How to Get Married in France

elopements in france

Today we take you all the way to Europe to look at what getting married in France looks like for those of you considering a destination wedding or elopement in this oh-so romantic country.  To get the 411, we chatted with French wedding planner and officiant who is an expert at all things saying “I do” in the country, Pierre-Henri Therond of Love Gracefully.  We asked him how to wed, how to elope, and how to infuse the romance of the country into your big day and here’s what he had to say.

JF: What does it take to legally get married in France?

PT: France is a secular country, so no religious minister can legally marry you. The only person who can legally marry a couple in France is a French state official. He or she is always the mayor of the city in which you live in. So, if you don’t live in France, you can get married in France but you’ll need to prove residency for 40 days in a row in the city in which you want to get married. All the paper work has to be done in French, so you’ll need a bilingual lawyer to help you go thru the process. And patience…

getting married in paris

JF: What are some great alternatives to legally tying the knot there?

PT: Since it’s a real pain to go thru the entire legal process, all foreign couples get legally married in their own country and, then, come to France to celebrate a symbolic ceremony! A symbolic non-legal ceremony can be done in a church by an American priest such as the American Church in Paris but what most couples prefer is to tie the knot outdoors, amongst the free exquisite romantic locations that Paris has to offer, with a secular celebrant. The idea here is to celebrate a real personalized ceremony that matches the couple’s values and beliefs mixed with the French romanticism. The ice on the cake being the French accent of the celebrant…

destination elopements

JF: What are your favorite spots for a destination wedding in Paris or across France?

PT: In Paris, the 2 most popular spots are the garden of the Eiffel Tower and the garden of Notre-Dame’s Cathedral. I enjoy them both very much but there are other locations such the garden of the Luxembourg garden that has tons of flowers all over or the garden of the Rodin Museum that would be my favorite for it’s gorgeous sculptures. Outside of Paris, the French Riviera will always be my favorite spot. The landscape and the sea, the villas and the sunlight produce magic. There, I celebrate a lot of ceremonies in the city of Nice, on a hill overviewing the entire bay and city; a dream view for a magic kiss…

eloping in paris

JF: What are some creative ideas you’ve executed to make a destination wedding feel infused with the local culture?

PT: French are known to be romantic. I can’t explain why it’s like that but romanticism will be all over my writing…And since I write only personalized ceremonies, I always create a new text specially made for that particular couple and, therefore, am naturally creative with my writing. So, my text will be full of French quotes, using a rhythm and a poetry that triggers love in the heart of people. Also, with my French accent, you know you are in France. I don’t know why but it has a deep impact for the people who hear it, a bit like their heart melts…

getting married in france

JF: Favorite places to stay in Paris for the honeymoon or night of the wedding?

PT: Nothing looks more like a hotel than another hotel, so my recommendation is to choose and hotel that convey that uniqueness you are looking for. Literally in front of the Eiffel Tower, the Shangri-Là Hotel would be my favorite; imagine being in bed with the Eiffel Tower at your window…If you have less of a budget, the Terrass Hotel is on top of Montmartre, the only mountain in Paris, so they have suites that overlook the entire city. And if you prefer being the heart of old Paris, in a very homey environment, the hotel Pavillon de la Reine is a must, in front of the gorgeous Place des Vosges to feel like a queen…

how to get married in france

Thanks so much to Pierre-Henri Therond of Love Gracefully for sharing his insights, information and fave places to wed and stay in Paris and beyond!  For more information about elopements, officiating ceremonies or destination wedding planning in France, be sure to check out his site here.

Photo Credits: Ceremony with Couple Laughing: Maria Cabrelli, All Other Images: Jacques Mateos

Share

A Formal Destination Wedding in Naples, Italy

naples italy destination wedding

Alessandra and Luigi selected Monte Di Procida, Italy in the Naples region to touchdown for their destination wedding. A place near and dear to their hearts, this is the small town where they had family from and where they actually met during one of their summer visits from the US. To bring this fantasy wedding into reality, the couple enlisted destination wedding planner, Art of Perfection Events and Maryla Colandrea shared with us the details of this very special big day.

“About twenty minutes from the bustling city of Naples, Italy is a town called Monte di Procida, an exclusive seaside village, on a bolstering hilltop, with 360 degree views of the Bay of Naples and Surrounding Islands. It is a dream destination and this Italian-American couple who met there years ago knew exactly where they wanted to celebrate their nuptials, in the same “Piazza,” towns-square where it all began.”

pink destination weddings

“Alessandra and Luigi wanted guests to indulge in Italy like an Italian.  From yachting to the famous Islands to candlelit dinners overlooking Mount Vesuvius every part of this wedding week was exciting. Cooking classes, Morning espresso and a cornetto in Piazza and Amalfi Coast Villa rentals were just a few of the ways guests toured the Italian life-style.”

destination wedding hairdestination wedding dresschurches in naples weddingdestination wedding locationsChurch wedding italydestination weddingschurch program weddingchurch weddingsdestination wedding churches church wedding

Sohal Beach Club is like a blank white canvas. It is a lovely location on the water overlooking the islands of Ischia and Procida. However, our team of event designers and producers recreated the space to design Alessandra and Luigi’s “Dream” theme that created the whole setting for this lush wedding.”

formal weddingswedding signs

“As for the wedding theme, Il Sogno: “The Dream,” was the ongoing thread that kept guest anticipating the wedding day. We romanticized the simple all white outdoor location with lush fabrics, grand carpets and soft tones of blushes and creams for the flowers. But most of all it came to life when people first walked in. The sun gleaming on an angel in the distance swinging in the summer air, just as Luigi told us of his dream when he first met Alessandra. Guests were drawn to the plexy-glass frames telling Luigi’s love-story while guiding them to their first stop the “Photobooth” where all guests were asked to pose for their glamour shot.”

coastal italy weddingsshabby chic weddingsoceanfront weddingsgroom suitpink and white wedding

“Then, to signature cocktails, where they found a massive floral tree that sparkled with Swarovski crystals and personalized dream catchers to help guests find their seat.”

Dream Treecoastal italy weddingwedding place cardspink and white weddingsfantasy destination weddingpink destination weddingchampagne weddingdestination wedding dresses

“As the dreamy “day” became “night” the Dream wedding went Fantasyland with splashes of Gold, Black, White and Silver to transport guests once again to a place of decadence and imagination.”

weddings destinationformal destination weddingformal destination weddingstent weddingsformal wedding reception

“For the Italian music lovers, two famous Italian Singers, Dodi Battaglia and Riccardo Fogli of the legendary group “I Pooh,” stopped by to sing “Alessandra,” a song dedicated to the bride by her father.”

pooh bandwedding gamescustom wedding pillowsunique wedding entertainmentdestination weddinggrooms soccer cake

“Lit butterfly ballerinas on stilts, a human after-dinner drink table, sparklers, mouthwatering Italian desserts and glittering fireworks ended the night for guests who left wondering if it was all real… or just an “ Italian Dream!”

wedding entertainment italywedding fireworksFireworks at weddingsdestination wedding cake

Congratulations to the newlyweds!

Destination Wedding Photographer: Francesco De Tito

Wedding Vendors: Church: Maria Assunta in Cielo, Monte Di Procida, Reception Venue: Sohal Beach Club, Naples Italy, Bride’s Gown: Pnina Tornai for Kleinfeld Bridal, Destination Guest Planner + Wedding Designer + Guest Villa Rentals + Invitations + Swag Gifts: Art of Perfection Events, Florist: Il Massimo dei Fiori, APevents Details Photographer &  Behind the scenes Videographer: Gennaro Cimmino, Band: “I Pooh” featuring Dodi Battaglia and Riccardo Fogli, Music: Alma y Musica

Share

Sorrento, Italy Destination Wedding in Navy

Sorrento Italy destination wedding

Carla and Mike said I do in Sorrento, Italy overlooking the ocean and the island of Capri at their intimate destination wedding with oodles of fashion and fun travel details too!

We asked the couple to share their love of travel and love story with us. “We fell in love with Sorrento, Italy the moment we visited…Watching the world go by in an open air-cafe we were completely captivated by the relaxing Italian flare, vibe and the seductive mythical town of Sorrento, so therefore we couldn’t resist getting married there.”

destination wedding photographerdestination wedding dressitaly wedding photographersweddings in sorrentodestination wedding dress

“For our colour palette we decided to have champagne and navy blue. We actually got Carla’s dress, which is champagne, before we decided on going to Italy for our wedding. When we chose Sorrento We knew the dress would be perfect for the Italian style and with the old traditional golds they use for their décor. We used these colours and other items such as rustic string ties and champagne card invitations, labels etc. to fit in with our Italian/travel theme. We chose navy blue as we felt this complimented the champagne elegantly and perfectly. Also, with the blue sea and sky surrounding Sorrento and with Relais Blu having blue as their main colour, we felt navy blue went well and matched perfectly.”

destination weddings italynavy and white weddings

“Our ceremony was held in the Chiostro di San Francesco, known to anyone visiting as the ‘Cloisters’. This is an old Franciscan Chiostro in the centre of Sorrento, it is a beautiful little courtyard surrounded by elegant arches. Next to the cloisters is the church of St.Francis which dates back to the 16th Century.”

destination wedding italywedding fanswedding fan

“We absolutely loved the quiet tranquil nature of the garden we thought it was the ideal place to hold the ceremony. We added lots of rose flowers and had a beautiful harp to play throughout the ceremony, which completed the setting perfectly. Monks still use this place today and can often be seen, quietly walking through the grounds, or inviting in their latest guests.”

italy destination wedding

“Our favourite moments of the day are very hard to select but, as cliché as it may sound, nothing compared to the moment we laid eyes on one another as Carla entered the Cloisters. Mike was blown away by how stunning Carla looked in her dress and couldn’t help but shed a tear.”

italy destination weddingswedding in sorrentodestination wedding photographers

“Make sure you have photographers who have the capability to capture the day perfectly. We picked creative and unique photographers who ticked every box for us. At the end of the day this is what you look back on and we just love our photographs as they captured some amazing shots of us that we’d never dream of having. They captured everything from the funniest moment to the most emotional, they were so passionate that they captured everything! Being able to relive the day through those heart felt in-the-moment shots is amazing and something we like to do almost daily.” 

destination wedding photographyitaly wedding photographerSorrento Italy destination weddings

“Mike surprised Carla by hiring a wedding car to drive them to the reception in, an original 1960s Fiat 500 !! Trying to get into the car was hysterical, because of Carla’s very large dress, Carla had to sit in the backseat because there would be no room in the front for Mike to drive us to the reception. Then, because the car was so old, it was difficult to drive and it was amazing that Mike even got us there in one piece!! Especially with the renowned Italian drivers around us. We were giggling so much and as we hadn’t been alone together since the ceremony it was the first time we both felt we could relax and soak it all in”

wedding locations italywedding locations sorrento italy

Then it was off to the reception!  “We enjoyed drinks and canapés upon arrival on our own private terrace, then indulged in a gorgeous traditional Italian meal as we watched the sun set. After the meal and speeches we then all made our way up to the pool area to enjoy some music, dancing and drinks, whiling away the evening until our chariot arrived to return our guests to Sorrento.”

unique guest booksunique guest bookitaly wedding locations sorrentomap themed weddingdestination wedding details

For the dinner seating design? “Bespoke table plan, table names with Romeo and Juliet scripts in the background, the table names were the places we were visiting on our honeymoon.”

travel themed weddings white weddingstravel themed weddingitaly wedding cakesorrento italy wedding venues

We often ask couples what advise they would give having gone through the destination process. “Our advise to future couples is to enjoy.every.moment!!! Take some alone time to really grasp that you both have just got married so you can enjoy being excited and happy together, then you’ll feel relaxed and can really enjoy the rest of the day. This was our favourite memory just being able to be with the one you love on the most important day of your life for a few minutes so you can really savour that you’ve both just got married and you’re having the time of your lives.”

wedding location sorrento italywedding photographer in italy

Even the wedding favors were a nod to the location! “’Grazie’ on little luggage tags for the lemoncello bottles given to guests as wedding favours at reception.”  Clearly a good time was had by all and even left some of the smaller guests exhausted from so much fun!

italy destination wedding photographers

Congratulations to the newlyweds!

Destination Wedding Photographer:  Caroline + Ben Photography

Wedding Vendors: Reception Venue: Relais Blu, Ceremony: Chiostro di San Francesco, Wedding Organizer: Sylvia Schiappa, Flowers: Flowers and Confetti, Invitations: Artcadia Stationery, Calligraphy: Castadrift, Paper Goods: Nerissa Eve Weddings, Guestbook: Etsy, Fingerprint Tree: Vespa Guestbook, Wedding Dress: Ian Stuart – Antoinette, London Bride Couture, Shoes: Harriet Wilde Shoes, Groom Suit: Chester Barrie Savile Row Hopsack Suit, Bridesmaids Dresses: Ted Baker – Saphira, Personalised ‘Mr and Mrs Gray’ Wedding Cake Topper + Heart Bracelet + Cufflinks: Noton The High Street, Lace Parasols + Luggage Tags: Confetti, Honeymoon: Mr and Mrs Smith Hotels, Flower Girls: Monsoon, Car: Sergio Spider Life Style

Share

Get Married at the Beach Outside of Rome, Italy

roman coast luxury villa

When you think of a destination wedding in Rome, you probably don’t think of doing it at the beach.  But why not?!?!  With a villa with grounds as gorgeous as this, you might just rethink your destination I do at the sea!  Located about 45 minutes outside of the center of Rome, Italy, Hotel La Posta Vecchia is a historic property on the ocean, one that J. Paul Getty himself used to reside in (and some say still does).

luxury villas rome

The lovely lawns overlooking the water make for exceptional event locations for a formal (or even beachy-inspired) wedding.  The regal nature of the building seems to lend itself to a chic black tie affair, peppered between a vacation on the sand on the days leading up to and after the big day.

beach wedding locations italyhistorical wedding locations rome

If you’re a history buff, then you’re in luck, you’ll find many of J. Paul Getty’s personal belongings and collection in the home (and you can even stay in his master suite if you so chose).  The hotel rooms are each appointed with his antiques, no two are alike.  If you’re looking for something a bit more modern, you won’t find it here, but you can ask for one of the suites with a recently renovated bathroom (we also suggest rooms with an ocean view for an epic sunset sighting).

wedding locations rome oceanla posta vecchiarome beach weddingsleading hotels of the world rome

This Leading Hotels of the World property also boasts a Michelin-starred restaurant, an indoor pool, intimate spa, stunning outdoor dining spot and plenty of places to sneak off into the garden with your fiance for some quiet time.

rome beach weddingbeach wedding location italy

And when you’ve had enough of that quiet time (or of your guests), head into the city for a day of shopping, sightseeing, or even a honeymoon just around the corner with a completely different pace and space without the time and cost of touching down somewhere far, far away.

rome beach wedding locationoceanfront villas rome

All Photos via La Posta Vecchia.

Share

Hotel Hassler – Where the Stars Stay in Rome

honeymoon hotel rome

If you’re considering the romantic city of Roma, Italy for your honeymoon, then look no further than high above the famed Spanish Steps where an elegant little hotel overlooks the sprawling city and welcomes you with warmth and sophistication.  Hotel Hassler is the spot where the stars go (yep, even Clooney) but it’s also home to some lavish destination (and local) weddings and a great spot to honeymoon if you want to see the eternal city.

Hotel Hassler Villa Medici-Roma

The 96 rooms and suites are beautifully designed with European charm, each different from one another, some suiting the more modern couple while others can enjoy more of a nod to the old world.  If you’re not just staying here but celebrating too, I suggest one of the penthouse or presidential rooftop suites so you can entertain on your massive balcony with sights of the entire city (and perhaps even take a dip in your jacuzzi as night falls).

luxury wedding hotel romeluxury spanish steps hotelsluxury hotels rome

You certainly can’t beat the location, literally steps from the Spanish Steps and the oh-so popular shopping district below (known as the luxury center of the city).  Then when you return from a day of taking in the rich history of the area (and modern shops too), enjoy dinner atop the hotel at Imago, a Michelin-starred restaurant with a seriously creative spin to the Italian food you’ve come to know and love in Rome.

spanish steps hotels

If you’re there in the warmer months of the year, enjoy afternoon cocktails in the courtyard before heading to the library or lounge for light bites.

hotel hassler romehotel hassler

And don’t forget to indulge in the spa!  With locally sourced products created specifically for and by the hotel, you’ll love the aroma you take with you when you go. luxury hotel rome italy

From five star food and drink to stunning views of this magical city, this is one stop to be sure to hit on your European honeymoon.  Why?  Well, basically, because Hotel Hassler has it all!

wedding locations rome

All Photos via Hotel Hassler.

Share