Get married in France: the legal part

You and your partner want to get married in France and wonder what the legislation is? Here, you will find all the necessary information to know how to legally get married in France and we will also talk about what most couples do for their destination wedding in France.

Can foreigners get legally married in France?

The answer is yes but the couple will have to live in the town where they want to get legally married at least 30 days before the wedding. This is the main constraint to get married in France for foreigners. A second constraint can be the paperwork required. We will explain this point in “the documents” part.

How does it take place?

The wedding will take place in the town hall of your city of residency. The mayor or one of his/her representatives will marry you. Both future spouses should be attending this wedding. You need to be legally married before having a religious or spiritual ceremony.

The requirements to get married in France

Here, we will explain what are the documents and requirements you will need to get legally married in France.

The requirements

Age: The two persons who want to get married should be at least 18 years old.
Residency: Before you can get married in France, at least you and your future spouse should live a minimum of 30 consecutive days in the city where you want to get married. The civil wedding can only take place in the city where you lived. You can also get married in the city where you or your partner’s parents live.

The documents

  • A valid passport for the two parties
  • Original birth certificate for the two parties. They should be issued maximum 3 months before the wedding and apostilled.
  • Certificate of celibacy, stating that you’re not already married. This document should be a maximum of 3 months old. In France, it is called “Certificat de Célibat”
  • Prenuptial agreement, if you have one. It should be made with a notary. In France, it is called “Contrat de Mariage”
  • Information about your witnesses (professional and personal information are required)
  • Divorce decree, if you were married previously and divorced
  • Widow document, if you or your partner have been widowed
  • Proof of residency in France for at least 30 consecutive days prior to the application, for both parties (Usually an electricity bill)
  • Affidavit of law, stating that you can get married in your home country. This document should be made by a professional licensed to practice in France and in your home country. This document has to be made in French. In France, it is called “Certificat de Coutume”.
  • For all these documents, you will need the originals. If the originals are not in French they should be translated by a sworn translator and be authenticated with an Apostille stamp.

If you need help with these documents, your home country embassy can help you with some documents for a fee.

What do most foreigners couples do?

As we just saw, it is quite complicated to get legally married in France. That is why most couples who want to get married in France decide to get legally married in their home country and then to have a religious ceremony and a wedding party in France with all their loved ones. This is the easiest way to do it.
If you still want to get legally married in France, it is highly advised to be helped by a wedding planner or a legal professional who speaks French to make the process smoother.
If you are looking for a wedding planner to get married in France, you can have a look at our services.


I hope this blog post helped you understand what you need to get married in France and decide whether you want to get legally married or have a wedding ceremony and reception in France.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask them in the comments section.


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