Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ – The Provence Officiant Singer answers your questions

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

Ariane Douguet French officiant singer English speaking celebrant in France

What is a celebrant/officiant in France?

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

Do you speak English? Do you speak other languages?

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

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

Is my wedding 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).

How to get married in France? What is the French Marriage Legislation for Foreigners?

The legal requirements for getting married in France are 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

As your symbolic wedding ceremony in France is not legally binding, your can plan it before or after a quick civil ceremony at home (to make the marriage legally binding).


For more information on marriage in France and the legal requirements :
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 and 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, church or symbolic ceremony in a beautiful location in France. The meaningful unique symbolic 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 wedding ceremony?

A civil marriage licence is required before a catholic church ceremony.

But NO civil marriage licence is needed for a symbolic ceremony.

Most couples do prefer to register their marriage at home 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 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.

Do we need to sign a contract?

Yes. I will provide this once you have decided you want to book me.

How far in advance do you take bookings?

Most couples will organise their Wedding Ceremony about 12 to 18 months in advance.  However, don’t worry: if your wedding date is sooner than that, as long as I am free on that date, I am happy to take the booking.

Do you travel?


I am based in the south East of France Provence (as the Provence officiant singer) and also Paris. As English speaking celebrant, I often travel throughout France and abroad for couples who I vibe and share the same vision with. So distance is not an issue.


If you think we would be a great match, send me an enquiry and let’s chat!

Can we personalize our ceremony?

You are unique and so will your ceremony and script be! It will reflect your own personalities, beliefs, values, traditions and style.

As a completely independent celebrant, I conduct ceremonies from the heart, holding the sacred space for you and your guests. I can blend many ideas (religious, secular, pagan, spiritual, modern or traditional) into my couples’ scripts, without imposing my own views.


You choose what to include with help from me :

  • your unique love story, how you met and what you love about each other
  • vows, exchange of consents & rings
  • music, hymns, classical or popular live songs
  • readings, poetry, speeches
  • friends, guests, your children, or even your pets may also take part in your ceremony
  • cultural or religious tradition
  • symbolic rituals (ring warming, modern handfasting, unity candle, ring warming,  breaking the glass, 4 elements smudging ritual or jumping the broom as “pagan-style” enhancements

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

Not at all. A bespoke wedding 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, ritual or hymn, that’s fine – remember, there are no restrictions!

Why choose an officiant singer to celebrate our ceremony?

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.


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 and mesmerize your guests
  • create a sense of occasion and an atmosphere of celebration

How do we know which songs to choose?

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

Most clients choose a mix of classical or light music which works very well in a glamorous French style.

Clients usually browse my repertoire list, listen to song samples, make a note of any songs they hear and like. Then, we discuss options 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 symbolic rituals
  • After the vows and the exchange of rings (the Kiss)
  • Signature of wedding certificate
  • Walking back down the aisle as husband and wife (recessional)

What if my favourite song is not on your list repertoire?

Yes absolutely. Just let me know what it is and I’ll be happy to learn it (without extra charge) as long as score and digital backing tracks are available.

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.

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 & can create a personal Homage

Do we have to write our own wedding vows?

It’s your wedding, your way!

So you can write your own vows. They 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.

But you’re welcome to use traditional recognised wedding vows if you prefer, or simply have no vows at all.

Do you offer Same-Sex LGBTQ+ Weddings?

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

Location : where can we hold our ceremony?

Anywhere you like: 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!

How long should the ceremony be?

Most ceremonies are between 45 minutes and 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.

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.

What will you wear?

I will typically wear an elegant long dress appropriate for the occasion. 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’m open to suggestions and discussing looks.

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’ll meet as many times as you wish over Googlemeet.

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 and make sure all is going to plan before your guests arrive.