Thursday, December 15, 2005

Wedding Update

So... all the fun of the wedding planning is really completed. Boxes have been ticked for:

Priest & Church
Village Hall

It makes it a little easier when you're in a relatively small city with lots of family contacts. We live above the florists, the caterer is Frog Father's cousin, the dress shop is where sister-in-law recommended, the invitations are homemade, the priest is involved in Frog's old school and the village hall costs €300 for the weekend rental.

So, now we're onto the bureacracy... think that the European Union makes things easier for a Brit to marry a Frenchman? Think again...
  • Medical Certificate: dated within 2 months of the wedding file registration at the town hall
  • Copy of Birth Certificate: dated within 6 months of the marriage date
  • Translation of the Birth Certificate
  • Certificat de Coutume: in person request at the British Embassy in Paris with a cheque for €65*
  • Declaration (on honour) that we live in Reims
  • Proof of residence (a photocopy of a bill)
  • List of witnesses and a copy of their identification papers (they must be able to speak French)

We then have to both take this to the Town Hall to register our wedding dossier in person, with identification.

The Mayor's office also said that I needed a carte de séjour européene. In fact, they scrawled the request in biro across the bottom of the official Livret d'Information sur le Mariage. Well that was news to me as I've been resident in France for nearly three years without one. An hour in the Foreigner's Office at the city Sous Prefécture and it was also news to the people who are responsible for giving out the carte de séjours. In a classic French moment, the woman behind the desk, shrugged her shoulders, consulted with a colleague and 'boffed' :

"I don't know why they would say that. Did the Mayor's Office really say that? It hasn't been needed for three years. You don't need one. Why are they saying that? If you have problems when you register your dossier, tell them to call us".

Call me a cynic but I see trouble ahead on that one. French bureacracy is never that easy.

This afternoon's task is to find a translator and next Tuesday will see me queuing at the British Embassy. Happily, I see it's close to the WH Smiths on Rue Rivoli.

Next week's wedding blog update will be the menu. All five courses. Now, that's why we're marrying in France!

* I think this is a document that says that as a British Citizen I am allowed to marry a French citizen and the role of British law on my status. Or something...

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