Sunday, 31 January 2010

Getting married in France

Today I visited the wedding fair (salon du marriage) in Dinan in Brittany with my 2 friends.

During the past 6 years I have been helping several English couples with their paperwork when they got married in France but this time it is a pleasure to help an English friend. Going round the fair make you realize how many things you need to think of! Invitations, outfits, rings, venue, food, cakes, photographer, entertainment, etc. This is stressful enough so if you also have to worry about the red tape, you will be stressed out by the time you get to the D day!

Here is some information about getting married in France if you are already a resident of France. If you need any assistance with the procedure and the paperwork, I will be delighted to help you.

In France, the civil ceremony is presided over by a mayor’s duty (maire) or one of his/her deputies (adjoint). French law only recognises civil marriage. If you decide to have a religious ceremony (it is optional), it will have to be held after the civil ceremony either on the same day or later on.

So first you will need to visit the mairie to arrange a date. Whilst there you can also pre-book the village hall (salle des fêtes). Make sure it is not already booked by a local association, The Telethon, or any other event.

Once pre-booked, here is the list of the paperwork the bride and groom will have to supply:

- A copy of the birth certificate (Extrait d’Acte de Naissance Intégral), dated no more than three months before the day of the wedding. If you were born in the UK you will need to get the full version of your birth certificate. You can get one from the Registrar in the town where your birth was registered. You will need to have it translated by a “traducteur assermenté”.

- A valid passport or carte de séjour.

- 2 justificatifs de domicile: Proof of address supplied by the resident of the commune (EDF, phone or water bill).

- Liste des témoins (list of witnesses). The bride and the groom should choose witnesses, at least one each, but no more than two. Details (full names, dates of birth, profession and domicile) of each witness, and a clear photocopy of the passport will be needed.

- If the groom or the bride are divorced or widow(er), they will need to supply a divorce judgment for or a death certificate.

The red tape being sorted, you can now start planning the rest of the party!

Photo : wedding dress from Thierry Marin - See his web site here.

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