Age restrictions

In order to get married in France:

You must both be over 18 and free to marry (single, widowed or divorced) 

OR: It is possible to marry if you are under 18 in certain circumstances (due to pregnancy, for example) in which case a special dispensation from the Procureur de la République (public prosecutor) in charge of the place of marriage must be requested

In the UK the legal age of marriage in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is 18 (16 with parental consent) and 16 in Scotland (no requirement for parental consent).

Where can I get married?

Marriages cannot be performed within the UK Embassy or any consular office in France.
A French civil authority, which includes the mayor (maire), the deputy mayor (adjoint) or a city councillor (conseiller municipal), performs the civil ceremony in the town in which one of the parties to be married has resided for at least 30 consecutive days preceding the publication of the banns (in England and Wales both partners must be resident in England or Wales for 7 days before notice is given). The publication of the banns in the town hall (mairie) is compulsory in France. The banns are displayed for 10 days outside the town hall and the marriage cannot take place prior to the 11th day.
In the UK, after giving notice you must wait 15 days before the marriage can take place. During that time, a notice is put up in the registry office of your intent to marry or register for a civil partnership. Once your notice is issued, it’s valid for a year (3 months in Scotland and Northern Ireland) and you can have your wedding at any time within that period. You can leave the country once you have given notice.

What about the religious ceremony?

Religious ceremonies are optional in France and can be performed at any time but NEVER before the civil marriage.

How many witnesses are allowed at a marriage in France?

There are a minimum of 2, maximum of 4 witnesses at a French wedding. Prior to your marriage, the town hall will ask you to provide their names, addresses, dates and places of birth and occupations.

I would like to record my marriage in the United Kingdom. Is it possible?

A marriage performed in France under French law is recognised in the UK.
If you wish to have your marriage recorded in the United Kingdom, a multilingual extract from the marriage register, issued under the Convention of Paris of 27 September 1956 (formule plurilingue d’extrait d’acte de mariage) should be obtained. This is a standard form issued by the French authorities for use in other countries and is available from most town halls.
This document, along with a photocopy of your British passport, may be submitted at any time after the marriage to the British Consulate-General in whose district the marriage was celebrated (for Creuse and Haute-Vienne: Consulate in Bordeaux, 353 Boulevard du President Wilson 33073 Bordeaux Cedex -Phone: (33) (5) 57 22 21 10 -Fax: (33) (5) 56 08-33-12 -Email:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - OR to the FCO if the applicant is resident in the United Kingdom: Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Consular Directorate, Room G35, Old Admiralty Building, London SW1A 2PA.
It will then be transmitted to the Registrar General in London. If the mairie is unable to supply this document you may submit an authenticated copy of the marriage certificate (copie intégrale de l’acte de mariage) together with a translation in English.
It is not free to record your marriage in the UK. Please ask the British Embassy for details.
There is no legal obligation to have a marriage recorded in the UK; the validity in British law of a marriage contracted in France is in no way affected by its having been, or not having been, recorded.

I don’t speak French. Can I get married in my mother tongue?

No. Marriage in France must be celebrated in French. The civil authority performing the ceremony must ensure that those taking part fully understand it; however, the use of an interpreter by the couple is permitted.
The aid of an interpreter is recorded in the marriage act. It is also possible for the person conducting the ceremony, if they speak the language of the future husband and/or wife, to provide a translation once the ceremony in French is complete.
The interpreter’s details must be provided to the mairie before the marriage so that their name can be mentioned on the marriage certificate.

Which documents are requested in France when one of the parties is not French?

The mairie may request:
A Certificate of Law (Certificat de coutume) which includes the personal particulars of the applicant and a statement of British law as regards marriage
A Certificate of Celibacy (Certificat de célibat)
A full birth certificate with its translation into French (this is issued by the British Embassy )

The marriage ceremony

The ceremony usually takes place at the mairie (“la maison commune”). But since January 1st, 2017 the ceremony may take place in any other property owned by the town (eg the church).The mayor must wear his/her sash and the door to the mairie must be open. If these formalities are not adhered to there is a risk that the marriage may be annulled