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The Legal Side of Saying "I Do" In France

Welcome, lovebirds! If you've ever dreamt of exchanging vows amidst the picturesque landscapes and romantic allure of France, you're not alone. In this blog, we'll delve into the legal intricacies of saying "I do" in France, offering invaluable advice to non-French citizens seeking to make their union official.

France has its own set of rules when it comes to tying the knot. Here are the key legal requirements:

Eligibility Criteria:

Before popping the champagne, ensure you meet the basic eligibility criteria. Both parties must be at least 18 years old, and neither should be currently married.

Required Documentation:

Gather the necessary paperwork, including valid passports, birth certificates, and a certificate of celibacy. Non-French documents may need to be translated into French by an authorised translator.

Residency Requirements:

While France does not require residency for marriage, the process may be smoother if you establish residency for at least 30 days before the ceremony. Couples getting married (or their parents) are expected to have been living in the town for at least 30 days before the civil ceremony application has been submitted to the local town hall. You will meet this condition if you can provide a proof of address (local council tax, electricity bill etc.) and proof of either you or your partner, or your parents have been in the country for the past 30 days or moreThe Civil Ceremony

In France, a legal wedding is a civil ceremony conducted by the local mayor. Here's what you need to know:

Location Matters:

The ceremony must take place at your local city hall (mairie). However, once the legalities are over, you're free to host a symbolic ceremony at the venue of your dreams.

The Mairie Experience:

Expect a bit of bureaucracy as you navigate the administrative requirements. A local interpreter may be necessary if you're not fluent in French.


Plan ahead! The marriage banns (announcement of your intention to marry) must be posted 10 days before the ceremony, allowing time for any objections.

Advice for a Smooth Journey

Now that you're acquainted with the legal essentials, let's sprinkle some advice to ensure your French wedding is as seamless as possible:

Engage a Local Wedding Planner:

Navigating the legalities can be complex, so having a local wedding planner on board is a wise move. They can guide you through the process, recommend reliable vendors, and help you with the necessary paperwork.

Translation Services:

Ensure all documents are correctly translated into French by an authorised translator. This step will save you from potential hiccups during the ceremony.

Plan Well in Advance:

French weddings are known for their charm, but they also demand meticulous planning. Start the process well in advance to avoid last-minute stress.

We hope this was useful if you are considering having your legal ceremony in France!

Love The Wilder Weddings team


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