Jeff Steiner's Americans in France.
Resource for people that would like to live or travel in France.



Daily Life



Moving Planner


Q & A

Reading List

Travel Planner


Expat Store

Driver's License



Disposal Units


Learn French

Tax Services


CultureMarriage in France

Getting married in France is not an easy thing to do. A Las Vegas type of wedding, where you just show up, is not possible. For a couple to get married in France, one person MUST satisfy the forty-day residence requirement. There is no way around this rule. Also, the marriage needs to be announced ten days before it is to take place, usually by an ad in a local newspaper or by a public bulletin posted in the town or village where the wedding is to take place.

Required Documents
U.S. passport or a French residence permit (carte de sejour)
Certified copy of birth certificate (extrait d'acte de naissance)
Affidavit of marital status or certificate of celibacy (declaration en vue de mariage)
Affidavit of law (certificat de coutume)
Medical certificate (certificat medical prenuptial)

Civil Ceremony
In France there is first a civil ceremony that takes place at the local Marie (Town Hall). If the couple is also having a religious ceremony, the civil ceremony acts as a private family wedding. The mayor of the town where the wedding is taking place usually performs the civil ceremony. Once the civil ceremony is complete, the couple will receive a livret de famille, the French marriage certificate. This is an official document and, should the couple have children, each child's birth will be recorded in the livret de famille. There is no cost to get married civilly in France.

Religious Ceremony
If the couple chooses to have a religious ceremony, it will take place after the civil ceremony and acts as kind of public wedding. The religious ceremony MUST take place after the civil one. Whomever performs the religious ceremony will be required to see the couple's livret de famille - as proof of a civil ceremony, before the religious ceremony can take place.

Both ceremonies will take place on the same day, one right after the other. After the religious ceremony there will be a vin d'honneur, this acts as a public reception. Then there will be a private family dinner and celebration.
The idea behind having two ceremonies is that the civil one acts as a declaration before man, and the religious one, a declaration before God of the couple's love.

Consulting and Organizing French Weddings

Sign-up for the FREE Americans in France newsletter!





Search Site