How to get married in France
How to get married in France7 months, 30 days to go
Getting engaged was probably the happiest moment of my life. I actually thought I'd died or was dreaming!
Now the dust has settled and the last celebratory Christmas pie has been munched, the hardwork is about to begin. The lovely MM and I are getting married in September 2011... in France.
If you've ever wondered how to get married in France then you've come to the right blog!
It is notoriously difficult to actually get married in France. One of you needs to be resident there for over a month and apply to the town hall with proof of your address etc. You also need a long list of legal documents and such. It's a minefield!
First thing to do is contact the Mairie and British Consulate as they will tell you everything you need to know!
NB: All documents must be certified by the British consulate and translated by an approved translator prior to being presented to the Mairie. You can get a list of approved translators
How to get married in France without all that hassle!This seemingly insurmountable problem turned out to be relatively easy to fix. Though it's the first compromise on MM's side for me it's a small stroke of luck.
In France, couples must first marry in the town hall before any civil or religious service can take place.
This means showing up in your big white frock, sitting in front of your congregation and the town's mayor and being told about your responsibilities to each other, signing the register and walking out of there married... then going over to the Church or venue and doing the whole walk down the aisle ceremony thing.
It's like an enforced registry office ceremony followed by a big white wedding. This isn't the ONLY set of options but whatever you decide, the town hall is non-negotiable.
Don’t get me wrong, town halls in France can be exquisite. They can be truly lovely places to get hitched. But I want to get married in front of everyone once, just the once.
I want the first time my H2B sees me, that day, to be when I’m walking towards him preparing for our one and only big wedding. Plus I'd prefer to say vows in front of my loved ones and then get on with the party!
Civil ceremony in the UK before the wedding n FranceSo... to how to get married in France? Simple. We don't.
MM and I will be sneaking off to the registry office in our local UK town and getting secretly pre-wed here.
We'll sign our papers and be legally married for all intents and purposes but we won't consider our marriage valid until we've said our vows and exchanged rings in front of everyone we know and love, which won’t happen until our wedding day in France.
We're not doing anything special for our UK "wedding". It's simply getting the formalities out the way so the romance can begin. I might even wear jeans. Simple.
I said simple but, as I am learning, nothing is ever simple when planning a wedding. And that's only made worse when it's a multi-cultural affair.
We’ve got traditionalists on both sides! Not the same traditions by any means but certain rules, it seems, will not be broken without a bit of a scuffle.
There's a stand-off between us and assorted relatives who want to come to (and therefore make a big deal of) our little civil wedding here...
As I said, nothing is ever simple. We should probably just get married here after all, but that would be taking the easy route.
C’est la vie!
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