Getting Married in Paris: Good News and Bad News

Before covid made it impossible to travel, Sandcastles Weddings offered destination weddings to Paris. Now that people are starting to get back to normal, here is how we got around the legalities, and how you can too!

First, the bad news… 

The process of getting married in France is complex. You will first need a long-term visa prior to arrival on French territory. The visa application must be made in Canada at the French consulate nearest your home. Before you can apply for the marriage license, there is a 30-day residency requirement, which you must be able to document by rent receipts, utility bills, etc. In addition, there is a 10-day wait after getting the license.

You will be asked for documentation attesting to your civil status and your identity to insure that the marriage meets legal requirements. The Consular service of the Embassy of Canada can help you to obtain the requested documentation.

If everything is in order the Consular service of the Embassy of Canada in Paris will  issue a Statement in lieu of Certificate of Non-impediment to Marriage Abroad. This document is issued at your request; it replaces the Certificat de coutume and the Certificat de capacité matrimoniale requested by the Mairie in France. To obtain a Statement in lieu of Certificate of Non-impediment to Marriage Abroad from the Consular service of the Embassy of Canada in Paris, you must submit the following documentation, translated by an approved translator:

  • A photocopy of your valid Canadian passport (only pages 2 and 3) 
  • If you were born in Canada: a copy of your Canadian birth certificate issued by the provincial office
  • If you were born outside Canada: a photocopy of both sides of your Canadian citizenship card or certificate
  • An original statutory declaration including your name, residential address, present marital status and the name, the citizenship and residential address of your future spouse. This statutory declaration must be in French and mention the date and place of the signature and signed in front of a lawyer, notary public or commissioner of oaths in Canada or signed in front of a lawyer, a notary or an official who is entitled to witness sworn statements at your local Mairie in France. If you are abroad, you also have the possibility to sign this statement in an office of the Government of Canada abroad
  • If you have been married in the past: a certified copy of your divorce certificate or a certified copy of the death certificate of the deceased spouse
  • A payment of $50.00 CAD or the equivalent amount in euros
  • A short letter explaining your request that includes the name and detailed address for the return of the documents

So… unless you have been actually living (not just on vacation) in Paris for 40 days, your Parisian wedding isn’t possible. 

Are you still with me? 

It will be mandatory to perform a civil marriage at the “Hotel de Ville” before an optional religious ceremony. In France, the church does not operate on behalf of state, as it does here. Religious ceremonies can only be held in a church. This means you can’t get married at the Eiffel Tower. 

But now for the good news!

We would be happy to perform a quick and legal wedding ceremony for you here at home (just you and two witnesses) before you hop on the plane to Paris! Then, with your photographer and officiant (who can be anyone you wish) you are free to hold your symbolic ceremony anywhere in Paris!

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