Help us elope in Paris this summer!
June 21, 2009 6:46 PM   Subscribe

Help us elope in Paris!

My fiancee and I are planning a summer elopement in Paris (late July or early August), and need help finding an officiant for the ceremony (if religious, Catholic preferred; but secular is fine too). We plan on being legally married in NYC prior to the trip, so this would be more ceremonial, and a great way to kickoff our honeymoon in Paris.

In addition, we'd love your tips on outdoor locations for the ceremony, tips on English-speaking photographers and anything else we may not be thinking of yet.

We're planning on renting an apartment for the week (we're thinking about going through ParisPerfect based on a recommendation, but we're open to other suggestions).

Any tips would be most appreciated!
posted by anonymous to Travel & Transportation around Paris, France (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
apartment: are you eloping this July-August, or in 2010? You might not be able to get an apartment booking this close. Book now if you see one!

Congrats, though!
posted by titanium_geek at 12:12 AM on June 22, 2009

Catholic weddings generally can't be held outdoors without permission from the local Bishop. This is very rarely or never given depending on the diocese.

St. Joseph's is the English-speaking Catholic Church in Paris. They should be able to help you out with finding Catholic clergy and a venue, either at their Church or another, or at least explaining the process to you.

You'll probably required to go through marriage preparation before you go overseas. You'll also have to meet with a priest who will investigate your freedom to marry. This generally also involves getting various documentation from the Churches where you were baptized and or confirmed. You'll need your local pastor's permission to marry outside of your own parish. This permission is largely pro forma. If either of you is not Catholic, the Catholic party will also need the permission of his or her Bishop. Also if one of you is not Catholic, you can get a different kind of permission to be married in a non-Catholic ceremony. Without these various steps, it's likely that the Catholic church may not recognize your marriage as having taken place.

All this is evidence of how seriously the Catholic Church takes marriage. I'd add that if by "elopement" you mean, just you and your fiancée getting married without the presence of family/friends/community members, this is generally frowned upon from a Catholic perspective, where marriages are (assuming you're both baptized Christians) sacraments that have an innate communal aspect to them. Very small weddings (couple, priest, two witnesses) occasionally happen, but there are generally special circumstances.

One more thing, your time-line makes a Catholic ceremony very difficult unless you mean July or August of next year. Generally the Catholic process takes six months at a minimum.

This blog by a wedding planner in Paris has some details on navigating the cultural aspect of getting married in a Catholic Church in Paris (it's a little shakier on the canon law details, but the priests will guide you through that.)
posted by Jahaza at 12:20 AM on June 22, 2009

er, on non-preview and re-read

"We plan on being legally married in NYC prior to the trip" - this nixes the church wedding in Paris, I think.

Why not just hire a photographer in Paris and do a photo shoot?
posted by titanium_geek at 12:28 AM on June 22, 2009

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