Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any questions concerning your wedding, elopement or vow renewal celebration in France, you can first have a look at the FAQs below, maybe you already find our answer there or you just contact me – I would be happy to help!

wedding celebrant in France aria

What is a celebrant?

A Celebrant is a professional independent officiant who writes and delivers a custom made Wedding Ceremony with rituals – as a bespoke alternative to a regular registrar or church service – in a way which is personal to you & reflects your beliefs, philosophy of life and personalities.

Is my secular ceremony in France legal?

Celebrant is not currently a legal entity in France : a legal marriage contract must therefore be signed before the Maire (France).

What is the Marriage Legislation in France for Foreigners ?

The legal requirements for getting married in France are quite complex and can be particularly difficult for non residents.

  • A civil ceremony is the only legally binding type of ceremony possible in France
  • Civil ceremonies can only take place in the Mairie – city hall
  • There is a residency period of 40 days immediately prior to a civil ceremony taking place
  • You may only have a religious ceremony after a civil ceremony has taken place, either in France or in your own country

For more information on marriage in France and the legal requirements :
French weddings : A guide to getting married in France

The legal implications of getting married in France

Marriage Requirements: How to Get Married in France

What’s the easiest option for a destination wedding in France ?

I  simply recommend that couples consider this as their main option. It removes, indeed, all of the  strong administrative & legal complications of the French system.

As a solution, most couples will usually have the short civil wedding in their own country of origin or residence to meet local legal requirements.

Then they hold a second, religious or secular ceremony in a beautiful location in France. The meaningful bespoke secular ceremony that I create for you and your loved ones will be forever remembered as your Wedding Day.

Should I be legally married before I have my secular wedding ceremony?

No civil marriage licence needed for a symbolic ceremony.

Most couples do prefer to register their marriage before the symbolic secular wedding ceremony.

However, if you would prefer to register your marriage afterwards, that’s ok too.

We don’t want to legalise our marriage at all, is this allowed?

Yes. A symbolic secular wedding ceremony is not a legally binding ceremony.

It’s about celebrating your love and relationship in a way that is special to you.

If you wish to confirm your committment to each other without legal ties, then that’s not a problem.

In which language will you perform my wedding, elopement or vow renewal ceremony?

As your French English speaking celebrant, I can write and perform your ceremony in French, in English or both English & French.

I have basics Italian and German if you want me to incorporate some parts for you in these languages.

Why choose a celebrant singer to perform at my wedding?

Live singing is a special treat for you and your guests. It helps make your service more personal, memorable and romantic. Music is said to be the universal language of mankind and wedding singing presents the opportunity to :

  • bring all your guests together to capture the moment
  • make your wedding unique and distinctive
  • include songs and lyrics that are meaningful to you
  • add character or spirituality to the ceremony & create a special memory as a surprise gift to your guests
  • create a sense of occasion & an atmosphere of celebration

How do I know which songs to choose?

It depends on your personal preferences & what is appropriate for your style of wedding.

Most clients choose a mix of classical or light music which works very well.

Clients usually browse my repertoire list, listen to song samples, make a note of any songs they hear & like & discuss options with me before deciding.

I can also make suggestions/recommendations for you.

When should you sing during the ceremony?

The possibilities are endless it is really up to you but here are a few suggestions …

  • Prelude music
  • Processional music
  • Bridal Entrance (walking down the aisle)
  • Musical reflection, inserted anywhere you feel appropriate – after a reading for example
  • During a ritual – Lighting of Unity Candle
  • The vows and the exchange of rings
  • The kiss
  • Walking back down the aisle as husband and wife (recessional)

Are you able to sing specific requests?

Yes absolutely. More often than not I’ll learn a song specifically for a wedding. I enjoy learning songs & it’s a part of the service I provide.

My brother / friend wants to perform during the ceremony: can you accommodate this?

Absolutely. I understand weddings are about family and people coming together to celebrate with you. Where possible, I would always accommodate a guest performer.

What do you Allow in your Ceremony?

Anything goes, in fact the more creative, the better!

My ceremonies reflect your personality, your beliefs, your values, your traditions & tell your unique love story, how you met and what you love about each other:

  • You choose what to include with help from me.
  • Symbolism and readings can be spiritual or religious to acknowledge your own beliefs.
  • Modern, traditional or a mixture of both.
  • Symbolic rituals (ring warming, hand-fasting, unity candle, a rose ceremony, breaking the glass…)
  • Friends, guests, your children, or even your pets may also take part in your ceremony
  • Hymns, classical or popular live songs

Will you include poems or a reading into our ceremony ?

Your ceremony is completely bespoke and you are limited only by your imagination. if you wish to have a friend or family member read a poem then that’s a lovely way of bringing close people into your ceremony.

Can we include our children in the ceremony ?

That’s a great idea! I have many suggestions for involving children depending on their age. We also have experience of including children where two families are joining.

Location : can I hold my ceremony outdoors?

Yes. Anywhere: indoors in hotels, châteaux, homes or national monuments – outdoors, on a beach, at the park, by a lake, up a tree, in the forest, on a mountain, in your own garden, on a boat… The options are endless. It may be wise to have a back-up plan for wet or windy weather though!

Do you offer Same-Sex Weddings?

Yes! I am proud to offer Wedding Ceremonies for any couple of any sexual preference or gender orientation.

Does it matter what culture, faith or religion I am?

No. The content of your wedding ceremony is not restricted to any culture, faith or religion.

If you wish to also incorporate a cultural or religious tradition into your ceremony, you can.

I’m not a Christian, and my partner is of a different faith, does this matter ?

Not at all. A bespoke Celebrant ceremony is not restricted to any culture, faith or religion. However, if you wish to add a religious aspect to your ceremony, even a simple prayer, blessing or hymn, that’s fine – remember, there are no restrictions!

When can I hold my ceremony?

I will celebrate your ceremony on any month, day & at any hour you choose.

How long should the ceremony be?

Most ceremonies are between 30 minutes & one hour but this is up to you – depending on the size of your audience, if children are involved, and how many ritual, readings & songs are included.

Can I write my own wedding vows?

Yes! You can do this yourself. Your vows can be as sweet, silly or sentimental as you wish. You will have guidance from me throughout the whole process to offer help if you need it.

Do we have to write our own wedding vows?

Not if you don’t want to. You’re welcome to use traditional recognised wedding vows if you prefer, or simply have no vows at all – it’s your wedding, your way!

I’m very shy and hate public speaking…

I want you to feel as comfortable as possible on your wedding day.

You can read the vows yourself, or repeat them line by line after your celebrant, or simply say “I do” – whatever you prefer.

A family member or friend has passed away, can we remember them in our ceremony?

Yes. I will ask you if there is anyone you would like to give mention to when you meet & you may wish to include a photo or keepsake on a nearby table.

What will you wear at the ceremony?

I will typically wear an elegant long dress appropriate for the occassion. I always make every effort to co-ordinate as best I can to your bridal colours & styles, so tell me what colours your bridesmaids are wearing, what flowers you will carry, and the theme of your wedding, so I can fit in as best I can.

If you are working to a very specific theme for your wedding, I will even be happy to consider alternative options to meet your requirements.

Will we meet you before the ceremony?

I will meet with you a few months or weeks before the day to discuss your plans in full. If we can not meet in person, we can meet over Skype.

Will we be able to have a rehearsal before the ceremony?

Yes. For all weddings, I will offer to hold a rehearsal with you the day before the wedding, or on the day itself. A full rehearsal can be just what is needed for a beautifully choreographed ceremony and for calming last minute nerves.

Depending on the ceremony location this may come at an additional expense to cover travel.

Do you have a PA System?

For small ceremonies in south of France, I can bring my own PA system. It requires no electrical power so it can be set up at any location.

In other cases, I need you venue or DJ to provide a microphone and PA system for the ceremony.

When will you arrive at the venue?

I always arrive at least 2 hours before the ceremony. I’ll check the sound, rehearse & make sure all is going to plan before your guests arrive.

We are planning a destination wedding abroad, can you help?

Absolutely – please take a look at the Destination Weddings page for lots more detail. Contact me direct to discuss your destination and plans, and I will provide you with a specific quote based on your intended location.

What regions do you travel to?

I am based in the south East of France and Paris but I also travel across Europe and abroad. So distance is not an issue. So if it’s a destination wedding you’re after, take a look at the page for more details.

When should you have a Vow Renewal Ceremony?

You can renew your vows at any time but most couples choose a particular stage in their lives:

  • As part of an important anniversary celebration
  • Every ten years
  • After the birth of a child or grandchild
  • Around a life changing event such as retirement As a renewed commitment after a difficult life period
  • When you realise just how in love you still are!

What happens at a Vow Renewal Ceremony?

Anything you request, it’s a celebration of your relationship – so we’ll celebrate in your style!