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The Skinny on Getting Married in Paris
What could be more stylish and romantic than a wedding in Paris? With the rise in popularity of destination weddings and the thriving hospitality industry that caters to them, Paris has become as viable a destination option to the newly engaged as a wedding on either coast of the United States. Unfortunately, alongside the fairytale images of a Parisian wedding is the harsh reality of miles and miles of administrative red tape.
One of the biggest obstacles for you love-struck couples who want to get married in Paris is that in order to be legally wed in France, at least one of you needs to have lived in France, in the district around the city hall in which you plan to get married, for a minimum of forty consecutive days before the wedding. This includes the additional ten days for the city hall to publish the bannsa public announcement that is put up in the city hall for ten days before your marriage that lists your names and your wedding date so that any estranged husbands or wives have one last chance to find you before you’re married off.
Before asking for that sabbatical from work, though, you should know that this one little detail is actually a pretty big one. In order to prove residency, you’ll need to show two separate official documents that show your French address (called a justificatif de domicile) such as a gas or electricity bill, a rent receipt, a French social security insurance card or a car leasing agreement. And just in case you’ve got the bright idea to rent an apartment in Paris on a short-term lease in order to meet this legal requirement, you need to know that it could take several months before you receive some of those documents.
If you’re not able to rent your own apartment, another option is for you and/or your honey to move in with a friend or relative in your desired district, and have that person sign an attestation d’hébergement sur l’honneur. This is a statement swearing that you have been living in that person’s home, and that they take full responsibility for you if you happen to be an illegal truffle trafficker or something. There is a ton of small print attached to this document, including a huge fine and a short trip to the guillotine if it’s ever found out that you were not, in fact, living with them. Know that this is a pretty big favor that you’d be asking of someone.