‘Every street in Paris seems to echo with the ghosts of love stories.’
Are you a romantic couple dreaming of a perfect wedding in Paris? Is it possible for the two foreigners to get a legal marriage in the capital of France? What is the most beautiful venue? When is the best time? How much is it?
In this article, I will try to find the answer to all your possible questions.
Let’s talk about the legal requirements first as I feel it is the most important thing the couple should look into when considering a wedding abroad. It is not always possible for the two foreigners can get married in France just as two French nationals can get married there. In some cases, however, in order to have the legally binding civil ceremony in France, the couple must have resided there for 30 days. Getting legally married in France is only possible through a civil ceremony which takes place at the council offices (mairie). Non-residents who do not have a parent living in France require a special dispensation to get married in the country – your marriage application might not always be successful. For this reason, many couples prefer to have a civil wedding in their country of origin or residence, and hold a second, religious or secular, ceremony in France.
Necessary paperwork and documentation:
- ID or passport
- proof of residency in France for at least 30 days prior to the application, for at least one of the parties
- birth certificate – this must be less than three months old if issued in France, less than six months old if issued elsewhere
- some countries require the affixation of an Apostille stamp (I wrote about Apostille in this article)
- proof of address
- proof of nationality;
- proof of civil status – it might be a Certificat de Capacité Matrimoniale from your embassy but expect to provide a divorce or death certificate too, if you have been married
- information about your two-four witnesses.
- Certificat de Coutume from your embassy. This ensures that your marriage will be equally valid in France and in your home country.
When is the best time?
Paris, unlike the rest of the most popular European wedding destinations, is beautiful and ‘wedding-appropriate’ all year round. Summer could make a rooftop wedding a dream, while winter wedding is something extraordinary! The city of love offers endless opportunities! I have been to Paree during every season of the year, and each every one of them was astonishing! I have just finished editing my latest fall Paris Fashion Week photos and the autumn looks idyllic against the Eiffel Tower, which could make a perfect wedding photoshoot background.
Summer is simply idyllic – you could not possibly imagine a better and more romantic wedding photos scenario than a picnic by the Seine river! Winter is magical – moody Paris looks magnificent from the Sacre Creu cathedral. The spring is, the way I see it, the most romantic time of the year. Trocadero turns all and pink, while the streets of the city are blooming! CNN Travel voted May as the best Month to visit the capital of France – it is probably what the majority of romantic couples think as well.
The couple should decide for themselves, but keep in mind that Paris is a very popular wedding and elopement destination. You might need to book a year or even two in advance to get the most of your big day.
How much is it?
While the average cost of a wedding in the United States is 26,000 USD and in the UK £27,000 excluding the honeymoon, elopements in Paris might cost from 10,000 to 20,000 USD including the ceremony, reception, hotel, meals and a honeymoon. As a matter of fact, the cost depends on how big you want your event to be, how long it might take, how ‘rich’ and when. In general, the venues start at €3,200 per week to €13,000 per night.
The prices of the plane tickets are different every year and depending on a season, but you can score a great offer. From London, it varies between £30-£50, even in the high season (summer/ fashion week/ Christmas). You could also get a train for £90 return, which I think is easier. Or it could be a 2-hour journey on the Eurostar, with return fares from £64.
From Germany, it is also quite an affordable journey and cost from €20 to €50 return from Berlin.
From the USA, I would recommend booking in advance but it is a matter of $400-$600 return from New York (June/July for instance).
The accommodation in Paris is not affordable and expect to pay from around €300 to even €1100 per night at a 5-star hotel.
Photos by Alex Zawa
Boutique Weddings and Elopements
Getting married in Paris is a wonderful idea! It is not only the city full of great sights, fashion and delicious wines, but the vibe of the capital speaks for itself! A stroll around Palace of Fontainebleau, just outside the city, a sundowner in Belleville, the hilltop district where Edith Piaf was born, a show at the Palais Garnier, and dinner at La Fermette Marboeu, where the Art Nouveau decor is as exquisite as the Grand Marnier soufflé? Paris has so much to offer – no wonder it still remains one of the top wedding destinations.
Destination wedding often means a boutique ceremony with up to 50 guests. Not everyone is able to travel abroad to see your ‘I do’. Let’s face it – it takes more than just one day. Destination weddings often turn into a wedding weekend or even a week trip! Boutique wedding ceremonies or elopements became very popular these days.
Boutique weddings might not be faster to organise – it is definitely easier to find a small venue! It could even be a boat! Elopements, and especially luxury elopements in Paris are gaining popularity. Las Vegas isn’t the only option! ‘To elope’ means to run away, but the elopement wedding is … not exactly all about running away from the fact – it is running away from the hassle of planning a big wedding! A wedding elopement is when a couple runs off secretly to get married. Some people will “elope” and have their mom, dad, brothers and sisters with them but that’s about it. Some couples simply use their photographer as the witness for the marriage register and have literally no one else there. Elopements are typically last minute, but many couples do throw a wedding party back in their countries!
Whether or not you want a chic romantic Paris wedding, elopement or a boutique wedding – you might need a professional help of a wedding planner in order to make your Big Day perfect in every aspect. The procedures are often complicated and you might not necessarily know everything about the food suppliers, florists, decorations and the venues. Whom should you talk to? It depends what you are after.
Hotel Wedding Ceremony and Reception
By looking at the photos sent to me by HELP wedding planners, all I can say is ‘Oh, it is so chic and posh’! The brand has got years of experience and has worked with a lot of prestigious brands, such as Omega, Valentino, Suavon. HELP works closely with the most prestigious Parisian mansions, museums, exclusive venues and even chateaux outside the city. Are you looking for the most covetable wedding venues in the city? HELP will help you find one for sure. The agency specialises in every wedding type you want – from huge weddings to boutique elopements. Organising a huge wedding in Paris might appear a bit tricky, but not for HELP. Their work was featured in Vogue, L’officiel, Madame as well as Harper’s BAZAAR.
HELP does not do packages for the couples. The wedding planners do tailor made events, and each every one of them is different. They claim, however, to do their best in order to spend the couple’s budget visely.
Party All Night?
Magic Flight Studio have their very own photo aesthetics. They not only do weddings but also engagements, elopements, pre and after the wedding activities for guests. As you can tell from the sample photos – it is very eclectic, colourful and one of a kind. They work with every type of couple – whether they are romantic artists or corpo workers. Why not have your ‘I do’ moment in Paris and then celebrate outside the city? At Magic Flight Studio, the wedding photograhers are capable to capture any wedding in the most… magical way! As for the price – the standard wedding package with 8 hours starts from 1850 €. As for the elopments, the cost is always tailor-made and adjusted to the needs.
Here is the honest and touchy opinion of the bride’s mother :
‘Vicki and Sam arrived home last weekend and with them came the long awaited photos of the wedding. We spent hours looking through them, re living the day and the time leading up to it. Interestingly and amazingly, we had only a few amateur photos of the rehearsal dinner and the weeding, as most guests felt it would be best to leave photography to you. It just shows how comfortable was everyone with your presence and just how professional and unobtrusive your work was.
Looking at the photos, we were all transported back to the Chateau, to the unforgettable days before the wedding and to the day itself. Your photos captured not only a given moment, but our emotions inherent in that particular moment as well, they will be timeless reminders of not only what we did, but how we felt. There is absolutely nothing staged or prearranged in those pictures, they are as natural as only the best photographers could make them.
Please allow me to sincerely thank you for the utterly dedicated and professional approach you displayed form beginning to end, for the outstanding quality of your work and last but not least for your positive attitude and sense of humour. It has been an absolute pleasure meeting you.’
I think having a good relation with a photographer is equally important to the quality of the photos! What do you think?
Paris – The city of Love and Romance
So why would you choose Paris? Paris is often described as overrated and ‘too popular’ when it comes to the wedding photos or wedding events. But is it really? Paris has got history and it is undoubtedly a beautiful city with a lot of attractions. To me, the city will always remain a symbol of love, romanticism and romance.
The majority of couples that arrives in Paris come to the Eiffel Tower. There are thousands of marriage proposals every year made at the Eiffel Tower. The 20,000 lights twinkle for 5 minutes on the hour, every hour that makes it so romantic, the location in the heart of the city, the impressive view from Trocadero Place. It is a romantic moment -try not to agree!
There is also the famous Mur de je t’aime where ‘I love you‘ is written in 311 different languages! It is located on the Hill of Montmartre, the highest natural elevation in Paris. It is a very romantic place – mainly because of the vibe. It definitely speaks for the fact that Paris is considered romantic by many people from all over the world! Montmartre is also a place of many adorable coffee shops, restaurants and photogenic corners.
To me, Paris also means fashion and an eternal style. It is like the spirit of Coco Chanel is still there.‘Paris’ means chic, elegant, stylish – exactly how the romantic couple would imagine their wedding to be. After the wedding activities are also an important matter. Paris offers a lot! From Eiffel Tower tour, Louvre Museum, Notre Dame to …. well the shopping experience at the flagship stores!
Did you know there are over 70 Michelin-starred restaurants in Paris and 10 of them are rated with three stars? It could be enough of a reason to visit the city and choose it for your big day! Apart from a very good pastry (who would say no to a French breakfast), the capital of France is also known for their iconic macaroons! The first ‘double-decker’ was made by Maison Ladurée in 1930 and still remains a symbol of a French confectionery. In 2017/2018 Ladurée macaroons made a top 5 wedding shooting requisites!