My girlfriend and I will be visiting London and Paris for the first time. We’re very excited about it because it’s in 3 weeks!
I was wondering if it is at all possible to elope while we are there (or in Belgium?) I know it probably seems sudden and that we haven’t prepared at all but I would like to know if its an option.
I’ve read that one spouse-to-be must be living in Paris for 40 days prior to the wedding in order to get married there. I also read something similar for London. Is that true? I know its easy enough to get engaged while we’re there but i was thinking of taking it one step further.
Thanks for your email! You are right: both England and France are just about impossible for destination weddings if one of you is not already a resident. If you have time for a train ride up to Scotland (and can begin the process before your trip), it is pretty easy to marry there, however! The town of Gretna Green is known as one of the most popular destination wedding places in Europe and it’s located near the border. Here’s one of many sites about planning a destination wedding in Gretna Green, Scotland: http://www.gretnaweddings.com/
Unfortunately Belgium is about like France in terms of residency; one of you has to be a resident there. It’s the same with the Netherlands as well. Germany does offer weddings to non-residents, though; Italy does a lot of non-resident weddings! (The added difficulty when you pick a non-English-speaking country, though, is that you usually need to get your documents officially translated into the local language.) Italy has many wedding planners who specialize in destination weddings and can help obtain the translations. We’ve got a special section on Lovetripper with the marriage laws from other countries.
Even in the countries where it’s easiest (like Scotland and Italy), plan on a few days to get everything done in terms of license. A wedding planner can help get as much as possible done beforehand. In Scotland, for example, you have to file your papers before your arrival and you have to have proof of single status. (Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as an elopement here, such as in Las Vegas.)
Whether an engagement trip or a wedding/honeymoon trip, it sounds like you have a very memorable trip planned! Best wishes!! Paris and John