Good Morning and how was your Christmas? To all those newly engaged couples who are considering planning a wedding in France, no fear as we have the perfect post for you from our resident wedding planning expert, Fabienne, owner of Elian Concept Weddings and Events, on the first steps to getting married in France.
First Steps to Getting Married in France
For all the couples newly engaged over the festive season, a big congratulations and if you are dreaming of a French wedding, here a few steps to take before starting the planning process.
Photo source: Etsy
Step One: Share and celebrate!
The news of your engagement is wonderful, so don’t refrain from shouting it to the world, though hold on until you have announced it to the most important people in your life. Ok, this is not only for French weddings, however if you are seriously considering getting married in beautiful France, the sooner you inform your close relatives and friends, the better. Then celebrate and take some time to embrace your new ‘fiancé/e’ status. Why not book an engagement shoot? It will make a perfect souvenir of this precious time.
Photo credit: Alixandra Gould Photography
Step Two: Envision your wedding day and set your priorities
In my opinion this is a key step, as it will define a number of important elements of your wedding planning, for example the region of France you would like to hold your celebrations. The country offers such a variety of locations, from countryside and vineyards to mountains and beaches, not to forget cities and venue types from chateaux and barns to chalets and yachts. Take a look here to discover your ideal French wedding locations. Another example is the type of ceremony you envisage (religious or symbolic) which may have an influence on the location and the venue. If you want to get officially married in France, be aware of the legal requirements. This article gives some interesting insights into the regulations.
Knowing very early on which style of wedding you are dreaming of, will help narrow down your options, saving time and effort at a later stage.
This is also the moment to discuss your priorities as individuals and as a couple to ensure your wedding reflects your personalities and tastes. Forget trends and fashion. Just be you. So for now move away from Pinterest. I know, the temptation is hard to resist but whilst it is a wonderful source of inspiration, it is also a time sucker and can send you in unrealistic territories. Leave it for later and focus on what is important to you and your fiancé(e).
I believe if you work on this step, the rest will flow much easier.
Step Three: Work on the figures
Carefully estimate the number of guests you would like to invite, starting with the people you ‘must have’ and don’t assume because it’s a destination wedding, you will have less acceptances. Of all the weddings I have organised in France, very few had less attendance than initially anticipated.
Evaluate the budget you are prepared to allocate to your wedding and remember to include transportation and accommodation, as there are likely to be more travel and more days to account for than for a wedding in your own country. As the two are connected, balance this figure with the number of guests on your draft list to roughly check it is realistic. You will need to have a good idea of both numbers, because they will affect every decision you make starting with your wedding venue.
You might find it difficult at this stage and feel that it is spoiling the excitement, but trust me it’s worth the effort to save disappointment and frustration moving forward.
Step Four: Look at dates
Unless there is a specific reason to decide on a date right now, try to remain flexible. To keep as many options as possible during the venue search, choose a season or a month rather than a precise date. The worst thing is to find that your favourite venue is not available on the date you have set.
In any case, give your guests plenty of notice. There is usually more arrangement to plan for a destination wedding.
Step Five: Consider seeking professional help
Organising a wedding is exciting but time consuming, and it’s something most couples will have never done before. It is therefore understandable that the thought of organising a wedding abroad is daunting. So if you have already a busy life and time is a scarce resource or if you are worried to have to deal with venues and suppliers based in France, you may decide to get help from a wedding planner. Here some guidance on how to choose your wedding planner.
Step Six: Start planning
Now it’s time to search for your ideal wedding venue and you may find it helpful to use my ‘Top 35 questions to ask your destination wedding venue’ list.
Photo source: Etsy
As you are at the beginning of your wedding planning journey you may also consult my ‘Guide to getting married in France’. I hope it will give you some useful advice along the way.
Wishing you all the best with your engagement and beyond!
FABIENNE IS OWNER OF ELIAN CONCEPT WEDDINGS AND EVENTS, WHO IS A BI-LINGUAL WEDDING PLANNER WHO IS AVAILABLE FOR WEDDINGS THROUGHOUT FRANCE. FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT: WWW.ELIANCONCEPTWEDDINGS.COM
Top Image: Photo source: Etsy