In Part Deux of our wedding series, Parisien Salon examines the process for getting married in Paris. Be forewarned: you’ll need all of your patience to get through it.
Story by Linda Donahue
Falling in love? No problem. Saying “I do?” That’s easy. Getting married in Paris? That’s not so easy.Unless you’re marrying a French citizen, you should know that you’re going to have to really work for your Paris wedding. If you have time and patience, then here are the steps you need to take:
Step 1: You’re going to have to wait for it. French law requires that one person in the couple needs to have lived in the district around the city hall where they’re going to be married for a minimum of 40 consecutive days. This includes the 10 days required for the city hall to publish the Banns (the public announcement that gives people the chance to legally object prior to the wedding).
Step 2: You need to show two proofs of residency—known as the justificatifs de domicile. These can include a utilities bill, a phone bill (a cellphone bill doesn’t count), a rent receipt, a lease or a French social security card. If you’re staying with a friend or relative, you can also have that person sign an attestation d’hébergement sur l’honneur—a legal statement that you’ve been living in that person’s residence for the required period.
Step 3: If you’ve cleared that hurdle, you’ll need to start pulling together a small book’s worth of paperwork, including:
Step 4: You’ll need two to four witnesses (temoins), and you’ll need to provide their names, addresses, their professions and photocopies of their passports.
Step 5: Wait it out. You’ll get word from the Mairie of your wedding date and time. You can request a specific date and time, but you’ll probably be told that nothing is confirmed until your entire wedding file (dossier) has been approved.
Step 6: Get married at city hall. French law dictates that everyone has to have a civil ceremony before they can have a church wedding.
If you don’t have 40 days to spare, there is a much easier way to go about this: have a civil ceremony at home. With your proof in hand (translated, of course), you can get married in a church, a temple, or at any of the city’s elegant (or offbeat) venues.