BECOMING MADAME | Getting Married in France | My French Civil ceremony

It's the typical kind of thing that makes
my french partner be like oh they're so old school and I'm like wow so French I
love it! Salut YouTube if you guys have been
following me on Instagram you'll know the news – je suis madam! I
announced that I was getting married this summer in Avignon in France and it
happened and it was awesome and yeah it's another life in France
experience to add to the list I guess amongst the many that I seem to be
collecting like Pokemon or something but if you're subscribed you may be thinking
that that video didn't come out so long ago like wow that was quick it already
happened so yeah we decided to get married four months before it happened so it was quick for us too! Neither of us were really interested in the
traditional wedding ceremony you know with the big dress and the cars
and the cakes and the expense and the one year of planning and all of those
kinds of things.

If I have the same amount of money I'd far rather spend it on
traveling or experiences so once we basically decided that it's what we
wanted to do we were like well we might as well get on with it and do it, so
that's what we did. So in this video I just want to take you through a little
bit around the preparations and the lead-up to the wedding how that all
worked and the day itself of course and some of my kind of culture shocks about
getting married in France and yeah what it means for me now in my life in
general. The lead-up to this was pretty quick but as I said four months
and we needed to get all of the paperwork ready and all of that kind of
thing. So as a foreigner it's kind of tricky to get married here but
definitely not as bad as I was expecting.

So we basically knew that the first step
would be to give our application to get married to our town hall in France. What
you've got to know about getting married in France is that the only place you can
get legally married in France is in your town hall in the Mairie, so you may want
to get married in a church and you may want to get married in a vineyard and
you may want to get married at a castle you can have a party on the
moon for all they care but you won't be actually getting married if that makes sense. So the first decision you might think is
which Mairie do you want to get married at? And unfortunately for you you can't
choose the cutest Mairie that you've ever seen you know we can't all go to
Hotel de Ville in Paris to get married you need to go to your local Mairie, so your local town hall is either where you live or where at least one of your
parents live so for us we had the choice between the 9th arrondissement in Paris, Avignon or Marseille for us.

We barely hesitated, the obvious
choice was Avignon, it was where my partner grew up, it's where his dad lives
and we're actually super lucky because on top of his day job his dad actually
works part time for the Town Hall and he's actually able to officiate wedding
ceremonies so his dad was able to marry us which was so cool and so we started
getting all of the paperwork together to have our appointment in Avignon and we had the appointment I think two months before the wedding. The absolute minimum is 40 days and the reason for this is that anyone who gets married in France
needs to have been living in France for at least 30 days by the time they
publish the marriage banns and then the marriage banns need to be published for a
further 10 days so it's 40 days minimum.

So as far as French
administration goes, gathering all of our documents for the dossier was relatively
straightforward we did have one problem with the documents I needed translated.
It's just one tip if you're preparing to get married yourself
is that the translations have to be done by an official translator based in
France for some reason that's very important that they need to be
physically based in France. So we turned up for our interview as I said it was
about two months before the wedding you don't actually want it to be much
earlier than that to be honest because in France their birth certificates
expire every three months which is just a concept that blows Expat's minds
because how can your birth certificate expire, the informations never gonna
change?! But actually in France they add life events to a birth certificate
so it's not just your birth certificate but it's your life certificate if you
ever have a civil union if you ever get married if you get divorced if you have
kids all of that kind of thing so basically your documents like birth
certificates are only valid for three months anyway in the eyes of French
administration so you don't actually want to be organized and have your
interview five months in advance because then you're just gonna have to bring all
the new documents the next time anyway so that I would say two months was about
perfect so what we did is that we emailed all of the documents through in
advance so that they had sort of a digital copy this is when they told us
that the translations weren't gonna work so it was a very stressful and very
expensive week getting those redone again in France but we got them done
and time for the interview and so the interview is there basically to judge
firstly if you have a complete file (dossier) and then of course
there's also like a judging if this is a genuine relationship or not and it was
at this meeting that I learned that I'd be the very first New Zealander to be
getting married in Avignon France! I've never been the first something
before I don't think you know like the first ever to do something so I was
like yeah.

You also have to make a few decisions in the interview like whether
or not you'll be exchanging rings with one another because this is a legal
ceremony so that kind of thing is really considered as an added extra which
they'll have to account for timing wise and everything so our dossier got
accepted and we were given our projet de marriage, our marriage project, which says
who's getting married who are the witnesses so you need to have at least
two witnesses and a maximum of four, the date the time and all of that kind of
thing so the wedding itself was at 4:30pm in the afternoon and the ceremony I
think was about 15 to 20 minutes long I think the shortest possible ceremonies
are like 5 to 10 minutes long it's literally when people get in, they read
the civil codes from the law, say yeah you're married and then they get on
their way basically and then you've got the longest possible
of ceremonies where you know people do speeches and they do speeches to each
other and there's lots of photos being taken and all that kind of stuff but
basically you get a 30 minute slot maximum so you've got 30 minutes to get
in, get married, get out.

For our particular ceremony, it started with a beautiful speech from my partner's father that just had me crying and crying and then you get on
to the obligatory part which every French wedding has to have which is
reading the civil codes out loud and these are things like article 236.8 you will both be implicated in the raising of any children that you have
and you know it's this kind of quite old-school legal kind of thing I noticed
that there were a lot of mentions of children so it felt very old
school it's like oh now that we're married we can have children, can we? So
it's very very protocol focused and the codes get read, you get asked if you
accept and agree and you say "oui" hopefully and then you're declared
married basically and you need to go and sign your marriage certificate and your
witnesses need to go and sign the marriage certificate as well and it's
over relatively quickly but then after doing that can you do the extra stuff
like we exchanged rings for example.

It was almost like you had the the peak of
the ceremony because it was like voila you're married and everyone's applauding
and everything and then you exchange the rings and you take photos and so on and
then you basically leave the room and you let the next couple who's waiting
outside to come in and it's their turn. One of the super cool things about
getting married in France is you get the Livret de Famille It's like a marriage passport it has your
names and details and date of birth and all of that kind of stuff in it, it's got
the details of all of our parents in there it's got all of these pages so
that you can write down the names and details of any children that you may
have so it becomes a kind of yeah like family passport!
It's the typical kind of thing that makes my French partner go like 'Oh so
old-school' and I'm like 'wow so French I love it!' then after the ceremony
we went back to my partner's dad's house he's got a lovely countryside house in Avignon.

It was very simple, we cooked the meal ourselves for all of our guests, my
friends and I made the cake and we also bought like a miniature pièce montée as well, we put beautiful like fairy lights and lamps and things in the trees and if
you've seen my Instagram then you'll see that I bought lots of balloons lots
and lots of balloons and blew them up with helium so I had balloons and some
decorations and things like that but it was it was like a simple garden party at
home. We realized pretty early on that it's a huge ask to ask our New
Zealand friends and family you know they've got jobs they've got kids
they've got their their lives going on with such short notice to just take their plane tickets come all the way to France and we didn't want to put
that kind of burden on anyone or that financial burden on anyone so what we're
doing is that we're going to replicate kind of in New Zealand and we're going
to have a an awesome party and stuff with the family over there.

Our parents
and everything have already met so it's absolutely fine. So we've already had our French day which was amazing and then we'll have the New Zealand day as well. And then afterwards we had a one week honeymoon in Corsica, France and
then we're going to go down to Queenstown in New Zealand. So that was the day, so glad it happened, really cool, also glad that we don't have to do it again
because there was a lot of planning even if you want to have like a really simple
day and you don't want to have you know hundreds and hundreds of
people there it still ends up being the same that you can't possibly speak to
everyone the time just flies by it's emotional there's a lot going on.. it's a really happy day but also it's like oh cool let's move on now let's be married
that's cool.

So what does this all mean for me now because I've had a lot of
people getting confused saying that oh you know you you're French now or like oh
you get your French nationality now and that's definitely not how it works!
Getting married in France doesn't give you the French nationality I can apply
for French nationality through marriage four years following the date of marriage
it doesn't matter how long we've been together beforehand but what it means is
that I now have access to a spouse visa so I can come in and out of France
without much hassle and that makes my life easier in a lot of ways and then
when you get married in France you have the option to either take your partner's
name as a woman so replace your surname with their name or you can both carry
both names if you want to but the default is that you just keep each of
your names separately that's what we'll still be doing for now.

I definitely will
consider changing my name one day when I have a reason to or and I feel like it's
the right time but for now we're not in any rush and we don't have any sort of
impending need and honestly I just don't want to deal with all the administration
like new passport and new documents and all that kind of stuff so for now I'm
staying as I am and we'll see what the future brings.

So that's it for this
video guys if you have any comments or questions about my experience about
getting married in France feel free to ask me down below or on Instagram as
well because I do answer all of my Instagram DMs, that's a promise. Until
then I'll see you guys in the next video! Bisous et à bientôt!.

As found on YouTube