What you need to ask yourself before planning your wedding in France.
Firstly congratulations, you’re engaged and now planning your wedding. Welcome to this incredible adventure! Getting married in France is a dream, with beautiful scenery, delicious food, and warm weather…. What’s not to like?! Planning a destination wedding can be a big undertaking, and you should really have a good idea of what you are getting into. If you do it right, it’s exciting and the trip of a lifetime for both you and all your guests!
Getting married in France is a beautiful and culturally rich experience that blends tradition with romance. From its breathtaking landscapes to its intricate ceremonies, France offers a unique backdrop for couples looking to tie the knot. Here are ten important questions to consider when getting married in France.
1. Am I ready for the adventure?
Most of you readers might be based in the UK or USA, and you already know that the culture and language are vastly different. When it comes to planning a life event involving a lot of your savings, it’s important that you are ready for it. You may have difficulty communicating and you won’t be around, easily, to meet all your suppliers; so, it’s important that you do your research and feel comfortable with the process.
2. When should I start planning the wedding?
Eighteen months is a perfect time to start planning your wedding. You’ll get a good range of suppliers available and better prices (before they increase the following year). France is very popular and some venues and suppliers get booked two years in advance. Having said this, you can also do it in a few months, things might just be a bit more full-on.
3. Can I get legally married in France?
To get married in France, you need to have been a resident for 41 days or have your parents live in the town where you’re getting married. Considering you’re unlikely to live in France for the rest of your life, why get married under a regime that doesn’t fully apply to you? It seems wiser to get married in your country of residence and it gives you a good opportunity to have another little party to celebrate!
4. What is my priority for the wedding, venue, food, music, and decoration?
You probably want it all: dream venue, great music, delicious food and to-die-for decorations, and why not?! Although France is cheaper in lots of areas, you still need to work on your budget before starting. Do your research on local prices as they vary between countries! Your biggest spend is likely to be on catering and the venue so think carefully about the overall wedding experience you want to have before sending your invitations. You might need to be pragmatic about where your money will go. If you spend wisely, you’ll be able to get the wedding of your dreams!
5. Are there differences in prices between the various regions?
For couples on a budget who contact me, I often share my experience of working in all the South of France, from vineyards in Bordeaux to Chateaux in Provence. South West France is generally cheaper than South East. Provence and the Cote d’Azur are extremely popular, the cost of living is more expensive and therefore suppliers tend to charge more. I am a great believer in paying the right amount for the right service and I always share my experience with my couples from the onset of the planning to make sure they choose the area that best fits with their ambitions. Having said this, there are plenty of ways to have a reasonably priced budget in an expensive area. Local knowledge, mid-week, and off-season weddings can help you save lots.
6. In which part of France do I want to get married?
You may have some preferences in some areas based on your experience or the feel you want for your wedding. There are other pointers that will help you define the area. Do you prefer rolling hills and mountains or lavender fields? Do you want a more unspoiled nature feel or the more popular coastlines of the East side? Another way to look at it is your budget. If your budget is an important driver, you may want to look at South West France which offers cheaper options than the East.
7. What kind of experience/venue do I want?
An important question to start your research is to know the kind of experience you want. Do you want a vineyard or a rustic chateau? Do you want to be there for a few days and treat the place like your home or would you prefer more of a chateau experience that you’ll only get once in a lifetime? The more prepared you are, the more targeted and efficient your search will be.
8. Should I go for a fully-inclusive venue or source my own suppliers?
When you start looking, you’ll find venues that offer a fully inclusive package with catering, decorations and some photographers, celebrants, etc… On the other side, you’ll also find venues that just rent out their spaces where you’ll need to organise everything. Although it’s more work to source all your suppliers, it will give you greater control over who you hire, their style of services and their cost.
9. Do I want or need a planner?
If all these questions before getting married in France seem a bit overwhelming, it is a good idea to hire a planner from the start. She/he will take you through all these questions to plan your dream day. There are many planners in France so how do you choose?! As a wedding is such a personal event, find a planner with whom you have good chemistry as you’ll be talking a lot to each other! You can also do some research on their portfolio and the type of weddings they’ve organised before. Is it the kind of wedding you want?
Planning a wedding can be a stressful experience so it’s important that you choose a planner who can take on the pressure before and on the day. Do they have proper experience in planning weddings?
Another really important point is the language of course as you are planning a wedding in a language you may not speak. Although lots of planners speak a little bit of English or French, it’s important that your planner has an excellent level of both languages so you can discuss subtilities you may want; and so they can relate to local suppliers. It could become frustrating if you can’t communicate properly with your planner and suppliers.
Make also sure that they don’t take any commissions from suppliers and only recommend them based on their good services and professionalism.
Check out wedding planners in our Directory
10. How much is it going to cost?
The cost of a wedding in France can vary significantly based on various factors such as location, guest count, and preferences. On average, however, a wedding in France can range from €30,000 to €50,000 or more for a luxury wedding. Provence tends to be more expensive due to higher venue and vendor costs. Venue rentals, catering, and entertainment can make up a significant portion of the budget. Additional expenses include attire, photography, decorations, and transportation.
Couples looking for more lavish affairs with extensive guest lists, luxurious venues, and elaborate decorations can easily surpass the average range. Conversely, those aiming for smaller, intimate celebrations such as an elopement in less expensive locales may find ways to keep costs lower. To achieve a dream wedding while staying within budget, careful planning, prioritization, and researching cost-effective options are essential.