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Spotlight On: French Marriage Laws


Spotlight On: French Marriage Laws

Jennifer Fox

As many of you may or may not know, France has many legal requirements when it comes to exchanging I do's. There are residency requirements, applications to be submitted and many others forms of other required documentation. Since many international clients inquire about French marriage laws, I figured I'd take the time to explain. French law states that at least one of the parties to be married has to have been a resident in France for a minimum of 40 consecutive days, immediately preceding the marriage. This must be in the area where the marriage is to take place.

As far as applications go, one of the parties must reside in France for 30 days before an application for marriage can be made. The marriage application, known as marriage banns must then be posted at the appropriate Mairie {town hall} no less than 10 days prior to the wedding.

Although these requirements can be quite lengthy and complex, especially for non residents, have no fear! There are some simple solutions for getting married in France without having to jump through so many administrative hoops!

The first option if you or your partner are not french residents is to have a secret civil marriage in your home country and a religious or symbolic ceremony in France! No need to tell anyone about the prior civil ceremony. Most people will just assume that the religious or symbolic ceremony is legally binding so it's a win win!

The second option for non residents is to first have your religious or symbolic ceremony in France and then have the civil ceremony in your home country upon return. This way, you can get the technical part of the marriage out of the way after you and your guests enjoyed the fête!

No matter which option you choose, France is certainly a beautiful country to say your I do's whether it be civilly, religiously or symbolically.

Bisous, Avec

Photography by Catherine O'Hara Photography