Friday, February 19, 2010

How about getting married in France??

I have just received rather an unusual request!  Nothing to do with property - but getting married in France!

I had to do a little research to find out some information for my client, so I thought I would share it with you incase anyone else is equally romantic!!   Thanks to Kay who has provided first hand advice, shared her experiance and knowledge......

"I got married over here and it is a bit long winded but worth it. But additional documents are required depending on where you come from so always worth checking with your embassy first."

The residency requirement for getting married in France is 40 days.

Publication of the Marriage Banns. According to French law one of you must reside in France for 30 days before an application for marriage can be made. The marriage application, otherwise known as the marriage banns must then be posted at the appropriate Mairie (town hall) no less than 10 days prior to your wedding.

Special Note about Residency Requirements:   Although it is said that the 40 day residency requirement cannot be waivered, if you or your family has property in France the residency requirement is not always strictly followed. However, it is very important to stress that this will be at the discretion of the Mayor at the Mairie (town hall) where you intend to get married. Therefore, I would strongly suggest that you contact the Mayor first to discuss the options available to you.

If you would like to get married in this beautiful country but cannot meet the residency requirements I would not let this get in your way of having your wedding in France.

My husband and I “secretly” got married in the United Kingdom prior to our wedding in France and had a Humanist wedding ceremony on our wedding day in France. Our civil ceremony in the United Kingdom was purely to take care of the legalities and our wedding day in France is when we considered ourselves married. Our guests were not aware that our civil ceremony had taken place and our very personalised wedding ceremony in France is when we and our guests felt that we became husband and wife.

Required Documentation:   All documentation must be original and endorsed with an Apostille Stamp. Any documentation that is not in French must be accompanied by official translations translated by an agency verified by the French Consulate.

A Valid Passport

Long Form Birth Certificate. This must be fully translated into French by a Sworn translator and must be issued within 3 months of your marriage date.

Certificat de Celibat. This is a certificate to state that you are not already married. This certificate does not exist under British law so you need to obtain an official attestation from the consulate to say so.

Certificat de Coutume. This is an Affidavit of Law which is a notarised statement by an attorney who is licensed to practice in both France and your home country. The Certificate de Coutume certifes that you are both free to marry and your marriage will be recognised in your country of residence.

For most countries your consulate in France will be able to help with issuing these documents. If you are a British citizen I would suggest contacting the Foreign Commonwealth Office for further details.

Medical Certificate. Blood tests and a medical examination must be undertaken by a French doctor or by a doctor who is approved by your local French Embassy or Consulate. Your marriage application cannot be published until you have submitted your medical certificates to your local Mairie.

Justificatifs de Domicile - Proof of Domicile. You need to show proof of residence. This can take the form of 2 documents such as gas and electricity bills.

Certificat du Notaire - Prenupital agreement. If you are planning to have a prenuptial agreement this must be presented to the Mairie.

Marriage Certificate. If get married in France you will receive a “livret de famille" which is an official document that is used for all events relating to your “new” family, such as births, deaths, divorce or name changes.

If you would like to obtain further copies of your marriage certificate you will need to write to the Mairie where the marriage took place, stating the following details:

The date and place of your marriage

Your full names (including maiden name).

Religious Ceremonies

In France only a civil ceremony is legally binding. If you wish to have a religious ceremony you must first have a civil ceremony. The civil ceremony can take place in France or in your country of residence.

French Wedding Etiquette:

Two Ceremonies. Marrying couples in France are required to have a civil ceremony at City Hall. This generally occurs the morning of the wedding day and is very short. A longer religious ceremony, usually in a church even if the bride and groom do not regularly attend, follows the civil ceremony. All guests are invited to the church ceremony, but unless you are immediate family or an extremely close friend, don't expect an invitation to the civil ceremony.

Vin d'Honneur or Cocktail Party. After the religious ceremony, all guests are invited to a vin d'honneur, a light reception with drinks and finger foods. You can almost be guaranteed a glass of champagne. This casual cocktail party of sorts will last a couple of hours as the newly married couple mingles with guests.

Dinner and Dancing. The luncheon or dinner following the vin d'honneur is the main event. For a minimum of six hours, guests sit back and enjoy multiple courses of food and drinks. During this time, guests provide entertainment arranged by family and friends. The bride and groom are sometimes surprised with readings of poems, games, serenades and other festivities.

Dancing begins later in the evening, often not until 10 p.m., and continues into the wee hours. You will probably be provided with coffee and refreshments somewhere around midnight. This is hardly the end of the event, though, as French weddings can last well into the next morning and beyond in many cases.

Invitations. One thing to remember when receiving an invitation to a wedding in France is that you might not be invited to attend the entire event. It is very common for brides and grooms to invite guests only to certain parts of the day. How much of the event you're invited to depends on how well you know the couple.

If you receive an invitation, you will almost certainly be invited to the church ceremony and vin d'honneur after-party. If you know them more than as acquaintances but are not necessarily close, you might also be invited to join dessert and maybe dancing later that night. Only very close friends and family members attend all events of the day and stay the entire time.

Attire:  Grooms in France don't typically wear formal tuxedos on their big day, but instead opt for a simple suit. If you walk in more dressed up than the groom, it will be considered strange and probably even rude. Remember that these weddings last all day and into the night. If you've been invited to join them for every event, be sure to dress comfortably and appropriately.

A couple of intertesting links:

1 comment:

  1. This is an interesting post. I will let my friends know if they want to get married in FRANCE..(smile)

    Julie xx