Getting Married in France

chateau_miniGetting married in a chateaux in France sounds very romantic and is very romantic. However it does have its complications. There is a manditory 40 day residency requirement prior to the wedding so this often makes couples look to other countries for their dream wedding.  Only civil weddings are legally recognised in France, so religious ceremonies have no legal standing. If you want to marry in a French church then you will also have to go through a civil ceremony at another venue. A lot of couples consider having a civil marriage at home and then a religious wedding in France.

However if your heart is set on France as the country you want to start your married life in well this is what you need to know:

At least one of the partners to be married must reside in the place where the wedding will take place for at least 40 days immediately prior to the wedding. One or both of you must reside in the departement (district) or the arrondissement (if in Paris) for at least 30 days prior to the marriage. Following these 30 days, French law requires the publication of the marriage banns at the Mairie (Town Hall) for 10 days. Thus 40 days is the minimum period of residence before a civil ceremony can take place.

Non French nationals must provide the following before the banns can be published:

1. A pre-marital certificate, which is obtained at the Mairie (town hall) where the wedding will take place.
2. A certified birth certificate issued less than six months prior to the date of the marriage
3. A passport (carte de séjour)
4. A certificate of residence (provided by your embassy)
5. A prenuptial certificate of health (certificat d’examen médical prénuptial) issued less than two months prior to the date of the marriage by a medical doctor after: serological tests for syphilis, irregular anti-bodies, rubella and toxoplasma. It is possible to have these tests done in France.
6. If you have married previously, a certified copy of the death certificate of the deceased spouse or a certified copy of the final divorce decree
7. A notarised “Affidavit of Law” (Certificat de Coutume), drawn up by a solicitor in the state of residence of the parties, stating that: the person is free to marry, and the marriage performed in France will be recognized as valid in the home country.
8. A personal certificate of celibacy (provided by your embassy)
9. The documents must be translated into French. The translations and the original document must be verified by the French Consulate General (vérification de traduction).
10. Foreign documents must be legalized prior to being given to the French authorities. Obtaining an Apostille can legalize documents.
11. On arrival in France, you should contact the Mairie to see if any other documents are required.

A minimum of four weeks may be needed to complete the necessary documentation and to reserve the wedding date and location. The Wedding Planners Castle Guide 2009 features a number of chateaux’s available for weddings.

Re-Marrying in Ireland if you were Previously Married

The Wedding Planner in Ireland thinks the best way to give you this information is to give you the official line from the horses mouth! (ie. The Wedding Planner doesn’t have a horses mouth we’re talking about relevant Irish government department!).

coupleRe-marriage of persons who have been previously married:

If either party has been married previously, it is necessary for that party to produce either a Divorce Decree (Absolute) or a Death Certificate, as appropriate.

If either of the parties to a proposed marriage were previously married this fact should be brought to the attention of the Registrar of Marriages at the time that the written notification to marry is being given by the parties to the proposed marriage.

In the case of a divorce granted by a Court of another State the following procedure applies. If the Divorce Decree is in a foreign language, an English translation of the Divorce should be provided, duly certified by a relevant official body or recognised translation agency. In the case of a foreign divorce, consideration is given to the question of whether the divorce is recognisable under Irish law. In this regard certain information as to place of birth, countries of residence and other relevant facts must be supplied on a questionnaire provided by the Registrar. The information is then forwarded to the General Register Office, whose consent must be obtained before the ceremony can take place.

In the case of a divorce granted by the Irish Court the Court decree in relation to the divorce should be presented to the appropriate Registrar of marriages at the point in time when the written notification of intention to marry is being given by both parties.

It should be noted that a distinction exists between nullity, separation and divorce and the broad distinctions are outlined below:

  • if no valid marriage existed in the first instance a decree of nullity may be sought from the Irish Courts – a civil decree of nullity means that the first marriage had no legal effect and the parties concerned are free, in civil law, to marry.
  • If a valid marriage is in place and a couple separate (by judicial means or by agreement) re-marriage of the parties concerned is not permitted;
  • If the parties to a valid marriage subsequently divorce (and this divorce is recognised by this State) the parties concerned may re-marry in civil law.

The procedures involved in seeking decrees of nullity, separations or divorces are a matter for the appropriate Courts and Registrars of Marriage do not have any function in regard to those procedures. Contact should be made directly with the appropriate Courts Offices.

It should be noted that an annulment granted by the authorities of the Roman Catholic Church does not have any effect in civil law and persons who have obtained a church annulment only are not free to remarry in civil law.

For more information about Irish weddings or weddings Ireland see 

What Happens during a Greek Wedding Ceremony?

greek-wedding1Although there is a great variety of local customs throughout Greece, the Greek Orthodox wedding ceremony, has remained the same during centuries. It consists of two main parts which both have religious significance: The Betrothal Service and the Marriage Ceremony.

The wedding begins with the Betrothal Service at the door of the church and is completed before the altar table. The bride and the groom stand at the vestibule of the church in front of the priest who asks them if they come of their own free will. Then, he leads the couple to the church and they stand in front of the altar table. The priest blesses the rings and the best man places them on the right ring finger of the groom and bride. Best man is known in Greece as “Koumparos” (male) and “Koumpara” (female). He/ She exchange them three times between the couple, symbolizing that their lives are entwined forever. The priest will seal the rings on their finger by chanting a pray and placing his vestment over their crossed hands.

Afterwards, the Marriage Ceremony begins with the priest giving the bride and groom lighted candles which they hold throughout the ceremony. Nowadays, instead of holding the candles, most couples prefer to have two big candles standing on the ground. The lighted candles represent the Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, Who will light and bless the couple in their new life together. The ceremony continues with the crowning of the couple. The priest holds the wedding crowns, known in Greece as “stephana”, and makes the sign of cross with them three times over the bride and groom. The wedding crowns are linked together by a ribbon, representing the joining of two souls and that the couple is ready to create their own household, their own “kingdom”. The groom and the bride kiss the crowns before they are placed on their heads; the best man switches the “stephana” back and forth three times.

Once the couple is crowned, Bible readings will be chant about the responsibilities and duties of marriage. The bride and groom drink red wine from the same cup and eat honey with nuts from the same spoon, which signifies that the couple is ready to share happiness and sorrow together. The red wine symbolizes the blood of Jesus Christ. Then, the priest will lead the bride and groom around the altar table three times while he is holding the Bible in his hands. In Greece it is called “The Dance of Isaiah” and symbolizes that the couple will follow the Word of God as they start a new life while the circular dance represents the eternity of a marriage, there is neither a beginning nor an end. During the “Dance of Isaiah”, the guests throw rice and rose petals to the couple to wish them a happy and long-lasting marriage.

At the end of the ceremony, the priest lifts the crowns from the heads of the couple and uses the Bible to uncouple the joining hands of the bride and groom, representing that only God is able to divide the couple.

After the ceremony, the newlyweds thank all the guests for their presence by distributing “bombonieres”, a party favor which contains an uneven number of koufeta (sugar-coated almonds), symbolizing that the couple can not be divided. Usually a reception follows where the newlyweds dance the first dance of the reception and later there are accompanied by their families.

Walking Down the Aisle – Step or Bio Father?

The Wedding Planner in Ireland Advises:

A dilemma that often comes up now when planning a wedding is who will walk the bride down the aisle. Although traditionally it’s the father that does this, the commonality of step-families in todays world has made it a more difficult decision. This is especially true when the step parents have been in the children’s lives for a long time.

Breaking tradition A bride that has both a step father and a biological father may opt still to have her biological father walk her down the aisle. This can be a way to show her family bond as well as stick with tradition. In the case of a bride that hasn’t been close to her father, she may opt to have her step father walk her down the aisle. This is a newly emerging sight at weddings, and quite touching. Of course, if the bride loves both of the men and wants to include them, there’s nothing wrong with having both walk her down the aisle. It honors her relationship with both men and lets them have the chance to hold her arm.

 This also holds true for the groom. He can choose to escort both a step mother and his biological mother down the aisle at the beginning is she should choose to. Or the best man can do so, as is tradition. If the father has passed on, the bride may opt to have an older brother or an uncle walk her down the aisle. Likewise, if the mother of the groom has passed, then a sister or an aunt may want to walk with him.

While this all seems like a loving and simple solution to include everyone in the wedding, some parents may still have issues with their ex-spouses. And this can lead to bitter feelings about your choice in who walks who down the aisle. Should you fight for what you want? That’s entirely up to you. If walking with both fathers makes you happy, then you should do that even if the opposite wives are not pleased for whatever reason. If you feel that it may cause more trouble than it is worth, then you may opt to stick with tradition. Just be sure to include your step father in some other part of the wedding so he doesn’t feel left out because of biological status.

In the end, remember that it’s your day and your decision.

Wedding Vows

 The Wedding Planner Ireland advises: austria_kaprun_wedding_jamesmichelle_07.jpg A “wedding vow” is a set of promises you and your groom make to each other during the wedding ceremony. You may choose a traditional, a religious, a customized, an interfaith, a multilingual, the possibilities are endless.


In Western culture, the wedding vows customarily included the notions of unselfishness such as -love-, faithfulness -forsaking others-, unconditionality -in sickness and in health-, and permanence -until death do us part.  During your vows at the very least you must have an officiant and witnesses present. Traditionally, the groom pronounces his vows first, followed by the bride. The order can be changed; there is no law that sets the order in which the vows said. It is possible for the bride and groom to say the vows in unison to each other. Usually the couple will face each other and join hands for their vows. In some countries there are set things that have to be said to make the marriage legal. Some churches may frown on the idea of you writing your own vows so be sure to discuss it with the celebrant well in advance. If you are unsure about the wordage of your vows, ask your friends, family, and the officiant for some examples they’ve used in the past. Sample Vows: I, (your name), take you, (your name), to be my [opt: lawfully wedded] (husband/wife), my faithful friend, and partner and my love from this day forward. In the presence of God, our family and friends, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow. I promise to love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals, to honour and respect you, to laugh with you and cry with you, and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live. I, (your name), take you, (your name), to be my friend, my lover, the (mother/father) of my children and my (husband/wife).I will be yours in times of plenty and in times of want, in times of sickness and in times of health, in times of joy and in times of sorrow, in times of failure and in times of triumph. I promise to cherish and respect you, to care and protect you, to comfort and encourage you, and stay with you, for all eternity. Remember that you and your groom can say different vows.

Quick Guide to Wedding Ceremony Music

Prelude, Processional, Resessional… confused? The Irish Wedding Planner’s Quick Guide to wedding music should have you sorted in seconds!


tiara.jpgCeremony music includes:

The Prelude: As the guests arrive and are seated, they’ll hear this music, designed to help create the mood and set the tone for the entire event.


Processional: An indication to the guests that the event is starting, this music usually has an even beat (you’re not looking for a beat to dance to, just walk to!) This music will continue as each of your attendants walk down the aisle. As the bride begins her walk down the aisle, the music changes again.


Ceremony: Some ceremonies are held without music; others feature a soloist, duet, or just a favorite song—whatever you like.

 The Recessional: Marking the end of the ceremony, the recessional music is played as the wedding party—and the new husband and wife—leave the ceremony.

The Postlude: As the guests begin to leave, the music turns to the postlude, a background music similar to prelude music.

Kiss the Bride -Wedding Vows

kiss-bride.jpgThe Wedding Planner in Ireland advises: If you have always imagined your wedding ceremony a certain way it is important to tell the celebrant. Take time to write notes before hand and while taking the celebrants recommendations into consideration do push for  what you want.


If you have always imagined saying ‘I DO’ well tell the celebrant that is what you want to say as a lot of pre set vows say ‘I Will’ which doesn’t sound as romantic to a lot of people. Also tell the celebrant if you want him to say ‘I now pronounce you husband and wife, you may kiss the bride’ directly after the vows as this is not always said automatically.


I have often been to weddings (not ones I have coordinated!) and after the couple have mumbled their vows to each other the celebrant goes directly into the next section of the ceremony leaving the audience and the sometimes the couple wondering if they are officially married yet.


 The kiss gives a great photo opportunity, makes you feel more relaxed now that the vows are finished and gives the guests a chance to clap!

Saying Your Wedding Vows

celtic-sealing-vows-at-wishing-stone.jpgThe Wedding Planner ireland advises: One thing I always say to couples is to try and memorises your vows before the wedding day. Practice saying them out loud in front of the mirror or to a teddy! So many couples get caught up in planning the minutest details of their day and overlook putting time into the most important thing of the day – the time you both declare your undying love for each other and go from being friends to officially becoming related!I always cringe when I see a couple with their head stuck in an order of service booklet stumbling over the most important words of their lives, when their eyes should be glued to each other and the words said with meaning and passion. Most brides imagine the time of their vows to be like a film set and if you are one of them treat it like a movie scene with both of you having the lead roles! All actors and actresses learn the lines before hand of the all important scenes so be sure you do too – and make it an Oscar winning performance – unlike a movie you don’t get to do retakes.

Mixed Faith Marriages


pink-turbans.jpgThe Wedding Planner Ireland advises: You’ll know long before you start the wedding plans if your faiths are different from one another so this shouldn’t be a shock. And you may have already begun how you want to deal with this. It doesn’t have to be a problem; rather, it can be a great way to create a new ceremony for the both of you. 

Deciding to convert 

Before deciding to convert to one religion or another, you want to take your time to discover why you’re doing it. Do you truly want to convert to another religion or do you just want to make your spouse and his or her family happy? This is a very honest discussion to have with your self and there aren’t any good answers, except for the ones that are true. 

If you feel that converting is a good decision for you, then by all means, go ahead and take the steps needed. Many times, you’ll have to take classes and speak with the religious head well in advance of any wedding plans.

The trick is not to feel pressured into converting. And with all of the emotions attached with a wedding, some families may have trouble accepting someone of a different faith. If you believe that you want to remain the faith that you are, you should do so. And if your spouse is trying to coax you into converting, you may want to hold off on the wedding as well. This is a very personal choice, and it needs to be made by the individual, not everyone else. 

A dual faith wedding It’s actually very easy to have a wedding that incorporates two different faiths. Sit down and see what each faith requires at the wedding and then talk about how you can compromise to make sure all is proper. You may want to have the wedding in a non-denominational setting so that you don’t have the ‘home court advantage’ for one faith or another. You may also decide to have two different ceremonies weaving in and out of one another, combing elements of both faiths. This really shows the commitment to each other and to the separate faiths. 

You may also want to have two different ministers or one denominational or have a civil ceremony that is legally binding without the emotion attached to either denomination.

Wedding March Music

aisle-flowers.jpg Whatever the reason, some brides often look for other options. These days, two alternative pieces get overused: Pachebel’s “Canon in D” and Purcell’s “Voluntary,” which is also attributed as “The Prince of Denmark’s March,” by Clarke. This became wildly popular after Princess Diana used it in her 1981 wedding to Prince Charles.

Whatever you choose you have to have a short theme as the musicians need to be able to stop the music in the right place. Maybe try “Eleanor Plunkett,” by Turlough O’Carolan, paired with “Skyeboat,” a traditional Irish piece, as a processional, then “Hewlitt,” also by O’Carolan, as a recessional if you are a couple “who want to dance out of the aisle.”

March alternatives: Processional

• Apothesis/Tchaikovsky

• Doxology

• Hymn Fanfare from The Triumphant/Couperin

• Fanfares/Sir Arthur Bliss

• Fantasie in C/Franck

• La Cinquantaine (for the flower girl)

• March from Aida/Verdi

• March Nuptiale/Allan Caron

• Sarabande from Suite {nldr}11/Handel

• Sinfonia (Wedding Cantata)/Bach

• Theme from Fifth Symphony/Tchaikovsky

• To a Wild Rose/MacDowell (for the ushers)

• Wedding March/Guilmant

• Wedding Processional/(“The Sound of Music”)


• Air in D/Handel

• Allegro Maestoso in D/Handel

• Bell Symphony/Purcell

• Hornpipe (Water Music)/Handel

• Processional/from Xerces/Handel