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Home / Ceremony / Civil Wedding Ceremony – Before The Religious Marriage

Civil Wedding Ceremony – Before The Religious Marriage

Civil wedding ceremony, a must before the religious marriage, civil marriage, celebrated by the mayor, is your official union before the law.

Civil wedding ceremony can also be the marriage alone if you do not want to marry religiously. This is a very important step not to be overlooked that requires some preparation. brings you the necessary clarifications.

Terms of civil marriage

Here are below the five essential conditions to be met for your civil marriage is possible:

  • The groom and bride must be at least 18 years.
  • Fiancés must be single
  • The engaged couple must be of the opposite sex
  • Engaged couples should not be bound by family ties.
  • To marry a direct ascendant, or a descendant, Or with a brother or sister, uncle or aunt, niece or nephew.
  • The bride must present a certificate of non-pregnancy if she is widowed or divorced, that she can get from her doctor. (Note: This rule apply in France)


Date of civil marriage

You can choose the day that suits you best, but excluding holidays and Sundays. Usually married on Saturday to choose celebrate religious marriage in a row. Note however that you can also get married a few months or a week before the religious marriage to avoid running all day. You will have the satisfaction of doing the festival last longer!

What town hall chooses?

It is customary that civil marriage takes place in the city hall of the girl. However, this is not an obligation, and nothing prevents you to marry in the town hall of residence of the groom. If you live in couple, you also have the freedom to choose your city from the time when you can justify having chosen to live in the city for 40 days preceding the date of the publication of banns, even intermittently.

The formalities for mayor

You will need to meet a series of certificates that make up your file and you will have to file with your city. Here these elements:

  • An extract of birth certificate issued by the city of your birth place less than three months before the wedding ceremony date
  • Identification and a sworn statement of residence and celibacy
  • The list of witnesses and their civil status form
  • A notarized certificate of the marriage contract if you have
  • Premarital examination certificate issued by the doctor, and not older than two months from the date of filing your application for mayor.

Other papers will be required if you are divorced, minor, abroad or widower. We would highly advise you to check with your local council to find out the exact list.
In any case, remember that all these formalities take time and that it is better to take them well in advance.

The guests

Generally, civil marriage happens in private if it is followed by the religious marriage. By cons, if your marriage is only civil, then all the people to whom you have sent an invitation will be invited. This moment will then constitute a highlight of the ceremony … The photographers and cameraman will take care to build your album memories!

Smart Ideas: A disposable camera distributed to some of your guests will reap unforgettable photos and all angles.

The publication of banns

The publication of banns is the official announcement of your relationship that is printed and displayed in your city.

Once your file is complete, the town is responsible for publishing the banns, and informs the husband of the home town so that she too may also publish the same banns. The publication of banns will then be displayed for ten days on the walls of the town hall.

Dress married

If civil marriage is immediately followed by a religious marriage, while traditionally the bride will wear her dress and groom’s suit.

If, against marriage takes place a few days before the religious marriage or the day before, the bride will be wearing a dress or a suit. She can decorate her dress by a large number of accessories (gloves, cap, scarf …) that sublimate her outfit and will certainly the best that day. Quickly discover these accessories that make the difference: The caps for the creative bride, stole chiffon wedding ceremony dress, the veil, and the jewelry designer … The groom will wear a traditional costume.


  • Witnesses play an important role in civil marriage and religious marriage. Those are the guarantors of your relationship.
  • You can each choose two witnesses to the maximum. They must be of age and in possession of their civil rights.
  • You can choose among your friends or family. Generally, there are people you are close to, who know you well and who especially appreciate your union. We advise you to organize a dinner a few months before the civil wedding ceremony, and take this opportunity to prevent your witnesses. You can then safely associate them with your approach and you will see that they will be very touched by your request. It is also customary to offer a gift to witnesses in memory of your wedding and to thank them for their presence… Also remember to make a gift to your guests (guest’s gifts, draggers balloting …) to thank the presence at your wedding and they keep a souvenir of this great day.

The course of the ceremony

In general, the betrothed enter one of the rooms of the Town Hall where civil wedding ceremony are celebrated and settled in 1st place before the Mayor or one of his deputies: the bride is placed to the left of the groom and witnesses settled next to them.

In second place are installed parents, siblings, and grandparents. Guests sit in as they arrive. Do not be too worried for the protocol, civil marriage is much less formal than religious marriage!

At the entrance of the Mayor, married and all the guests rise. After a word of welcome, the mayor starts reading the articles of the Civil Code which expose the duties of each spouse (Articles 212 to 215 of the Civil Code).

Then the Mayor asked if it was written marriage contract, and then asks the consent of each married, each of which in turn respond with a “Yes!” If there is no religious consecration, the mayor will give him even alliances married.

It’s time to take photos and even if you did a professional photographer, we urge you to distribute a disposable camera to a part of your guests so that they take unforgettable photos of your civil wedding ceremony…

Depending on the situation, the Mayor will give a short speech, which can be customized if he knows one of the two married or married.

The ceremony will end with the signing of the registers. It is of course customary whether the bride who signs first, then the groom and then the witnesses. Discover now our guest books and our pen holders who can also use the church to sign the registers.

In some City Hall, a search can be made for common work.

Congratulations and pictures

If civil marriage is not followed by a religious ceremony, then it is customary congratulations are made at the exit of the Town Hall, or at the cocktail following the reception venue. The photographers will benefit from this when everyone met to achieve the traditional group photos:

  • Married and their parents
  • The newlyweds and their parents, siblings
  • Married and their witnesses and married and friends
  • Married and all the guests

After the ceremonial pictures, you will find family and friends around the traditional wine of honor.

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