The average wedding in the UK now costs around 24,000 pounds (34,000 euros – Nov 2015). For couples who plan a wedding in France it’s possible to cut this cost and still have have a fabulous wedding in a stunning venue which includes onsite accommodation for guests.
With all budgets in mind, Julie Francis from Dordogne wedding planning agency Your Wedding Planner.fr, has put together a mini guide to help you plan a wedding in France. This informative guide is a great starting point to kick start your wedding planning and is intended to take away some of the stress and worry of planning a wedding aboard.
Below, Julie provides details of wedding venue options, a breakdown of the cost of services, as well as what you can expect when hiring a wedding planner. Julie also takes a look at the legal requirements for getting married in France and the different wedding ceremony options available.
So why plan a wedding France ?
- It offers culinary excellence.
- France is easy and affordable to travel to from the UK and Ireland with low cost airlines.
- France provides beautiful scenery, sunshine and romantic charm.
- It offers excellent value for money with a high a standard of service.
- The pound is great against the euro.
- With English speaking wedding planners, you no longer have language barrier problems.
The Cost of a Wedding in France – A Guideline
Many couples often ask if their budget will be enough, but the first thing to remember is that just by getting married in France it will be possible to cut your wedding costs enormously. As it’s not always clear what is available and at what price, Your Wedding Planner.fr can work out your budget and put in place your perfect wedding day. Working out the number of guests and your budget is a great starting point.
Wedding venues in France
Often, what springs to mind when you think of getting married in France is a wedding in a château. However, if this is not for you there are endless other venue options available, such as elegant villas and private properties, numerous vineyards, converted barns and even entire villages you can hire for your dream wedding in France.
Many venues in France are surprisingly affordable and come with the added benefit of onsite accommodation making it possible to extend your celebrations into a wedding weekend or wedding week.
Like other regions of France, you are spoilt for choice in the South West and will find wedding venues to suit all tastes, from top end luxury châteaus with all the frills to rustic intimate venues suitable for weddings on a more modest budget. Listed below is a small selection of what is available.
24 Hector of Vine
24 Hector of Vine makes an ideal wedding château for a sit down wedding size of 160 guests.
It Features two great halls, grounds, table, and chairs can be hired from 4,480 euros (3,100 pounds), Friday till Monday including full wedding planner service.
Accommodation available on site for 23 guests, village nearby for other guests.
Hill Top Château
With a fantastic position overlooking the Valley de Lot, Hill Top Château will certainly impress your guests.
The château can accommodate a reception of up to 150 indoors and 180 – 200 outdoors.
It can be hired for 4,500 euros with full wedding planner service.
The Princess Château
The stunning 4 star Princess Château, offers spectacular views and a setting for a romantic and memorable day.
This château is ideal for larger wedding parities who wish to stay onsite, with accommodation for 60 guest.
A large terrace overlooks the Lot and mature gardens surround the bold and stunning château. With each room designed differently, the fantastic architecture this château makes it stands out from the rest.
The price varies on season, so please request a quotation.
The Rolling Hills
The Rolling Hills is a beautiful character château in the Lot, located just over an hour from Toulouse airport.
The banquet hall can accommodate a reception of 120 people.
It offers excellent value, with 20 guests staying at the château for the week including wedding planner service it costs around 5,800 euros (4,000 pounds).
Alternative Wedding Venues
For those who don’t wish to marry in a château, France has many halls and old restored buildings throughout the country which can be hired for a minimum fee.
Also weddings are often held at holiday homes and outside venues, Your Wedding Planner.fr can advise you on what is available in the area.
A converted barn for 100 people can be hired with wedding planning services for 2,600 euros (1,800 pounds)
Cost of wedding services
A wedding based on 50 people including a 4 course meal, aperitif and canapés, champagne, drinks, wine, servers for the day, decorated table and flowers, DJ, Bridal bouquet, button holes, Celebrant, Photographer, hair and make-up costs around 8,000 euros (5,600 pounds).
Hiring a wedding Planner
What will a wedding planner do for you?
If you wish to plan a wedding in France, working with a wedding planner will not only take all the stress away, but will save you money and time. A wedding planner knows the best in the area and also how to get the best deals. A wedding planner works with suppliers who they can trust and rely on, which gives the clients the best deals, they also know tricks to cut back on costs.
A wedding planner will have the couple’s interest at heart and will put together a personal package for them, each couple has different requirements and wish to be involved in the organisation at different levels. It is always good to work with a planner who is in the area of the venue unless they bring their suppliers with them. This way they know all the service providers well.
You may just require someone to only help with on the day coordination or perhaps someone to run alongside you with organising your wedding, or basically inform them what you want and let the planner put it all in place.
A wedding planner will look at your budget and your plans and work out how this can be achieved. With their contacts and knowledge they will know where to go for what, what is less expensive, or where to get the best deal or even where to borrow items.
A wedding planner will be on hand to answer any questions and is your PA, they will guide you through the process of your special day, with experience. Hiring a wedding planner can take away the stress and time, booking and checking up on suppliers, working with French and English suppliers for the best deals. By contact phone, email, skype, messenger contact is now so simple, it’s at the touch of a button to help you all the way. Meetings can be set up easily and updates made regularly.
Legal requirements for getting married in France
A lot of couples choose to take care of the legalities in their home county and then hold a symbolic ceremony in France. The cost of hiring a celebrant to carry out a very personal ceremony at the venue of your choice on the day is around 600 euros. By having a symbolic ceremony, you will not need to visit any authorities and no paperwork is needed.
However if you would like to marry legally in France the guidelines are as follows:
A church wedding can be carried out in France and you will have to provide documentation to prove that you are already married legally (only a civil wedding is legally binding in France so prior to having a religious ceremony you must show proof of marriage.) Many churches will allow your English speaking priest to come over and carryout the service.
In France, a civil marriage is mandatory and this takes place at the local “mairie,” in your commune.
The French law is that at least one of the couple has lived in France for more than 40 days immediately prior to the wedding day. Once this legal civil wedding has taken place, you can go ahead with either a religious or non-religious ceremony if you like.
Couples who live abroad, usually chose to have a legal wedding in their country of residence first and then hold a religious service or a symbolic one in France.
More information can be obtained from Consulate General of France in London
A couple in which one partner is French must get in touch with the mairie (town hall) of the French partner’s place of residence in France. A couple in which neither partner is French must contact their own consulate in France.
A minimum stay of 40 days prior to the marriage in the town in France where the civil marriage will be celebrated
Proof of residence required.
The consent of both parties.
No close family ties between future spouses.
Getting Married in France – First Steps
Find out More – Plan a Wedding in France
I hope the above information has been a helpful starting point. If you would like to plan a wedding in France or simply learn more about having a wedding at France, please use the form below to contact Julie from Your Wedding Planner who will be more than happy to answer your questions and provide a free itemised costing sheet .