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France Marriage Legislation for Foreigners

Legal Requirements for getting married in France

French law states that you or your partner must be a resident of France for at least 40 days prior to the marriage (This includes 30 days of waiting time and 10 days for the posting of the "banns" Check with city hall for any other local requirements), and the wedding must take place in the commune of residence.

You will be required to show proof of residency (such as an electric bill, a receipt of rent paid, etc.) when applying for a marriage license.

Because of this law, most people who have their heart set on a wedding in France (but not planning on moving to France) choose to have a vow renewal ceremony instead. The couple may have a small private ceremony before a judge in their hometown, and then travel to France with their wedding party and guests for another ceremony. Most of the time, the bride and groom are the only people who know that the ceremony is a vow renewal and not the real deal. This way, you can still have your dream wedding in France, but you can also avoid the residency requirements and the extensive amount of paperwork, rules, and regulations.

Our advice would be to complete all the legal requirements in your country, bring those documents with you when you come to France (France recognizes legal marriages from any country) and then hold your marriage blessing in a church or romantic private venue.

For more information please refer to your home country’s embassy/consulate website in France.

Non-French residents wishing to marry in France have three options available

Civil Ceremony in France

All marriages must be performed by a French civil authority before any religious ceremony takes place. A couple can have a legal Civil Wedding Ceremony held at the City Hall (the “Mairie”). A French civil authority (mayor, adjoint or conseiller municipal) performs the civil ceremony in the town in which one of the parties to be married has resided for at least 40 days immediately preceding the marriage. These requirements cannot be waived.

The French legal system requires that civil marriages take place in a French "mairie". Therefore, marriages cannot be performed within an Embassy or within a Consulate in France.

Note: The Civil Ceremony can be held either in France or in the couple’s home country.

Religious Ceremony

Religious ceremonies are not legally recognized in France. A religious ceremony can only be performed after a couple has been legally married through a Civil Ceremony. If you opt for a religious ceremony, the official performing it will ask to see your Certificate of Civil Marriage to prove you’ve had a civil ceremony, so don’t forget to bring it with you.

Symbolic Ceremony / Wedding Blessing

This is a symbolic ceremony in which a couple will exchange their vows; the ceremony, although not legally recognised, is still a highly symbolic demonstration of a couples love for one another.

Blessing/Symbolic/Humanist wedding ceremonies are the most popular choice for destination weddings in France.

For more information on marriage in France and the legal requirements :

Deux étrangers vivant à l'étranger peuvent-ils se marier en France ?. (Vérifié le 08 juin 2017).
Service-Public, le site officiel de l’administration française. [En ligne]
(consulté le 10 décembre 2017)

French weddings : A guide to getting married in France. EXPATICA LIVE. WORK. LOVE. [En ligne]
(consulté le 10 décembre 2017)

The legal implications of getting married in France
(By Sarah Bright Thomas | French Entrée Contributor | Law).
French Entrée: First for buying property & living in France. [En ligne]
(consulté le 10 décembre 2017)

Marriage Requirements: How to Get Married in France. Angloinfo France. [En ligne]
(consulté le 16 décembre 2017)