Some couples are content to tie the knot at the courthouse down the road. But for those who are more adventurous, a destination wedding -- and an international marriage -- are a must. The Huffington Post's guide to international marriages will tell you everything you need to know to get legally married in France. Read on to ensure all of your paperwork is in order before booking your ticket.
Residency Requirement And Waiting Period
France requires that at least one of the parties to be married lives in France for at least 40 consecutive days before a wedding ceremony is allowed. This is a required step in the process and cannot be waived under any circumstance.
Intent To Marry
In France, the couple to be married must post a marriage banns, or intent to marry, at the mairie (the French equivalent of a city hall) at least 10 days prior to the marriage. The earliest the marriage banns may be posted is at the end of the 30 days of residence in France.
The ceremony must take place in a mairie. Marriages cannot be performed within the American embassy or within an American consulate in France. If the couple wants a religious ceremony, that has to take place after the civil ceremony in the mairie. This can never occur before the civil ceremony; the priest, minister or rabbi performing the religious ceremony must see proof of the civil ceremony beforehand.
The Marriage Certificate
After marriage, each couple will receive a livret de famille. This book is a record of marriage and subsequent family events such as name changes, births and deaths in the family. To get a copy of the marriage license, the couple can write to the mairie where the marriage took place.
Both parties to be married need a valid U.S. passport, proof of domicile (e.g., electricity bill) and a certificat du notaire or prenuptial contract, if the parties wish to file one. Additionally, both parties require the following documents (issued no longer than three months prior to the ceremony): a birth certificate, a certificate of celibacy, an affidavit of law (a document signed by an attorney licensed in both France and the U.S. confirming that the American citizen is indeed contracted to get married in France and that the marriage will be recognized in the United States) and a medical certificate ensuring both parties are in good health.
Same-sex marriage is legal in France, as of May 2013.
View the full set of laws and regulations regarding marriage in France.