Administratives procedures to do before getting married

Un mariage intime à La Baule - Photos : Fabien Courmont - Blog mariage : La mariée aux pieds nus

As all the brides-to-be recently engaged, you can not wait to begin the planning of  your big day, and you’re throwing yourself into the search for inspiration for the D-Day. But not so fast! Before all of that, you have to make all the administrative procedures relating to your wedding. This is it them which will define the date and time of your ceremony, and could definitely start this great adventure. So today, we tell you the procedure to follow to make your steps with confidence.

Where to get married ?

The city where you will getting married can not be chosen at random, just because you find that the small town hall of this village in the south of France is really cute. Your civil wedding can only be celebrated in a town in which you or your lover have lasting ties, directly or indirectly. So you can choose to getting married in your city of residence, in a town where you own a home, or in a city inhabited by your parents, grandparents, in short a relative who binds you by blood ties.

Prenuptial agreement or not ?

You do not necessarily have to make a prenuptial agreement to get married. If you don’t, you will be subject to the community property regime. In this case, each of you retains ownership of the property he acquired before the wedding, which he inherited or was given by somebody. On the other hand, all the things that you will buy together during your marriage will compose what is called “the community”.

But some brides and grooms may also decide to adopt a marriage contract with maintenance of separate property. This system makes it possible to separate the assets of the married couple, especially when one of them has a”risky” professional activity. This prenuptial agreement must be established before a notary prior to your filing of the marriage record. You can, however, decide to change the marriage regime after your wedding (2 years after).

Choose your witnesses

Before starting any administrative procedure with your city, you must choose your witnesses. Even though this choice is often a choice of the heart, which proves to your best friend how important she is to you, it is also a prerequisite for the celebration of your wedding. The bride and the groom must have at least one witness present on D-Day to certify their identity and the conformity of the wedding. Be careful, your witnesses must be of age and able to enjoy their civic rights.

When do you have to file your marriage file at the town hall ?

Your marriage file with of all the administrative documents is to be submited to the municipality of the town in which you decided to get married. It should preferably be submited 6 months before the date of your day J.

The original and a photocopy of the ID of the bride and the groom.
Proof adress.
Information about your witnesses (names, first names, date and place of birth, profession and home, copy of their identity document).
The complete copy of the birth certificate of each groom (less than 3 months old for French people, 6 months for foreign people).
In case you have entered into a marriage contract with a notary, the certificate of the notary.

If you are divorced, you must provide the proof of the dissolution of your previous wedding by delivering to the town hall a copy of the divorce decree, an extract of your birth certificate mentioning the divorce or an extract of marriage certificate . If you are widowed, you will also need to provide proof of your spouse’s death, with a birth certificate or the family record book containing the mention of death.

After submitting all these papers, you will be summoned for an audition with the registrar, at the end of which, you will finally be able to publish your banns, essentials to be able to celebrate your union. If you do not live in France, or if one of you is abroad, you can contact the embassy or consulate of the country in question, which will take care of the hearing.

Publish your banns to announce your wedding

If you want to get married in secret without anyone knowing it, forget it ! Before the D-day, wedding notices are posted outside of the town hall chosen for the celebration, as well as in the town halls of the municipality where you are domiciled. These celebration notices indicate the name of the couple, their professions, home, and the place of the wedding.
They are the banns, which are posted at least 10 days before the day of the celebration.

How to getting  married abroad ?

You may want to get married out of French territory, because your dear is from an other country, or just because you want a change of scene. But as one might expect, abroad weddings require administrative procedures a little more advanced than weddings on French territory.

Your wedding may be celebrated by the local ambassador or the competent French consul in the country where you are getting married (in most cases, this option is limited to French nationals). You can also be married by the local registrar, but in this case, the marriage is not automatically recognized in France. It will therefore be necessary to transcribe your union on theFrench civil registers, so that your marriage is valid. But each country has its particularities in terms of administrative procedures, and each French embassy or consulate is not authorized to celebrate all types of marriage. Therefore, inquire to the consulate of the country concerned, on the marriage arrangements in the country, and the administrative documents to provide. And if you do not want to bother with these procedures, why not getting married civilly in France, and organize a secular ceremony abroad?

In any case, inform your guests very early, for organizational reasons, but also financial questions. Depending on the destination chosen for your wedding, transportation costs may be important, and if you do not offer the trip to your guests, they will have to provide a budget dedicated to it, and that was not necessarily expected. So give them time to organize, and to be sure that all their papers are in order to travel, including their passport and ID card, and have them renew if it is not the case. Other important details will also be taken into account in organizing a wedding abroad, such as the choice of accommodation, providers, so feel free to go to the article “Planning a wedding in a small committee abroad “to guide you!

One of you is a foreigner: how to get married in France?

As for a wedding between two persons of French nationality, your spouse must not be married in his country of origin, and must provide the proof to the civil registrar with a certificate of celibacy, as well if he is widowed or divorced. It is also necessary to provide an original birth certificate and another document attesting to the French administration your partner is an adult, single and it was not under guardianship. These last documents are to ask from the country of origin of your future spouse, enough in advance to be in time for filing your marriage file in France.
Of course, your marriage must be a mutual desire, and the registrar who validated your file on your audition will be particularly sensitive to that point. If he has any doubt, he can ask for an additional individual audition.

If your spouse does not reside in France, the mayor of your municipality will forward his file to the consulate, which will be responsible for publishing the banns in his country of residence. It is from this moment that the bride or groom-to-be will be able to withdraw a certificate of publication of the banns from his town hall, to obtain his visa to come to marry in France (for foreigners outside the EU). If your spouse is from a country that is part of the European Union (or if he or she is Swiss), he can come to live and work with you in France in the same way as you. After 5 years, he will be able to obtain a permanent right of residence. On the other hand, things are a bit more complicated if your spouse comes from a non-EU country. After your wedding, you will be able to benefit from a one-year renewable residence permit, by applying for a private and family residence permit (to be obtained from the French consulate if he still lives abroad, and from of the prefecture if it is in France). After three years, he will obtain a resident card for a period of 10 years if he makes the request. From five years of marriage, he can obtain his right of permanent residence in France, and ask for French nationality if he wishes.

And if you have any doubt about all the administrative procedures concerning your civil wedding, do not hesitate to inquire with the competent administrative authorities, they will certainly be able to inform you!

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