Sir Peter Ricketts, the British Ambassador to France
IF you want to get married in France, then here is the official line from the British Embassy in Paris.
Marriages in France must be carried out at the local town hall before any religious ceremony can be performed. If you have not already got in touch with the town hall, you should do so as soon as possible.
The town hall will request a certain number of documents. These may vary according to the town hall, but will normally include:
- Your passport
- Your full birth certificate (with your parents’ details). This will normally need to be issued in the six months prior to your wedding. If you’re asked for a recent copy, you’ll need to contact the General Registry Office to order one.
- Proof of residence
- If you are divorced, your decree absolute (or the equivalent if you did not get divorced in the UK)
- If you are widowed, your previous spouse’s death certificate
- A certificate of custom
- A certificate of celibacy. We can’t provide this, so you’ll need to download our official note that explains this and take it to the town hall.
You may need to have documents in English translated by a sworn translator. The town hall or the local court will be able to supply a list of accepted translators.
You may be asked to have some or all of your documents legalised. France and the United Kingdom signed an “Agreement to facilitate the proof without legalisation of certain official documents” in 1937.
The Agreement was published in France in the Instruction general relative à l’état civil, Article No. 598. This means that documents issued in the UK by the General Registry Office or by a court do not need any form of legalisation for use in France.
You may need to bring this to the attention of the town hall if they are not used to celebrating marriages involving British Nationals.
For more information on getting married in France, have a look at the official French government website (in French).
In 2012 the British Consulate in Paris issued 1,611 Certificates of Custom to British Nationals planning to get married or to enter into a Pacte Civil de Solidarité in France.
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