Getting married in Paris, which is known to be one of the most romantic places on earth, is indeed a wonderful experience and a great way for a couple to express their love for each other. Parisian laws do not recognise religious ceremonies as legally binding and require that the couple take their vows before legal authority.
Religious weddings also take place in Paris; however, before getting married in church, couples are required to have a civil wedding in the presence of the mayor in the city hall. The couple is legally recognised as husband and wife and is issued a marriage certificate only after the civil ceremony, after which they can get married in church.
An expat will find it a bit complicated to arrange a civil wedding in Paris because of the various legal procedures and the hard work involved. An excellent way of getting out of this procedure is to get a civil marriage in one’s home country and bring the marriage documents over to Paris so that one can have a romantic and traditional French wedding in the City of Lights.
If you want to have a civil wedding in France, it is necessary that the couple live in the country for at least 30 days before the date of the marriage. They should then submit to the civil authorities a copy of their passport, birth certificates, medical certificates, affidavits of law, domicile certificates proving that they have lived in France for the past 30 days. This has to be presented along with information regarding eyewitnesses who are required to sign the registry after the civil marriage ceremony. The city hall will then publish the banns, which is a public announcement that the couple plans to get married, 10 days before the wedding so that objections to the union (if any) can be made.
The French civil wedding ceremony is a solemn affair to which guests may be invited. The city hall also has special rooms, which can be personalized for the wedding, after which the civil authorities issue a little blue book called “Livret de Familie,” which not only serves as the marriage certificate, but is also meant to record the births of future children.
The couple is free to arrange a religious wedding ceremony in any church of their choice after the civil wedding. An authentic “French wedding” commences with a traditional drink of champagne with friends and family members followed by music, dancing and festivity and ends with an intimate brunch with the newly weds the following day.