Elopement,t par Cecilia Hofer

Elopement in France: how to organize an intimate wedding ?

Breaking the codes of traditional weddings and getting married on the sly? That’s what elopement is all about!

More and more couples have enjoyed this kind of secret union for a few years now. And it gives absolutely wonderful photos. Nature, a couple and emotions… the perfect combo to organize your elopement.

So, if you want to slip through the net of the classic wedding in large committee, and run away alone with your spouse to say yes on top of a mountain or in the middle of a wild creek, this article is made to answer your questions.

Be careful, ceremonies outside of the town hall are not an official way to get married. But that does not avoid you from going through the town hall just before running away in love for your elopement…

Also read

What is an elopement?

Originally, Elopement involved the elopement of two lovers to marry in an intimate and secret way. This was often the case when families disputed the love between two people. They would then elope together to get married in secret away from prying eyes.

Since 2014, elopement has become a big trend, and today it refers to the action of going on an adventure in the wild and getting married. 

Elopement par Cecilia Hofer
Photo par Cecilia Hofer

Basically, if you have a taste for travel, nature, simple things and you want to say “I do” without superficiality (and without your uncle Robert), this is surely for you!

Moreover, the elopement does not require a big organization like a traditional wedding. All you need to do is to find a destination, a photographer and a date!

Relax, right?

How to organize an elopement in France?

1/ Choose your destination

There is a multitude of destinations for an elopement but they always have one thing in common: they gather the couple in a discreet, calm and natural place. 

The goal is to create an intimate atmosphere away from prying eyes.

Moreover, let’s not forget that France gives us a diversity of landscapes just incredible!

Thus to choose where to organize your elopement, there is for all the tastes: the Pyrenean mountains, the Auvergne lands, the Breton wild sides or the Corsican creeks… Each corner offers us an amazing landscape.

Our top 6 perfect destinations to organize your elopement :
  • The Alps: for mountain lovers and hikers, it will be enough to reach the summit to exchange your vows! And what could be better than to take a breath of fresh air, symbol of a new start for two!
Photographie des Alpes
Photo by Pierre Thiaville
  • Auvergne: the Auvergne region is still not very touristy, yet it offers us an extraordinary panorama.
Photographie Auvergne
Photo by Christophe Habrial
  • Brittany: wild coasts, green lands or large wooded forests, the Breton peninsula reveals a diversity in its landscapes, leaving you many choices to find the perfect place for your elopement.
Photographie Bretagne
Photo by Mathieu Rivrin
  • Corsica: go a little further in Corsica, and you will be sure to find a rare and diverse panorama, to make spectacular pictures !
Photo by Thierry Raynaud
  • Normandy: the rich and varied nature of Normandy leaves you the choice between multiple amazing landscapes to organize your elopement.
Photographie Normandie
Photo by Nicolas Rottiers
  • The Pyrenees: in summer and winter, the Pyrenean massifs are sensational. Doesn’t it make you dream to be in the clouds to say yes?
Photographie Pyrénées

2/ Contact providers

You certainly have understood it, the big advantage of the elopement is the organization

You don’t need to plan a 3-pages list of providers names. Here you only have to contact those who will be essential to your elopement: an officiant, a photographer and why not a wedding planner.

Of course, there are no strict rules to respect! If you want a makeup artist or a hairdresser by your side, it’s up to you!

3/ Go to the town hall

Before running away with your lover, don’t forget to go to the town hall. Because in France, unlike in the United States, the only way for your marriage to be legally recognized is to go through the town hall. 

photo des deux mariés dans la mairie de fontainebleau
Photo par Wandermoons

Many couples organize this small civil ceremony just before leaving for the elopement. Don’t panic, it’s just a formality!

4/ …Run away!

It’s time to pack and run away!

So, enjoy it because it will certainly be one of the most beautiful memories of your life!