Getting married in one of the most romantic cities in the world is something quite a few people dream about – even just taking a weekend break to spend some time together, and even get engaged, is on the bucket lists of most travelers out there. But if you want to go the next step, and say your vows to each other surrounded by all things French, you need to understand the implications of that decision. And like all things involving the government, it can be complicated! My recommendation for you is to get engaged in Paris, have your bachelorette (or hen) party in Paris, honeymoon in Paris, repeat your vows in Paris, BUT skip the drama of the actual ceremony!
Legal requirements of getting married in France
French couples typically have two ceremonies: a legal one and a religious one. They can “skip” the church ceremony, but they MUST be married at the local mairie (town hall). The same applies to non-French couples as well. And it is not just that, there are requirements that one partner lives in France for at least 30 days. That's because you have to legally announce your intention to marry by posting what is called the banns and you need to have other documentation (things like birth certificates, divorce decrees from a prior marriage) translated into French. All of this takes time and money. You need to contact the mairie of the arrondissement where you want to get married to get the marriage application process going. The marriage application must be completed and received at least 10 days before the wedding date. If your marriage application is accepted, your ceremony must take place at the mairie no less than 10 days and no more than one year after you get approval.
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French wedding traditions
Ceremonies are a little different in France, and there’s a ritual surrounding the groom walking his mother down the aisle before the bride comes down themselves (ah the French and their complicated relationship with their mothers!). There are no bridesmaids or groomsmen, only witnesses. From a food perspective, there is the croquembouche on the table during the reception/party. It is a great way to include a touch of Parisian tradition into your big day! (And you can be sure it’ll be one of the most scrumptious cakes you’ll have ever eaten in your life.) You can also have a champagne tower which is a pyramid of flutes with flowing champagne. and lastly, you can serve French onion soup – the classic dish helps guests recover from a long day or night of celebrating! You can add any or all of these elements to an engagement party, bachelorette party, honeymoon, vow renewal ceremony and have a touch of French woven into the celebration.
Celebrating à la français
There are many French flourishes that you can add for a vow renewal, engagement party or honeymoon. For decorations, you can turn to the colors of the French flag: blue, white, and red. You can incorporate all of these into your parties and events and photos, in both bright and bold or cool and pastel tones. In terms of fashion and style, try to keep things simple, if you are thinking of wearing French, it helps to know your brands and statement pieces!
By the way, many of the most iconic venues are not open to ceremonies, although they are great spots for wedding photos. Hire a local photographer to go out and capture some really awesome Parisian scenery. Getting engaged, doing a bachelorette party or honeymoon in Paris would be very memorable and should be celebrated with souvenirs. Take a look through some prospective bridesmaid robes to get you started; a few ideas will get you started in the whole planning process!
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Getting married in Paris is a very big deal; it’s a big dream for a lot of people, but it's complicated. Instead, why not use Paris as a background to celebrate your engagement, share in your excitement with your best friends, or enjoy the tying of the knot by honeymooning in the city of light. Whatever you decide, make sure you do a bit more research about the requirements to get married in Paris, check out some style tips and whatever you decide, make it fun!
How about you? Have you considered getting married in Paris? Do you know someone who was married or engaged in Paris? Do tell!
I am married to a French man, lived in France for 3 years, and have been to Paris more than 50 times. I am always a tourist so the information, tip, and tricks I share are created to help you!
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- Look for fares using sites like Skyscanner or Expedia.com.
- For France (Paris) coming from the West Coast, I typically fly Air France or United. From the East Coast, I typically fly Air France or Delta.
- If you travel frequently, consider investing in a Priority Pass for airport lounge access. Not only will you have a spot to relax before your flight and charge your devices, but you can eat and drink for free (without paying crazy airport prices!)
- I use Expedia.com, Booking.com, and Hotels.com to find lodging. Always check the reviews on TripAdvisor before booking!
- For rental car agencies, try Rentalcars.com. When traveling in Europe, I use AutoEurope to make reservations. They find the best rates and allow you to compare different car rental agencies. I typically book with Sixt.
- For transportation from the CDG airport to anywhere within Paris, consider pre-booking with Get Transfer. It is one way to be stress-free and you can request an English-speaking driver.
- Tours + Atractions
- I book tours with companies like Viator and GetYourGuide. Both have a wide variety of activities for every travel style. Other companies to look at include Tours by Locals and Withlocals.
- If you’re visiting a city with multiple attractions, be sure to check out a discount pass, such as CityPASS or Go City.
- Context Travel is another option and they offer more educational-based activities.
- If you are looking to buy tickets to attractions, check out Tiquet.
- Don't Forget Travel Photos
- One of my favorite things to do is to get photos taken of me while on vacation. Flytographer is a great option with photographers all over the world.
- Peace of Mind
- It’s important to have some type of travel insurance to cover any unforeseen accidents, illnesses, threats, or cancellations. I always travel with insurance and would recommend SafetyWing, SquareMouth or Travelex Insurance are good options.
- Should you have any trouble with flight delays to the extent you feel you deserve compensation, I encourage you to check out and use AirHelp. I used them and for 1 claim I got compensated (transparency: a 2nd claim did not, but I was still glad I tried!).