Please excuse the slightly long, heavy sounding title of Dossier de Mariage: Legal Documents for getting married in France… I have to admit that it does not sound fun, romantic or beautiful, as anything marriage related ought to be!
However when dealing with French administration, you will soon find out that the French take their paperwork very seriously, and there is little room for fun there. It could be worse though, you could be getting married in Italy and they love their paperwork even more! However, I am here to help.
As I am personally dealing with the delightful Dossier de Mariage for my own wedding in France, I have set out below a checklist of the required legal documents, for you to consider when preparing your own wedding in France. I have also elaborated when required as to the exact nature of the specified documents. So bear with me, we can most definitely get through this!
Before we go on to the checklist, I will assume that you have already gained permission to get legally married in France. If you need further advice on this first step, make sure you read my previous article here on what you need to do..
During our last trip to France, the Mairie gave us a little handbook called Guide des Futurs Epoux. It contains most of the legal information surrounding French weddings, set out under the following chapters: “Useful Information”, “Information on Family Law”, as well as a Checklist of the documents you will need to provide.
If you haven’t been provided with this booklet, I would advise you to request one from the town hall/Mairie that will be marrying you. I must warn you it is not written in plain English (or rather plain French…) so if you are not fluent in French you may wish to seek assistance from someone who is.
Now, concerning the checklist itself… To help you along with this task, we have created a printable checklist for you, which you can download here: Legal Documents Required for French Wedding – French Wedding Style. Right, are you ready? Grab yourself a cuppa and let’s go!
|Birth Certificate // Copie Intégrale d’Acte de Naissance||This must be a full certified copy of an entry of birth (the names of the parents must be stated).If the certificate originates from France, it must be less than 3 months old from the date of the wedding.If the certificate was delivered out of France, for example in the UK, then it must be less than 6 months old from the date of the wedding.|
|Proof of address // Justificatifs de Domicile||Similar to proof required for the UK, this can be a Council Tax bill, Bank Statement, etc. One must be submitted for both the bride and the groom, although a joint document may be used if featuring both names on it.|
|Proof of ID // Preuve de l’Identité||Similar to proof required for the UK, such as a copy of your passport.|
|Certificate of No Impediment // Attestation sur l’Honneur||This can be obtained by British nationals from their local registry office.If you are a French national, or have dual nationality, as long as you have a French ID, you may not require this from the UK. Instead you will need to fill in a French form provided to you by the Mairie.|
|List of Witnesses // Liste des Témoins||You will need a minimum of two witnesses, up to a maximum of four.They will also need to provide proof of address and ID, specifically providing their first names, surnames, date and place of birth, occupation and address. They must all be over the age of 18.|
|Where the groom and/or the bride are not French…||In the case of British nationals, all documents must be translated, and their translation must be verified by a solicitor registered with the Law Society in the UK.The document is then submitted to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to be apostilled.Make sure you allow time for this to take place and to be able to submit your documents within the required six month period.|
|Certificate of publication and non-opposition // Certificat de Publication et de Non-Opposition||These will be provided by the Mairie once they have received all of the above documents.|
|For those who already have children…||You will need to inform the Mairie of this, as well as produce the children’s birth certificates, dated less than 3 months old from the date of the wedding.Alternatively, you may provide them with a copy of your Livret de Famille if you have one.|
|If one of the parties is a widower…||A death certificate of the former spouse must be produced, or a birth certificate confirming the death.|
|If one of the parties is divorced…||In the case of British nationals, a Decree Absolute, along with its translation in French (which can be legalised as well).|
|Where a Contrat de Mariage (Marriage Contract) has been made….||You will require a Solicitor’s certificate where you have set up a Mariage Contract / prenuptial agreement.|
I would also say that, if at any point you are not sure how a certain document applies to your personal circumstances, or what you actually need to do next, always contact the relevant Mairie at your earliest opportunity to clarify this with them. If you are able to, try and speak with them on the phone as from experience, the French like to keep their emails short and sweet which isn’t always ideal when you want to make sure you’re not getting things wrong (and I know, I’m French!).
I would also advise you to check with the Mairie when they would like the Dossier by. In our case, the Mairie is closing in August so they need the documentation by early July at the latest. So there you are.
I have a full on giant folder complete with dividers and everything else you can think of to remain organised and make sure I don’t miss anything out. Although I have just over five months before my wedding, I can’t help but occasionally feel a little panicked about it all… But ultimately as long as I follow the above checklist, all should be fine!
Did you get married in France? Did you personally deal with Dossier de Mariage or did you have a wedding planner dealing with it for you? Or perhaps you are currently putting together your Dossier as we speak? I would love to hear from you and your experience!
- French Embassy in London – http://www.ambafrance-uk.org/Civil-marriage-in-France,12146
- UK Government website – https://www.gov.uk/marriage-abroad/y/france/marriage