably one of the trickiest to source as styles and standards are not always the same in France and in the UK. To source the right hair stylist and make up artist you might have to look outside of the usual wedding suppliers and rely on word of mouth.
COORDINATING IT ALL
That is the frustrating part if you do not speak the language. In order to make sure that all your suppliers understand exactly what you are after it is going to be very helpful to have someone who can double check things in French with your suppliers as most of them would only have a basic conversational English. If you are a bit worried do not hesitate to contact a planner who will step in a few weeks before the wedding and tie it all up with your suppliers. She will also be there on the day to make sure everything runs smoothly.