Can an American get legally married in France ?

For many romantics, the idea of eloping to Paris for an intimate wedding is the height of a fairy tale marriage. You can always find out here, in a previous blog article why is Paris the perfect place to elope

But can Americans really make this dream come true? The answer is yes! Paris, the City of Love, welcomes couples from all over the world to exchange their vows amidst its picturesque streets and iconic landmarks.

It is important to know the difference between a legal ceremony and a symbolic one : A legal ceremony requires a visit to the town hall and thus specific documents. A symbolic ceremony doesn’t take place at the town hall. It can take place wherever you want : at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, in Rivoli’s Park, or in a beautiful French castle. It also doesn’t require any documents.

However, a symbolic ceremony is not recognized by the government, neither in France nor in the USA.


Wedding Planner : CEREMONIZE


  • What is required to get married in France?

Before packing your bags and jetting off to Paris, it’s essential to understand the legal requirements for getting married in France. Regardless of nationality, couples must comply with certain regulations to ensure their marriage is legally recognized. These requirements typically include :

  • Documentation : Couples must provide valid passports, birth certificates, and proof of residency, thus residing in France. Additionally, individuals previously married must present divorce or death certificates as applicable.
  • Legal Formalities : Both parties must appear in person at the local town hall (mairie) to submit their marriage application. This process may involve interviews with a local official and the completion of paperwork.
  • Waiting Period : In France, there is a mandatory waiting period between the submission of the marriage application and the actual ceremony. This waiting period can vary but is usually around 3 months wich includes the time to process your request plus a 10 days publication of bans.
  • Witnesses: Couples must have at least two witnesses present at the ceremony, who are typically required to provide identification.
  • Civil Ceremony: A civil ceremony conducted at the town hall is required for the marriage to be legally binding. Couples may also choose to have a religious or symbolic ceremony in addition to the civil ceremony.
  • Civil marriage can be complicated for non resident in France; we offer symbolic ceremonies for American couples residing in the United States (or elsewhere). To know more about


  • How much does it cost to get married in Paris?

When budgeting for your wedding in Paris, it’s essential to consider various expenses, including:

  • Marriage License: There may be fees associated with obtaining a marriage license and other necessary documents.
  • Venue Rental: Whether exchanging vows atop the Eiffel Tower or in a charming Parisian garden, couples should budget for venue rental fees.
  • Officiant Fees: Fees for the officiant conducting the civil ceremony may apply.
  • Photography and Videography: Capturing the magic of your special day through professional photography and videography services is highly recommended.
  • Travel and Accommodation: Don’t forget to budget for travel expenses, accommodations, and any additional activities or excursions you wish to enjoy during your time in Paris.
  • Wedding Planner: While optional, hiring a wedding planner can streamline the planning process and help manage costs by negotiating with vendors and recommending cost-effective solutions.

If you still wonder how or where to put you budget on your desitnation elopement in Paris, check out our article: How much does it cost to get married in Paris ?


Wedding Planner : CEREMONIZE


  • Is a French Marriage valid in the US?

Yes, a marriage legally performed in France is generally recognized as valid in the United States. However, couples should take steps to ensure their marriage certificate is properly translated and authenticated for use in the US. This may involve obtaining an apostille—a certification that verifies the authenticity of the marriage certificate—for legal purposes.


Eloping in Paris offers couples the opportunity to exchange vows in one of the most romantic cities in the world. By understanding the legal requirements, budgeting appropriately, and taking the necessary steps to ensure their marriage is recognized internationally, American couples can turn their Parisian elopement dreams into a reality just like Alyson and Gracious


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