This is a guest post by Gladsy Gozon.
Getting married in another country takes the stress to an entirely different level-- that is especially in France. You have to brace yourself to find the long list of requirements, wondering where on earth you can find it, most of which you can’t even read and pronounce. I swear I kept telling myself na ‘hindi madali magmahal ng afam lalo na ng French’ all the time. That’s coming from a Filipina who is now married to a French guy (that’s me!).
Okay, just to give you a brief background, we’ve been based in Djibouti (a country in East Africa in case you’re not familiar) for 1 year because of his work. This is also the country where we got married. It’s complicated, that’s for sure. But I’m here to guide you all throughout the process.
For this post, I’ll tell you about everything you need to know about getting married to the love of your life who happens to be a Frenchie. :)
REQUIREMENTS FOR MARRIAGE
Before leaving the country, make sure you have ALL these documents (this link won’t be very helpful as it is in French haha but I’ll make sure to write all the important details here). These must be submitted within 4 weeks prior to the date of marriage. These will be asked of you and your partner:
1) Copie De L’Acte De Naissance. This is your Birth Certificate from the PSA. Make sure that it is free from any clerical error. This must be 3 months old for the French partner;
2) Certificat De Celibat. Certificate of No Marriage from the PSA obtained within 3 months before marriage;
3) Copie De La Carte D’Identité. Passports together with your valid Schengen/French Visa for the Filipino Spouse;
4) Copie Du Jugement De Divorce ou Act De Deces. If you’re divorced or your ex-spouse is already deceased, then you must be able to show a Final Judgment certifying the Dissolution of Marriage or your ex-spouse’s Death Certificate;
5) Justificatif Du Domicile. This could be your Billing Statement (water, electricity, etc.), Bank Statement or Billing Invoice of wherever you are living in the country where you plan to get married;
6) Justificatif De Nationalite Francaise. French ID for the French partner; and
7) Prenuptial Agreement, if any. It is common to have this so don’t feel offended when your partner asks you to sign this document.
Remember, other documents might be asked of you depending on your circumstances. Also, some embassies may require more documents.
DOES THESE DOCUMENTS NEED TO BE TRANSLATED?
Yes, and you should never leave the country without having everything translated into French. For official translations, go to Alliance Français Manille. Having all these documents translated could cost you a dime so get ready to shed out some cash! (Sabi sa inyo hindi talaga madali magmahal ng French haha)
WHERE CAN WE GET MARRIED?
You can get married in a French Embassy located anywhere in the world or in the mairie (aka Town Hall) where either of you resides or where you have a family.
WHAT IS THE STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE?
I can’t give a definite answer for this as it really varies from every embassy and mairie. Some can be very complicated (like ours) but some are not. It is best to call them to know more about this.
IS IT TRUE THAT THERE ARE TWO WEDDING CEREMONIES IN FRANCE?
It depends on you. A Civil Wedding is always mandatory even before proceeding to a Church Wedding (the latter not being required). So kahit atat na atat ka na lumakad papunta sa altar, hindi pwede dahil kailangan dumaan ka muna sa mairie!
CAN WE HAVE A CHURCH WEDDING SOMETIME AFTER THE CIVIL WEDDING?
Definitely! You can have it at any time you want although most French couples do it on the same day.
IS SAME SEX MARRIAGE ALLOWED?
Yes. It has been allowed in France since 2013. However, note that you cannot have a same-sex marriage in an Embassy where the host country doesn’t allow it. (Host country pa din ang boss. Wit pwede sa Pinas mga teh!)
WHAT IS A WEDDING CEREMONY LIKE IN FRANCE?
It is pretty much the same in the Philippines except that you have to go through the mairie and it is more expensive!
DO I NEED TO HAVE A VISA TO GET MARRIED IN FRANCE?
Of course! In our case, I applied for a long-term visa after we got married in Djibouti.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS PRIOR TO MOVING TO FRANCE?
I have a couple of ‘I wish I knew’ ever since I got here. At one point in your life, you might be moving to France so I’m leaving you very important things you have to consider:
1. Learn french. This is Rule Number One and take it seriously. You’ll survive with english if you’ll live in Paris or in any major cities but I’m telling you, you wouldn’t be able to get a decent job unless you speak french fluently.
2. Prepare yourself for the worst. This is career-wise. Try taking a course which could get you anywhere in the world, for example: Teaching english, Childcare, Culinary, etc. This is my biggest regret! I took up Bachelor of Laws in the Philippines and now that I’m here, I couldn't even make use of it! I’m still on the process of looking for a job and all I can find for myself is babysitting or femme de menage (househelper). (I hope I find something better)
3. Work on your english accent. France is a country where most expats live so you’ll be competing against Native English Speakers from the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, etc. and also bilinguals. In fact, most schools and kindergartens require English Teachers to be a native english speaker. If you can practice the accent, I’m sure you can get away with this requirement. (Honestly, this is what makes things harder for me. I can write and speak english fluently but I still don’t have that American or British accent)
4. Stop converting. France is a very expensive country so don’t even attempt to convert unless you want to have a heart attack. Haha!
Mahirap magmahal ng afam lalo na ng French but if your love is real, then it’s worth it. I always complain and I can’t help it sometimes to ask bakit hindi na lang sya naging Amerikano o British! I get this kilig at natatauhan ako everytime I just hear my husband saying ‘Don’t you think it’s gonna be easier for me too if I have chosen a French girl?’. When you feel like giving up, always remember na hindi lang ikaw ang nahihirapan. I swear sa Visa Application pa lang suko na ako nung una but look where we are now! Anyway, if you’re on this page, I assume that you’re planning to get married. Wishing you all the best ❤