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

You may also enjoy these other Jet Fete posts:

Share