Guest Author - Lisa Shea
A romantic wedding in France... the stuff that dreams are made of! If you are planning on getting married in France, there are several legal hoops to jump through. The key to success, as always, is good research and preparation.
Always check with your embassy well in advance for up-to-date requirements. Many embassies recommend that you arrange your French wedding through a professional agency, but here are some guidelines if you choose to do-it-yourself.
The following documents will be required:
- Birth certificates
- Proof of domicile (utility bills, etc.)
- Evidence of termination of all previous marriages – original or certified copies of final divorce decrees, annulment decrees or death certificates
- Certificates of marital status/celibacy (provided by the embassy in France)
- Affidavit of law
- Medical certificate
Affidavit of Law - Notarized statement, by an attorney licensed to practice in both France and the home country, certifying that the parties are free to contract marriage and that the marriage will be recognized in the country of residence.
Medical Certificates - Issued less than two months prior to the date of the marriage by a doctor in France or by a doctor approved by your local French Embassy or Consulate.
All civil documents must be originals endorsed with an Apostille Stamp.
All documents issued in a foreign language must be accompanied by official translations verified by the French Consulate.
Residence Requirements and Publications of Banns
At least one of the parties must have resided in the town in which the wedding is to take place for 30 days. Following these 30 days of residence, the couple must post the marriage banns at the city hall for 10 days before the wedding. Therefore, 40 days is the minimum period of residence before a civil ceremony can take place. This residency requirement cannot be waived.
Check with the local city hall (mairie) for details. Some may require that the documents be presented 10 days or more before the publication of the banns.
Only civil weddings are legally recognized. A religious ceremony may only be performed after a civil ceremony. Marriages are performed at the city hall in the town in which at least one of the parties has met the residency requirement.
For further information, please contact:
Mairie de Paris
Hôtel de Ville
29, Rue de Rivoli
Phone: 01 42 76 40 40
For contact information for mairies throughout France, please see:
- Association des Mairies de Grandes Villes de France (big cities)
- Association des Mairies de France