Before we get into the details of a destination wedding in France, a few definitions first:
A destination wedding is a wedding that takes place in a location different from where the bride and groom. Or where their families live. It’s often a special location that has sentimental value to the couple or simply a beautiful place they’ve always wanted to visit. Destination weddings can be a great way to combine a wedding with a vacation. They can also create unforgettable memories for everyone involved: the couple, the family and the guests.
A destination wedding in France is a wedding in one of the romantic destinations that France has to offer. From the beautiful cities of Paris, Nice, and Bordeaux to the charming countryside and picturesque coastlines, France offers a wide range of stunning locations to choose from for your wedding.
One of the common misconceptions that we encountered with clients planning a wedding abroad is that they think it’s very complicated. It can be, but only if you don’t know where to start. Here is a fun framework to use. Grab a glass of wine (or a cup of coffee if you’re at work) and read on.
The best time of the year to have a destination wedding in France depends on the region and the couple’s preferences. Generally, the summer months of June, July, and August are popular for weddings in France due to the warm weather and longer daylight hours. However, some regions, such as the French Riviera, can be crowded during this time. Spring and fall can be good options for milder weather and fewer crowds. Winter weddings can also be romantic, especially in mountainous areas, but may require more planning due to potential weather complications.
When choosing a region for your destination wedding in France, consider your personal style and preferences. Close your eyes and picture yourself holding hands during your wedding ceremony, surrounded by your closest friends. Are you looking for a romantic setting with stunning views? Consider the French Riviera or the Loire Valley. Do you love the countryside and want a rustic, country wedding? Look into the Dordogne or Burgundy regions. Are you in love with Paris? Then perhaps a Parisian venue might be the right option.
Paris is a popular destination for weddings because of its romantic atmosphere, stunning architecture, and rich cultural history. The city is known for its beautiful parks, charming cafes, and iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower. Plus, with its world-class cuisine, excellent wine, and high-end shopping, Paris offers a luxurious experience for couples and their guests.
Normandy is an ideal location for a destination wedding for many reasons. It is a beautiful region with stunning landscapes, picturesque towns, and historic landmarks. Normandy also has a rich cultural heritage and is known for its delicious cuisine and world-renowned wines. Additionally, it is easily accessible from major cities in France and Europe, making it a convenient and attractive destination for couples and their guests.
Brittany is a popular destination for couples looking to have a unique and memorable wedding experience. With its stunning coastline, charming villages, and rich cultural heritage, Brittany offers a perfect blend of romance, history, and natural beauty. The region is home to many picturesque towns, such as Saint-Malo, Dinard, and Quimper, that provide a beautiful backdrop for wedding ceremonies and receptions. The region is also famous for its historic landmarks, such as the medieval town of Dinan and the ancient megaliths of Carnac.
Burgundy is a wonderful location for destination weddings because of its beautiful scenery, rich history, and world-renowned cuisine and wine. The region is known for its charming villages, rolling hills, and picturesque vineyards. The area is also home to many historic chateaus and castles, which make for stunning wedding venues. In addition, Burgundy is known for its gourmet food and wine, which can add a special touch to any wedding celebration. Burgundy is also home to many local wineries, which can be a great addition to any wedding celebration. Guests can enjoy wine tastings and tours of the vineyards, and even take home some of the region’s famous wines as souvenirs. This unique experience can make a destination wedding in Burgundy even more memorable for everyone involved.
The Loire Valley, with its stunning châteaux, picturesque countryside, and rich history, makes for a truly beautiful and romantic destination wedding location. Whether you’re looking for a grand, opulent affair or a more intimate celebration, the Loire Valley offers a range of venues and settings to suit your needs. From elegant country estates to historic castles, there’s no shortage of stunning locations to choose from. Plus, the region’s renowned food and wine scene is sure to delight you and your guests.
Provence is an ideal wedding destination due to its stunning natural beauty, warm climate, and rich cultural heritage. The region offers a wide range of venues, from charming chateaus to rustic farmhouses, and its picturesque countryside and quaint villages provide a romantic backdrop for any wedding. Additionally, the renowned Provencal cuisine and wine make for a delicious and unforgettable experience for wedding guests. Provence is also famous for its sprawling lavender fields, which make for a stunning and unique wedding backdrop. The vibrant purple hues of the lavender fields provide a beautiful contrast to the bride’s white dress and create an unforgettable atmosphere for the ceremony and photos. The best time to travel to Provence for the lavender fields is between mid June to early July.
The French Riviera offers a unique and picturesque backdrop for weddings, with its stunning coastline, Mediterranean climate, and charming towns and villages. The region also has a rich history and cultural heritage, which can add depth and meaning to a wedding ceremony. Additionally, the French Riviera is known for its luxurious amenities and high-end hospitality industry, making it an ideal destination for couples looking for a luxurious and romantic wedding experience.
It’s also important to consider the logistics of your wedding. If you have guests coming from all over the world, you may want to choose a location that is easily accessible by plane or train. Paris is a popular choice for this reason, as it has multiple airports and is well-connected by train to other parts of France. Actually, the busiest airports in France are: Paris Charles de Gaulle, Paris Orly, Nice Airport, Lyon Saint-Exupéry and Marseille Airport.
One factor to consider when deciding between an intimate wedding and a big wedding in France for a destination wedding is the number of guests you want to invite. If you want a more intimate and personal experience, you may want to opt for an intimate wedding with fewer guests. However, if you have a large and close-knit group of family and friends, a big wedding may be more appropriate. Other factors to consider include the location, budget, and the overall vibe you want to create for your special day.
From our experience, the “overall vibe” is the atmosphere, mood, and style that you want to create for your wedding. This can include the decor, music, dress code, and overall aesthetic. For example, a couple may want a relaxed and bohemian vibe for their destination wedding, while another couple may prefer a more formal and elegant vibe.
At this point, you should be able to have a clear idea about what your magical French destination wedding will be. You have chosen the region, set an approximate date, thought of the big picture of logistics and you know how many guests you are inviting.
The next big step is to start looking for venues and hiring French wedding vendors. While the steps up until now where fun, the next ones will take a lot of time and some might not be as fun as you’d expect.
My experience after photographing events since 2013 is to think about hiring a local person to give you a hand. The wedding planner will act as your local contact, will be able to visit places and give you first hand feedback. Then, the event planner can help you sourcing vendors and organize the day of logistics. This way you can focus on truly enjoying your wedding day.
Some examples of what a wedding planner can do for a destination wedding in France:
If you think that you can handle these tasks by yourself or if you have someone already on location who can help, then it’s not necessary to hire a wedding planner.
We are a team of professional wedding photographers available in France, who deeply care about weddings. Traveling all over France to capture beautiful souvenirs is one of our passions. We would love to create beautiful souvenirs of your special day. Please explore our team of world renown artists and choose the photographer that fits your vision the best.
If you are wondering, who can get married in France, then I’d recommend checking out our guide about getting married in Paris. Basically, you need to reside in France for at least 40 days before being able to get married in France. We recommend that non-French citizens have a civil ceremony in their home city before or after their French wedding, as it is very difficult for them to get legally married in France.
The easiest way to have a destination wedding ceremony in France is to have a symbolic wedding ceremony. This ceremony can be performed by a Celebrant in France or a friend. Another option is to get married legally in your home country and have a religious wedding ceremony in France.
The civil marriage performed in France is a legal status recognised in all EU countries although this does not fully apply to same-sex marriages. When it comes to the United States, the US Embassy in France says that: “A marriage performed in France is generally recognized in all states. However, treatment of a same-sex marriage, while legal in France, differs from state to state.”
For foreign citizens, the documents that are required by most French city halls (mairie in French) are:
Read the guidelines for marriage on the US Embassy’s website for more information about how to obtain the documents above.
We are creating a complete list of wedding venues in France that will be available soon. The main take away of our research is that when deciding and looking for a French wedding venue, keep in mind two points. There are different types or categories of wedding venues (we’ll detail below) and then there are venues in each main region of France. The regions that we have just explored a few paragraphs above.
They couples who wish to get married in Paris to enjoy a one-of-a-kind wedding experience in a historic and elegant setting. These palaces offer a range of wedding services, including catering, floral design, and photography, to ensure that your special day is unforgettable. The most famous of Parisian Palace wedding venues are: Shangri-La Hotel Paris, The Peninsula Paris, Hôtel Plaza Athénée Paris, Hotel de Crillon Paris and many more. To find more Parisian palaces, please explore the complete guide of Paris wedding venues.
A French chateau is a type of wedding venue typically found in the countryside of France. These venues are often historic buildings, such as castles or estates, that offer a romantic and elegant setting for weddings. They may also offer on-site accommodations for guests, as well as catering, floral design, and photography services. Chateaux in Normandy, Brittany, Burgundy or Loire Valley all offer unique experiences as they are located in different regions with their own distinct culture, landscape, and history. For example, chateaux in the Loire Valley are known for their grandeur and opulence, while those in Brittany may have a more rustic and coastal charm. Burgundy offers a more intimate and romantic setting, while chateaux in Normandy may offer a mix of countryside and coastal scenery. Then, the south of France is known for its sunny weather, beaches, and beautiful coastline, so a chateau wedding in this region could offer a unique experience with a more Mediterranean feel.
Vineyards offer a picturesque setting with rolling hills, stunning vineyards, and natural beauty all around. Vineyards typically offer on-site accommodations for guests, making it convenient for everyone to stay together during the wedding festivities. vineyard wedding in France is a unique and unforgettable experience that combines natural beauty, excellent wine, and exceptional hospitality. The vineyards in France are known for producing some of the world’s most excellent wines, making it a perfect destination for couples who love wine and want to share that love with their guests. The main regions to host a vineyard wedding are: Bordeaux (known for its world-famous red wins), Champagne (famous for its sparkling wine), Alsace (known for the white wines) and Loire Valley (known for beautiful chateaux and vineyards). All these four places offer breathtaking views of the rolling hills and charming villages.
Venues offering outdoor receptions. When it comes to the regions, the south of France has milder temperatures throughout the year. However, every other region can accommodate an outdoor wedding during the warm months (May to October).
In France it is possible to rent a church or an Abbey as a wedding venue. They offer a beautiful setting for a religious wedding ceremony and can be a breathtaking historic setting for a wedding. One thing to keep in mind is that many churches and abbeys in France are historic buildings and may have strict guidelines for weddings. This includes limited availability and certain restrictions on decor and music.
Luxury wedding venues on the French Riviera are often located in historic buildings, such as chateaux, villas, or palaces, that offer a unique and elegant setting for weddings. These venues often have beautiful gardens or terraces with stunning views of the sea, and may offer on-site accommodations for guests. Additionally, the French Riviera is known for its high-end cuisine and wine, making it a popular destination for food and wine enthusiasts. We are working on a complete guide of venues on the French riviera. Meanwhile, we’d like to mention that the top luxury wedding venues on the French riviera are: Chateau de la Chevre d’Or, Hotel Cap Eden Roc, Villa & Jardin Ephrussi de Rotschild.
If you are wondering what type of services are included in destination wedding packages for France, here is a list to start with:
This means that wedding packages tend to include several services and are opposed to having a dedicated wedding planner to create a bespoke event for you.
The big advantage of a wedding package is that you have all services included. This takes away a lot of stress, as well as budget related issues.
The main downside of opting for a wedding package for France is that you don’t have control over the quality of the vendors and services included. So it’s up to you to decide whether an all-inclusive wedding package for France or a bespoke event is what fits better with your vision of the wedding day.
As we covered in the part about the legal aspects of getting married in France, it’s very easy to have a symbolic wedding ceremony in France. Thus, having a destination wedding in France is very easy. However, the fact that it is complicated or nearly impossible to legally get married in France is a fact.
Are wondering: is it cheaper to get married in France? It can be. Think about it. If you are having a destination wedding, then you’ll probably cut down the guests list a lot. Given that the venue and catering are a big part of your wedding budget, reducing the number of guests will reduce drastically your wedding costs.
If you are considering a traditional wedding in France with a large number of guests, then it will probably be costly. If you are opting for an intimate wedding in Paris or other regions of France, then it might be cheaper to get married in France. However, if you plan to elope to Paris, then it’s totally possible to make it happen with a very attractive budget.