I have to be honest. I’ve always struggled with how revealing I should be on my blog about my personal life. I’ve shared incredibly personal things from time to time. And other times I’ve chosen to shy away from sharing my life – sticking to travel-related topics.
But right now, huge changes are taking place in my world with a delicious travel theme. And I am feeling compelled to share them with you.
Today I am writing from Paris, in my friend’s small apartment in the 10th Arrondissement. I’m here on a mission – a mission bigger than I have ever endeavored before.
I’m getting married!
No, not today or tomorrow, but later this year. My fiancée is French. And I’m here to take care of some formalities to be able to be married here in Paris. This whole process doesn’t come without lots of stress over documents and immigration, and all things mind numbing. But this time is also filled with an air of adventure and romance that is undeniable.
In France, getting married is a bit different than in the US. For one, everyone gets married at the town hall. That is, here, you first have a civil ceremony that makes your nuptials legal. Then thereafter, you may also elect to have a religious or otherwise festive ceremony.
In the US, for comparison, we go to town hall to get a marriage license that then becomes legal once an ordained individual performs a ceremony. And just about anyone can become ordained. But here in France, only the designated town hall officials can perform the legal ceremony.
And the process for a foreigner (that’s me) marrying a French person is a bit of a juggle. The first step is to designate a town hall.
There are 20 town halls or miaries (as they are called in French) in Paris, one per arrondissement. We will be getting married in the town hall in the neighborhood where my fiancée grew up. (I hear that this town hall is a particularly pretty one!)
You then must ask your town hall for a list of documents you’ll need to provide to be eligible to be married there. Each mairie may have different requirements. So, one should make sure to ask their individual mairie directly. Once you have amassed these documents you can set up an appointment with the mairie to hand them over and set your wedding date.
For me, all this meant a bit of juggling, getting documents affixed with an Apostille, translated, and notarized by French authorities in my hometown. And today, in Paris, I’m off to the US Embassy to get my final document notarized – a paper certifying that I am eligible to marry and that my country does not allow polygamy.
All my fingers and toes are crossed that it will go smoothly. As I write these final words, I’m about to put on a fresh face, jump into the Metro with my official documents, and arrive on time for my appointment at the US Embassy.
Once that mission is accomplished I’ll be ready for our rendezvous at the mairie next week on Tuesday! Fingers crossed all goes smoothly.
For more on how I met my fiancée and how my path led me to this moment in Paris read my article: How Paris Changed Everything.