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Planning Your Dream French Wedding: The Ultimate Guide

First and foremost, “félicitations” on your engagement! As you embark on the journey of planning a French wedding amidst the breathtaking landscapes and romantic ambiance of France, you’re in for an unforgettable experience. From the charming countryside to the vibrant cityscapes, France offers enchanting venues and timeless traditions for your special day.

So, why wait? Dive into our ultimate guide to planning a French wedding, and allow us at Chateau Bee to address all your important questions!

Can I legally get married in France? 

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Before you dive into the whirlwind of wedding planning, it’s essential to grasp the legal requirements for tying the knot in France. French law mandates that one partner must reside in France for a minimum of 40 consecutive days before the wedding, with residency in the town where the marriage will occur. Exceptions exist: Some individuals with property or family ties in France have bypassed this requirement, but it’s solely at the discretion of the local town hall (the “Mairie”).

Typically, couples handle the legal paperwork at their registrar in their home town before their French wedding ceremony. However, fear not! For you and all your guests, the “true” wedding celebration will be the one unfolding in France!

Is France accommodating and welcoming to LGBTQ+ couples? 

Gay friendly French wedding venues

France takes pride in its inclusive approach to weddings, warmly welcoming couples of all orientations. The venues in Chateau Bee’s Selection wholeheartedly embrace diversity, ensuring that every couple feels cherished and celebrated on their special day. In line with our dedication to inclusivity, Chateau Bee is an affiliated partner of the G Wedding Directory, the ultimate guide for LGBTQ+ couples looking to tie the knot. From Normandy to the South of France, love knows no boundaries in the enchanting landscapes of France.

When should I start planning my French wedding? 

Start the process early, especially for weddings between May and September – the peak wedding season in France. We advise starting your venue search anywhere between 24 months and 18 months before your desired date as venues and suppliers fill up quickly during this time. Although shorter planning timelines can also result in memorable weddings with flexibility and creativity!

Planning your wedding over two years in advance might seem advantageous, but it’s important to note that many venues do not accept to take bookings more than two years ahead. This is because pricing and rental conditions can change significantly over such a period.

Although July and August would be considered by holiday makers as the “high season”, our experience shows that the most popular month in France to get married is June. The last week-end of May also gets booked quickly as it corresponds to a bank holiday in the UK.

The season ranging from mid October to end of April would be usually considered as off season due to the weather being cold or unpredictable at best. If you plan to have a wedding between mid/end October and April, you will be mostly be looking at an indoor wedding so you will need to plan accordingly.

Where in France should I get married?

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We adore France, and we truly believe that each region holds its own unique charm for couples. From the romantic allure of Paris to the ocean views of the French Riviera, there truly is a destination for everyone. Explore our regions page for insights into each area of France, helping you discover the ideal backdrop for your dream wedding.

Picking the Perfect Venue

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Chateau Naudou pool - planning a French wedding

Once you’ve selected your region, the next step is finding the perfect venue. We’ve personally visited each of our venues, handpicking the ‘creme de la creme.’ So if you’re seeking inspiration, explore our range of venues below and start envisioning your dream wedding!

Also feel free to consult our blogpost on Finding Your Perfect Wedding Venue Match.

How much does a French wedding cost?

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Pinning down an exact figure can be tricky as costs vary depending on the venue, suppliers and time of year. However, here’s a rough guide for some of the key expenses for a typical French wedding:

  • Venue Rental: Securing a venue for your wedding sets the stage for your special day. Prices for chateau rentals typically range from €5,000 to €70,000 for a weekend, depending on the venue’s style and location. It’s also important to note, the prices displayed on our website at Chateau Bee are the best prices out there, we don’t add any commission fee on top!
  • Catering: French cuisine is celebrated worldwide for its exceptional quality and flavour and so will likely be a big part of your budget. Be ready to spend between €90 to €150 per person for a formal 3 course meal, without alcohol.
  • Photography and Videography: Capturing the precious moments of your wedding day through photography and videography is invaluable. Budgeting around €2,000 as a starting pricing for a photographer and €3000 for a videographer.

If you are not interested in sourcing your suppliers separately, why not take a look at our French wedding packages here?

It’s important to note that the costs outlined above are rough estimates and can vary based on your specific choices and needs. But whether you envision a grand, luxurious French wedding or a smaller, intimate gathering, here at Chateau Bee, we cater to all budgets and preferences.

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Chateau Bee’s Cost Saving Tips

Planning your French wedding doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are some savvy tips to help you save without compromising on the magic:

1. Explore All-Inclusive Packages

Many of our venues at Chateau Bee offer all-inclusive wedding packages, providing transparency in your initial expenses. These packages allow you to have a clear picture of what’s included upfront, helping you manage your budget effectively. Check out our package deals here.

2. Utilise Our Budget Calculator

If you’re considering a venue with a ‘dry hire’ setup, where predefined packages aren’t available, fret not! We’ve designed a user-friendly budget calculator for each chateau. This tool serves as your personal wedding budget wizard, offering an estimate of your minimum spending. Feel free to try it out for any of our ‘dry-hire’ venues where available.

3. Invite Intimately

Consider the charm of a micro-wedding. Smaller in size but richer in intimacy, micro-weddings offer both extra romance and cost savings. Explore our top Intimate I Do’s: Discover France’s Top 12 Venues for Elopements and Small Celebrations.

4. Consider Off-peak

Marry during off-season months, typically from October to April, or opt for a weekday celebration to secure the lowest rates!

5. Rethink Refreshments

A selectively stocked bar with quality options can be more cost-effective and in keeping with an elegant theme. Plus in France you can visit local wine cellars known as ‘cavistes,’ where you’ll have the opportunity to taste wines and find some great deals! 

Whether you’re opting for self-planning or one of our all-inclusive French wedding packages, it’s always best to contact us. At Chateau Bee, we meticulously select and inspect all our venues, ensuring complete transparency in offerings. This guarantees you won’t encounter any unpleasant surprises related to hidden fees in the future. We’re here to listen to your vision and budget requirements, ensuring your dream wedding becomes a reality.

Planning the details of your dream French wedding

Once you’ve chosen your venue, it’s time to start planning the intricate details of your French wedding. Here are some tips and insights to guide you through the process:

Hiring a Wedding Planner in France: Your Key to a Stress-Free Celebration

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Consider hiring a wedding planner to alleviate the stress of planning and executing your special day. The Chateau Bee Selection offers a network of fantastic local wedding planners who speak English and will be more than happy to help you, wherever your wedding is to take place. Please get in contact with us for more information.

DIY… Plan your own wedding with the Help of a Pro

If you like the idea of planning your wedding in France but would like the help of professional, we can recommend you use The Destination Wedding Planning Club. TDWC offers an online course designed to navigate you through every aspect of planning your French wedding with ease. Drawing on over a decade of industry expertise, this course simplifies your journey to a dream French wedding.

Use this code to get 20% off the course: CHATEAUBEE2024

French Wedding Traditions: Embracing Timeless Customs in Your Celebration

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French weddings are steeped in tradition and elegance. Consider incorporating some of these timeless French customs into your celebration:

  • Le Vin D’honneur: The cocktail hour in France typically lasts 2-3 hours, allowing ample time for guests to mingle and enjoy quality food and drinks.
  • Champagne Tower: A glamorous and popular choice, the Champagne tower adds an elegant touch to any French wedding reception.
  • Croquembouche: A timeless French tradition. Instead of the usual wedding cake, why not surprise your guests with a stack high of profiteroles secured with caramelised sugar. It symbolises unity and joy and really steals the show!
  • La soupe à l’oignon: French weddings always tend to go late at night and finish around 4-7am. It is a tradition to serve an Onion Soup in the early hours of the morning to help recover from a long night of partying!

The Typical Schedule of a French Wedding: What to Expect on Your Special Day

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A typical French wedding schedule includes:

  • Ceremony: 4:30-5:30 pm
  • Reception Drinks: 6-8 pm (cocktail hour!)
  • Meal: 8:30-10:30 pm
  • First Dance: 11 pm
  • Party Until the Early Hours: French weddings often continue until 4 am or later, so you can really dance the night away!

Planning for the Unexpected: How to Navigate Mishaps and Make the Most of Your Wedding

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outdoor wedding france

Although rain is unlikely (especially in the Summer months), it’s always best to have a backup plan in case of any unexpected weather! Luckily, the majority of our venues have beautiful indoor and outdoor options for both wedding ceremonies and receptions, providing you with ample flexibility. Embracing imperfections and mishaps is key, as they can often become the highlights of your special day. Dive into our blog about Amy and Gabe’s wedding, a heartwarming story that illustrates how being flexible and embracing imperfections can turn unexpected moments into cherished memories, making the day even more enjoyable!

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For women:

  • Dress Style: Embrace the timeless elegance of French bridal fashion with a simple yet refined wedding dress in white or off-white. Look for designs with minimal embellishments, such as delicate lace or subtle beading, as modern bride trends often lean towards simple silhouettes that exude understated sophistication. These trends align seamlessly with French tradition, where elegance and simplicity are celebrated.
  • Hair and Makeup: Opt for natural and understated beauty looks that enhance your features without overshadowing your overall appearance. Consider soft waves or a classic updo for hairstyles, complemented by soft, neutral tones for makeup to achieve a timeless and effortlessly chic aesthetic.

For Men:

  • Suit Style: Capture the laid-back sophistication of French style with summer suits in lighter shades like beige or pastels. Choose lightweight fabrics like linen to ensure comfort throughout the celebration.
  • Accent Details: Add a touch of personality with colorful accents on your tie or pocket square, reflecting the sunny climate and celebratory atmosphere of a French chateau wedding.
  • Dress Selection: Embrace the essence of French elegance with bridesmaid dresses in soft pastel hues or muted tones that complement the bridal party’s overall aesthetic.
  • Silhouette and Fabric: Opt for flowy silhouettes and lightweight fabrics like chiffon or organza, perfect for summer weddings and allowing bridesmaids to move gracefully while exuding a sense of refined sophistication.

Ultimately, whether you’re a bride, groom, bridesmaid or guest, the key is to strike a balance between style and comfort while embracing the romantic atmosphere of a French wedding. With the right attire, you’ll feel confident and poised as you celebrate love amidst the enchanting beauty of France’s picturesque landscapes.

Fun for All: Creating Memorable Experiences for Your Guests at Your French Wedding

chateau engalin pool Toulouse

After your wedding, many of our venues continue the celebration with poolside brunches, featuring traditional French delights like crepes. Extend your wedding into a memorable weekend, crafting lasting memories in France’s enchanting ambiance.

At Chateau Bee, we know the ins and outs of France, so we can advise on local attractions to enhance your guests’ experience. Whether exploring historical sites, wine tastings, or immersing in local culture, we ensure your guests enjoy France to the fullest.

Have Fun and Embrace the Magic of Your Special Day

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The most important thing to remember is your wedding day is about celebrating your love with your loved ones. Embrace the journey, cherish each moment, and focus on what truly matters: the connection you share with your partner and the joy of beginning a new chapter together.

Your French Wedding Journey: Next Steps

You are now equipped with the knowledge and inspiration to plan a magical wedding in France. From selecting the perfect venue to navigating legal requirements and embracing local traditions, you have the tools to create a truly memorable celebration.

Let France’s breathtaking landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and timeless elegance set your stage. Embrace its charm, savour cuisine, and create cherished memories that will last a lifetime.

For personalised advice and details on our venues, reach out to us at 00 44 (0) 1481 234 442 or email hello@thechateaubee.com. You can also use our convenient contact form to get started today!

Bella Chateau Bee

Planning Your Dream French Wedding: The Ultimate Guide by Bella Dean

Foodie, yogi and travel lover!