Getting married in France

Hi all,

We invite all the ones who got married in France or who are about to get married in France to participate in this thread :)

What are the formalities to get married in France? Is it the same for a couple of foreigners of for a mixed couple (between a foreigner and a native of France)?

Are the procedures complicated?

How long does it take to carry out all the formalities?

Thank you in advance for participating,


This may be of help to Australians[/url]l wishing to get married to a frenchy in France. Its easy and understandable.

I got married in France in June 2010. My husband is French and I am an Australian citizen, however being born in the Philippines made some of the paper work complicated.
To be legally recognised in France you have to get married in the" Mairie " which is the Town hall and is performed by the Mayor, usually in the local area where your spouse( who is french) is from. If you do not understand french you will need to hire a professional translator to translate what the mayor is saying and all documents you have which is in another language other than french will also need to be professionally translated.
I was planning my wedding 6months ahead, but couldn't do any proper paper work because everything had to be recent -within 3 months before the marriage.  Don't worry I know it seems a lot of paper work and all within a short period but you just need to be organised.
After that you can  get married in the church- (which I did and required more paper work), in a garden, a castle or wherever you wish your wedding to be held.

Hope it helps :)

Hi Portia and welcome to!

Thanks for your contribution.;)


Hi, I know this is not what you want to hear but after two divorces, I am asking you to REALLY, REALLY think about why you feel you need to get married and keep this email in your file, together with your birth certificate....... chances are, in a few years, you will read it again and think, oh my, oh my, if I had only listened......... then of course, if you need it to be able to live in France, it is more a business arrangement. All that said, the best to you, hope you are on the good side of the 50/50 statistics...........

Hi Portia,
I thought that if you are not French your documents could be up to 6 months old due to the amount of time it takes to order them and then get them translated? I was just about to get my birth cert done now..5 months before.

Hi delaFere,
The Mairie where your getting married at usually gives you a list of things they need and how recent it needs to be, Just check with them. But I remembered I had to wait within the 3months worrying am I going to get married on the day we decided, if not we would have to change all the wedding arrangements. The translation doesn't take long but finding someone to do the translation can get a bit tricky as some of them are picky- they cannot be bothered, maybe it their second job, I don't know but just from experience. good luck:)

Hi everybody,

Does anyone know about the formalities needed for a French & a Brit to actually get married in France?

Thanks for your answer(s)


Hi every one.I would like to get married in France my man is a Netherlander. Where to go and what to do about registration. Others told us to have an address where can find that.

Hi Ntombenkosi,
I think you mean a residential address, proof of where you or your future husband is living?  you or your partner needs to have been  living in France for around 30-40 days before you can go to the Mairie (Town hall ) and register. If none of you are French and don't speak french fluently you can do a wedding without going through the Mairie. You can have a small civil marriage in your own country so then its legal, then get married again in France by a celebrant at a garden or where ever you want.

HI Connie007
I'm not sure if it is similar for an Irish marrying French but as we are getting married in Ireland we have to declare it to the Irish embassy in France and have the bans published in our local Mairie 3 months before hand. That is just to have it recognized in France and so that if we want a copy of the cert we don't have to go to Ireland everytime.Check with the British embassy in France they should be able to tell you.

What about a PACS (Pacte Civile de Solidarite) instead? Much simpler, cheaper, open to same sex or different sex couples, easy to organise, and largely the same rights and benefits as marriage. My partner and I, British and Canadian did it last year. Just use Google PACS for all the details, or this site for a good summary in English:

Hi all.

This is a great forum. because i'm stressed and need some advice.
Originally I was going to get Pac'ed with my boyfriend, however after much discussion we feel that getting married is right for us. I am australian and he is french (to marry in france).

I have been searching the internet look for a clear understanding of the process and steps we need to take to make this happen. Also I am under the understanding that once we are married I have to return to australia and reapply for a long term visa. Is this correct ? I am either asking for advice from someone who has been in my situation and has successfully married in France to a french citizen. or if who/where I can get further reliable information.

Many many thanks,

I got married to a French,and it was quite easy.Just make sure all the paperwork is ok.I didn't have to get a longstay visa in my country.You apply for that in France once married.
As mentioned above,you'll nedd to publish "les bans" at the mairie of where you're getting married.They will also inform you of what documents you need.

So now the wedding is over..does anyone know how to change one's surname in France. French citizens have to fill in a form so they can use their husbands name as a nom d'usage but is it the same for expats in France? In Ireland there are no forms you can just start using your husbands surname. Any one changed their surname in France?

Hi everyone. thanks for all your advice.

well, i got married. once sorted, it was really quite easy..
NOW - the next step. i will be living in france and I want to know if anyone knows what to do next.

From my understanding because i got married on a Tourist Visa (3month stay limit). i have to return to australia and apply for a spousal visa ...

after that i am not sure what is the correct protocol. again, any suggestions or advice would be appreciated.

Cheers ...

Hi Portia,

My question has nothing to do with marriage but I thought of emailing you since you seem to be very knowledgeable with issues pertaining to living in France whether it's temporary or permanent.

I am a mature and semi retired American citizen who lives in California for almost 30 years.  Although I have visited different parts of France a few times in the past, I am planning to do some language and culture immersion beginning May of 2013 and hopefully live there for three months.   

My question is, do you know of families who would rent out one of their rooms for few months?

My budget for the rent alone is not more than 300 euro per month. I would appreciate any feedback.

Thanks for your time and God bless you.

Maria Isabel

Hi everyone, I really wanna go to Paris,  ad fall in love there. But, how, when? Huhu. what should I do :( i wanna got married there too :(

Hi Maria/ Serendipity35,
I don't know of any family who has a room for rent, but I will let you know if someday I come across a family who happens to do that : )

Take care

Hi Portia,

Thanks for your response.  I do hope that one of these days someone on this forum responds to me with a "Found room for rent" news.

God bless you,

Maria Isabel

Hi Maria Isabel,

You should start a new topic on the France forum with your questions.

Just to remind that the title of this discussion is "Getting Married in France".

Thank you,

Hi Portia,

We are getting married in France in July (I am French, my fiance is  a New Zealand citizen born in Fiji). I have a list of papers from the Mairie but I was wondering if I would need some extra paper work as my fiance was born in Fiji? Did you have to also supply a certificate of celibate from your country of origin?

Thank you so much


Yes I had to provide a certificate of celibate, and I got mine from australia from the Deaths Births and Marriages registries. as that's where I grew up and My birth certificate from the Philippines. hope it helps :)
NB: that I am not a lawyer or part of the government that helps with mariages, just through my own experience from dealing with the situation at the time.

Apart from marriage stuff, do you guys have a photographer to capture your French wedding? ;) I'm a Bordeaux based photographer ^^

To get married in France, one of you has to be resident in France and you can only get married at the town hall (Mairie) of that place you are resident.

Getting married here is easy if your French. If you compare the list of papers my husband had to submit (he's French) with the list I had to submit...yes, mine was far longer than his - and that's not counting the official translations I had to get done too. Oh and add to that the fact all my husband's papers he could get via email at zero cost - for mine I was running all over to get them, having to call abroad. And I had to pay a lot for them all, especially the translations as you can't do them yourself. The number of times I was in and out of the embassy in Paris getting papers stamped and certified...

That being said, it's pretty straight forward - French style ;)

Papers, more papers, and don't forget...photocopies of papers!

So now the wedding is over..does anyone know how to change one's surname in France. French citizens have to fill in a form so they can use their husbands name as a nom d'usage but is it the same for expats in France? In Ireland there are no forms you can just start using your husbands surname. Any one changed their surname in France?

You can change your name by going to your embassy and getting your passport changed. As us foreigners always have to pay for this, and it's not that cheap, I waited until my passport was due to expire to do this, and in the meantime used the Livret de Famille to justify my married name.

When you get your passport done, at my embassy, they gave me the choice of keeping my birth name, changing to my married name, or changing to my married name while including my birth name on another page. I chose this last option.

Each person must decide for themselves, but in retrospect I should have kept my birth name on the main page of my passport and inserted my married name on the second page.
This is because in France we are not under the same law as in England and the U.S. While we can legally use our husband's name (even after divorce), it will never be our official name.

That means, for example, that all diplomas you obtain after marriage, should be made out in your birth name. In my case, because my passport was in my married name, some of my diplomas were made out in my married name when they shouldn't have been and now I have to fuss to get them changed. Just more paperwork which I could gladly do without!

So basically, the choice is up to you what name you put on your passport, but whatever you decide, in France, it's your birth name which will always be the official one. Keeping it like that on your passport will just save some headaches later if you plan on settling in France.

Hi Portia, thank you very much. I will get in touch with the Mairie again to reconfirm as my fiance lived in Fiji until he was 22. I am from a pretty small place in France so it is quite unusual (or maybe even never seen) for someone to get married with a overseas citizen.

Thanks Dakota but my brother will be doing the pictures, we are having a pretty small wedding :-)

Hello Everyone,

Some people on this thread are saying that you have to show proof of residency before going to see the Marie. This may be a stupid question but are you talking about 30 days or so before you meet with the Marie or before the Wedding date?
Getting married in France seems more confusing that I thought and would be great if someone could clarify this :D

Thanks for your help

Well I don't remember if you have to show proof of residency when you book your wedding date at the Mairie, but definitely when you meet with them 30 days or so before.

If you are not used to the French administration system, do not leave it to the last available day to register your marriage/get the bans published, as if you're missing a paper or a photocopy or your proof of residency is not the most recent, things could get rather screwed up. Just saying.

In any case, if you want to get married here, take a trip down to the Mairie where you live and want to get married at and ask them all your questions. Take someone who speaks French if your French isn't up to scratch. You'll get a list of all the docs you need to procure along with all the translations, attestations, photocopies, etc, that go with them. also check at your embassy what documents you need, as the Mairie quite possibly won't be able to tell you what you as a foreigner need.

It sounds complicated, and is if you aren't used to the system, but if you go along and give them all the docs they want, you'll be fine.

Thanks for your help.
I wasn't sure about the 30 day thing as it wasn't quite clear when it was mentioned on this forum.
Luckily we are bilingual in French and so we have no problem with the language, just not exactly sure what the process of getting married at the Mairie is, as we haven't been married before :)
We are planning to get married sometime in July next year and so we have plenty of time to go and see the Mairie. We would like to get get married in the town where my in-laws live and not ours, so this could also be challenging.

Hi all,
we got married in ireland in 1999, never thinking that we might move to france, however we are now in the process of relocating to france with our three children and business, what I want to know is are we married in france as we got married in a catholic church in ireland, if we are not great as it would be an excuse for a good party


Hi Liz,

Someone has made a comment about this, take a look
HI Connie007
I'm not sure if it is similar for an Irish marrying French but as we are getting married in Ireland we have to declare it to the Irish embassy in France and have the bans published in our local Mairie 3 months before hand. That is just to have it recognized in France and so that if we want a copy of the cert we don't have to go to Ireland everytime.Check with the British embassy in France they should be able to tell you.




Just to remind you that this thread title is Getting married in France. ;)

Thank you,

Hi rhean,
Any info you have would be great...from start to finish would be even better!
Info such as whether you had to leave France after you were married there before you could apply for a visa to stay, or if you could do it all from there and stay from the day you were married. Whether you had to prove a level of financial status, either him or yourself. Do you instantly have the right to work, or access to financial aid while you look for work.
Any and all info would be great.


Hello there,

I am in the process of preparing paper work to get married in France.

I have a question about marriage contract. Any thoughts? Is it best to have a contract or just have standard marriage. If god forbids things go wrong and you need to divorce will you need to go back to France for that? My other half is resident there he isn't French but we are planing to live in the UK.

Any ideas of how long certificate of custom law takes? It says 7 weeks on web site but just want to know from experience if it takes less than that.

Thank you guys

[moderated: is NOT a dating website]

[Moderated: is not a dating website]

I'm obviously a hopeless romantic with hope as I'm going again for the...maybe I'll not say?
I guess it's a declaration which reassures and a commitment. Both of which I used to be terrible at!
I'm getting married to a French lady July 19th. My son will be 31 years old on the same day.
Life is like a cup of tea, it's how you make it yourself.

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