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How to get married in France

Legal Requirements

Bride Buddy Expert

Our guide to getting married in France

On this page we will talk to you about the legal requirements of a UK couple wishing to get married in France. For information about our French Wedding Ceremonies and Celebrant Services in South West France please follow this link.


OK guys, we are not going to lie, but we do not wish to bore you either.  There is no doubt that the legalities for a foreign couple to marry in France are tedious. (be they from elsewhere in Europe or worldwide) 

The majority of UK couples who want a French flavour to their wedding day, firstly have a simple marriage at the local register office in the UK for £50 with just themselves and two witnesses. Couples view this very basic ceremony as the 'formal' part of their marriage, and then they are free to celebrate this legality with a wonderful celebratory ceremony in France.

Country style French wedding

As a destination wedding supplier I deal with UK couples wanting to marry abroad all the time. They have to visit the register office in the UK in order to get a licence for the foreign country to order for the marriage to take place. As well as the licence it is common for the country to request a special stamp from the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office and for the documents to be translated by a translator approved by the country's Embassy in the UK.

Some countries may require a short residency period as well but in France this is where things can start to get a bit awkward.  The law in France requires that at least one of you fulfill a 40 day residency period and for you to provide two proofs of this residence by way of a utility bill or similar.  In France you must also have the marriage legalised at the local Town Hall even if you are planning a religious ceremony.  We could go on as there are more requirements involved, but the 40 day residency generally makes it impractical for the legal marriage to take place in France. The cost involved in obtaining all the documentation and getting it stamped and translated etc far exceeds that of having your legal marriage at the register office in the UK so you should be aware of these things when discussing idea's about your wedding France.

Of course if you are still determined to have the legal marriage in France we are happy to help guide you through the process but again, the details involved would add to the costs significantly.

If you have decided to have your formal marriage locally in the UK and would like to have a celebratory wedding ceremony in France please follow this link to find out about our Bride Buddy Celebrant Service in South West France.

bride and groom walking through the woods
French wedding chateau
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