March 5, 2023

How To Get Married in Paris If You Are American?

FILED IN: Paris symposium

There’s a reason why lovebirds worldwide flock down to Paris to have their intimate elopement or grandiose wedding! With the rising popularity of destination weddings and thriving hospitality catering to them, hosting a Paris wedding has become a preferred choice amongst newly engaged couples. Thousands of couples from the US are attracted to its culinary excellence, amazing weather, and awe-inspiring venues every year. 

If you are dreaming of all things French at your destination wedding in Paris, there are a few legalities you need to consider. To help you, I have prepared a detailed guide covering all essential aspects of hosting a wedding in Paris, France.

  • You must carry a valid US Passport.
  • A certified copy of the US birth certificate and divorce copy, if applicable. Most city halls require that you present an original copy of your birth certificate along with a sworn translation issued within three months of your requested wedding date.
  • To have a civil ceremony, you don’t need to be a resident of France – French law requires at least one in the couple to have a long-lasting bond with the town or the local area where the civil Paris wedding ceremony will occur. You must have lived in the district around the city hall for a minimum of forty consecutive days before the wedding. It includes an additional ten days for the hall to publish the announcement in the city hall for ten days before your marriage.
  • Proof of domicile – You or your future partner must present two documents.

One essential detail is that to prove residency, you need to show two separate official documents highlighting your French address, such as a rent receipt, a French social security insurance card, or a car leasing agreement. In cases where you cannot rent an apartment, another option is to move with your partner to a relative or friend in the desired district and have the person sign an attestation. It’s a statement that you have been living with the person and that they took full responsibility if you get stuck in legal trouble.

  • For a prenuptial marriage contract, a certificate is required. In such cases, a French notary prepares the contract and will provide the couple with a certificate du notare that must be presented to Maire. If there are no prenuptial contracts, then you will be married under the communaute réduites aux acquêts. It means what you have owned before marriage or what comes afterward through inheritance remains your individual property. 
  • You must obtain certificate de coutume and certificate de célibat ou de non remariage. Each person must attest that they are single and that any previous marriages have been dissolved through divorce or death. Individual states manage marriage records in the US, so neither the embassy nor any federal authority can deliver the Certificat de coutumes or certificate de celibat for US citizens. Therefore, US citizens must sign an attestation stating they are free to marry. It doesn’t require a notarization from the US embassy, and if you wish to have your signature legalized, it can be done at the local city hall- Mairie- with a valid US passport. Affidavit of law (Certificat de coutume) certifies that American citizens are free to have a Paris wedding and that marriage will be recognized in the US.
  • Certificate of celibacy – It’s the same as certificate de coutume. Some city halls require one of these documents over others, but some can ask for both. That being said, be sure to clarify this with the city hall where you plan to marry. You should have both documents dated less than three months from your wedding date.
  • Medical certificate – You both must get a prenuptial medical certificate that states that your doctor has examined you. The city hall can only publish the marriage banns once the medical certificates have been submitted.
  • Temoins – In addition to the above documents, you must also provide information on your witnesses. Two to four people will act as your legal best man or maid of honor. They need to sign the registry after the marriage ceremony. You must provide their full name, address, photocopies of their French identity cards, and professional details. All of these must be presented in person to the Mairie for them to approve before posting to banns.

When these documents are accepted and approved, you will receive confirmation from the Mairie of your wedding date. You can also request a specific date and time to drop off your paperwork.

Note: You must be legally married in a civil ceremony before being allowed to have a religious ceremony. After the Paris wedding ceremony, you will receive a Livret de Famille – a velvet booklet that contains your marriage certificate.

Getting married in a foreign land is not easy, and having a Paris wedding is no exception! However, If you are willing to exchange vows beneath the shadow of the Eiffel tower or in the cobbled halls of a centuries-old chateau in Paris, I assure you with my heart that the process is completely worth it! 

Wish to plan a destination wedding in Paris? Then visit the website and learn more about how as a Paris wedding planner, I can assist you in executing your dream celebration.

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