CHATEAU DE CHERONNE – Your destination wedding in France

How to legally get married in France ?

Planning a wedding in France and wondering how to legally get married in France? All the administrative tips and paperwork you need to make it happen !

Couple getting married in France, after getting out of castle Cheronne stone stair case
Couple getting legally married in France

What are couples usually doing ?

As this is quite complex to legally get married in France, couples are usually choosing the most commun & practical solution so as to handle the paperwork for their wedding in France:

  1. get legally married in their native country with only a small formal party,
  2. plan and enjoy their destination wedding with style in France with no further concerns regarding the wedding paperwork.

This way you can celebrate the wedding in France with all the paperwork already taken care off. (check the next paragraph if you wish to officially get married in France anyway 

This won’t prevent you & your guests to have the feeling that your wedding is actually happening in France. In fact either you go for a religious wedding or a laic ceremony, the officiant will always give you this feeling and provide you with some wedding paperwork.

To get married legally in France

As you will see below, this is a bit more complex but if you follow the few pre-wedding preparation steps described below, doable 

Option A: You are French residents

Great ! In that case the civil ceremony should happen in the local town hall where you are planning to get married in France. If for instance you parents are living in France, they should be able to get the authorization for you without any problem.

  • contact the local town hall in the city where you are planning to get married, ideally the city where your parents or yourself have a residence in France
  • fill in the following paperwork (in french sorry  )

During this process you will have to provide all the required paperworks, prove that you are are both free to wed, perform an interview and publish the bans. This formality publicly shares your intent to officially get married together. Consider 4 to 5 weeks.

Option B: you are both foreigners

Two foreigners can get married in France just as two French nationals can get married there. There are, however, a few additional administrative considerations to think about before the wedding ceremony can take place, namely proofs of residency and the translation of any documents written in a language other than French. However, in order to have the legally binding civil ceremony in France, the couple must have resided there for 30 days. To do so, you’ll need:

  • ID (passport);
  • birth certificate – this must be less than three months old if issued in France, less than six months old if issued elsewhere, and if from abroad, it may need to be ‘legalized’ so it’s recognized in France, for example, the affixation of an Apostille stamp:
  • proof of address (rental agreement, recent bills);
  • proof of nationality;
  • proof of civil status – typically, you will request a Certificat de Capacité Matrimoniale from your embassy, but expect to provide a divorce or death certificate too, if you have been married previously;
  • notary’s certificate (only required with a prenuptual agreement);
  • family record book (livret de famille) (typically only if you already have a child born in France);
  • information about you two – four witnesses.
  • require a Certificat de Coutume from your embassy. This ensures that your marriage will be equally valid in France and in your home country.

A notarized translation is typically required for any documents not in French. Foreign documents may have to be authorized with an Apostille stamp or equivalent, also known as ‘Apostillisation’ or ‘legalization’. The issuing authority stamps a document with an unique ID, indicating that it is a true and accurate copy to be recognized internationally.