Are you a bride-to-be hoping to get married in France? As a RMW ‘real bride’ getting married in France, and also a destination wedding planner and stylist based in France, I thought I would share with you some of the things I have learnt about getting married here and some of the lovely suppliers and people that I have been working with. Hopefully this will help the destination brides out there to put the final pieces of your wedding jigsaw together, or even get the ball rolling if you don’t know where to start! Feel free to leave comments below if you have any questions or need any advice finding your wedding suppliers!
LEGALLY GETTING MARRIED IN FRANCEFirstly, the legal bits, and this might come as a surprise! If you are a British citizen, it’s important to know that if you are hoping to have a legal wedding in France, you need an address in France! For both heterosexual and same sex marriages, the legal ceremony takes place in the mairie (town hall) and this must be the local town hall where either one of you, or your parents, have an address or ties to. If you do meet these requirements you can legally get married in France but as with many things French, there is a lot of paperwork including getting birth certificates professionally translated which can be a bit of a drag! As a result of these laws, many couples who have a destination wedding in France tend to do the legal ceremony in their home town beforehand and then have a second religious or secular ceremony in France. The rules vary a little from town to town on having this symbolic ceremony actually in a church, but again, it really helps if you have a link to that church or can bring a priest that knows you with you! Symbolic outdoor ceremonies are also very popular.
ENGLISH SPEAKING CELEBRANTLuckily for us, Olivier and I do qualify for the civil ceremony in our local mairie in Bidart, our beautiful hillside Basque village, so we are doing that a couple of days before our wedding day with a smaller crowd. Then, for the symbolic ceremony on the wedding day itself, we have found a totally lovely and bilingual celebrant based near Bordeaux, Sandie Smith. Sandie Is English but has lived in France for over 30 years and is very willing to travel for your ceremony. I am excited to get writing the vows and we have confidence that Sandie will make the words of our wedding ceremony very special! My nearest town is Biarritz, but as French Bague-ette, matures I am starting to work with suppliers all over the South West of France. It’s often a case of finding the right supplier to fit with my clients needs, so sometimes I have to look a little further afield and the contact list expands...
CREATIVE WEDDING SUPPLIERSI’d like to share with you some of my most favourite suppliers that I have found. Firstly, hugely talented photographer Marine Marques. I love Marine’s approach, to capture ‘wild love & light’ For me there is a presence of nature and emotion in her work which I find beautiful. Marine would be an excellent choice if you are looking for a photographer in the South West area. These photos are of a styled elopement shoot in the Basque mountains that Marine worked on.
Also hugely influential in the region are Ruban Collective. They are a creative wedding collective consisting of planners, a photographer, hairstylist, stationery designer and amazing florist, Lady Brindille. Lady Brindille is the queen of cool when it comes to flower arranging, known for her signature ‘twiggy’ style and beautiful wreaths. Check out her instagram here. Other exceptional florists in the area are Berry based in Biarritz. They are open minded innovators currently working on a pampas grass installation for a cliff side wedding I’m planning. I am also totally in love with the ‘flower truck’ from Loreak Kalean! And speaking of trucks we mustn’t forget the fantastic food trucks available! Super cool Nacho Libre to bring Mexican midnight snacks when your guests get peckish after all that dancing! Or how about La Roulotte for some cool vintage caravan styling! For photobooth fun check out Wild Stories with their wooden camera, caravan photo booth with changeable backgrounds and fun accessories packs! Lastly, for hair and make-up, it has to be Whitney from Le Brushing or beauty agency By Jodie who have a team of talented English speaking beauticians for your destination weddings all over Europe.
I hope the wedding planning is going well for all you beautiful brides and that some of this has been helpful! I would love to answer any questions you have, so feel free to ask away in the comments below. Please do also follow my wedding planning story @french_bague_ette :) Lou x