The Ultimate Guide to Eloping in Paris
Since I first wrote this article in 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic has changed and thankfully, the situation has improved. Even so, the pandemic forced couples shift their wedding plans, or have decided they prefer a small and intimate ceremony. Eloping is such a great idea, if it’s the right option for you!
I’m a Paris wedding and elopement photographer, and here are some tips for you if you’re planning a Paris elopement (or in Provence, because I serve that region as well).
There are a lot of disappointed couples right now, and rightly so. The continuation of the Covid-19 pandemic has forced disappointed brides and grooms across the globe to cancel or postpone their wedding celebrations, putting a big question mark over when they can have their “happily ever after.” Many couples have had small ceremonies in their home countries but feel like they missed out on the special day they dreamed of.
Brides (and grooms too), if any of you had to cancel or postpone your wedding, my heart breaks for you. A wedding is such a special and beautiful event — and so much hard work goes into making it perfect! It’s totally understandable if you’re disappointed with the way things have turned out…
But this could be an opportunity for something different, unique, and super special to you.
That is why I created the Ultimate Guide to Eloping to Paris. This guide has been updated in 2023. Thankfully, the pandemic situation is so much better, but there still has never been a better time to elope!
Now is a great time to consider eloping in Paris. This idea is intimate, simple, and terribly romantic — and with my help, it can be a breeze!
Whether you decide to come to Paris in 2023 or beyond–no matter the date, as they say, “Paris is always a good idea“. You know what? It’s so true!
Maybe you like the thought of having a different wedding than you’d envisioned. But you’re probably really worried about the thought of getting married in a foreign country where English isn’t the first language. Plus, all of the details as well. I know it would feel daunting to me, too! That is why I created the The Ultimate Guide to Eloping in Paris, which I’ve updated in 2023.
Don’t worry, I’m here to help! As an American elopement photographer in Paris, I speak English and French and have great suggestions and ideas on how to make your Paris elopement or wedding come to life (or even in other parts of France–like Provence where I also live part-time). I’m an English speaking Paris wedding and elopement photographer, yes, but I’m also a great help in sharing resources to define the day of your dreams.
The Ultimate Guide to Eloping in Paris in 2023 and beyond
Paris is a popular destination spot for lovebirds looking for a romantic getaway. After all, what could be better than time with your sweetheart in the “City of Love”? Therefore, it should be no surprise that there are many local companies in the city who can help you pull off the perfect elopement. Or a full on wedding, if that’s what you prefer.
But first, what’s the difference between a Paris elopement and Paris wedding?
Paris weddings are more traditional, typically take place in a church or venue like a hotel, and have 30 or more guests, followed by a traditional reception, like you’d have in the United States or United Kingdom. It’s usually a bit more formal as well. Very often we also do a Paris photo session before the ceremony itself, so you capture the beauty of Paris with your wedding attire.
A Paris elopement, is a small and intimate affair, usually with less than 10 guests. Sometimes, the bride and groom are married just the two of them. Paris elopements also typically take place in public areas like gardens or view points with the Eiffel Tower. But they can also take place in pretty wedding venues such as a hotel terrace. Getting creative, they could even happen on a boat docked on the Seine River!
Okay, let’s get to the good stuff (just remember that a wedding or elopement in France isn’t a legal affair, that part would happen in your own country like at a justice of the peace). The symbolic and emotional ceremony to remember the rest of your lives happens in Paris!
So, how do you elope or get married in Paris? It’s actually quite simple. Just follow these steps:
Book Your Dates
First, you’ll want to consider when you want to get married, keeping in mind an elopement in Paris leads to a honeymoon in Paris too, with tons of fun things to do! So, make sure to plan plenty of time so you can enjoy it all.
In Paris, spring and fall are typically the most common seasons for elopements. However, summer is glorious in Paris, if a bit busier with tourists (but don’t let that put you off) and don’t count out winter. Particularly around the holiday season, Paris can be magical (if a bit chilly and usually, rainy).
Personally, I can highly recommend an autumn (which goes until late November) elopement and even into the holiday season if you love the holidays. Then, I’d definitely put Paris on the calendar for any time from late March to mid-April, when the trees and flowers burst with flowers is ideal.
Discuss with your fiancé(e) the kind of elopement you’d like to have, and find the date that best suits your needs. Once you’ve found the perfect date, you’re well on your way to a romantic Parisian elopement! You can also reach out to me directly for advice, I’m happy to help!
Reserve a Hotel
Whether you’re getting married on a hotel balcony or in front of the Eiffel Tower (there are no ceremonies on the Tower itself), you and your future spouse will need somewhere to stay during your trip. Therefore, the next step is finding the right hotel for you.
A Paris elopement often doubles as a Paris honeymoon, so don’t be afraid to splurge a little on your hotel room. There are many gorgeous hotels in the city, so find one that suits your tastes and schedule your stay.
For those splurges, I highly recommend the following hotels that are famous in Paris (with links):
The Ritz (Coco Chanel lived here for quite some time)
Plaza Athenée (this is where Carrie Bradshaw stayed in on the HBO show Sex & the City)
If it’s not a splurge you’re looking for, there are many other choices in Paris. I recommend a neighborhood called Marais or Saint Germain, one is on the right bank of the Seine River, the other on the right. Great neighborhoods for art galleries, shops, restaurants and walking is super easy and charming, with lots of cobblestone streets.
Book Your Vendors
An elopement naturally requires fewer vendors than your typical wedding. For example, You don’t need a caterer, a DJ, or even a florist to make tons of floral arrangements. Although I highly recommend a floral bouquet. As a Paris wedding photographer, a bouquet will look amazing in your wedding photos! I can even help you with the flowers, I have a vendor in my neighborhood that I love working with. All you need to do is tell me the types of flowers you like, and the colors, and voila!
There are two vendors you will definitely need to hire: an officiant or celebrant, and a wonderful photographer to capture your wedding day memories!
Your officiant/celebrant is essential because they will perform the ceremony in a personal and meaningful way. I work with several excellent English speaking officiants/celebrants and Paris and would be happy to put you in touch. You’ll work directly with your officiant/celebrant to design the ceremony that has the most meaning to you as a couple. It doesn’t need to be fancy or elaborate, but they are incredible resources on your wedding day.
Next up, your photographer is essential because… well, who would have an elopement ceremony in Paris and not capture your beautiful moments in Paris? This is a time you’ll treasure your whole lives, and you’ll want those memories to cherish!
Take some time before you elope to scout out photographers; check out online portfolios to see which styles you prefer, contact photographers to see how they are to work with, and make sure you choose a photographer who will help you get photos you’ll treasure for a lifetime. I’d love it if that photographer was of course, me, but if my style doesn’t speak to you, there are many talented photographers in Paris. You can see more of my work here.
I am not a wedding planner, or elopement planner, but a Paris wedding photographer, an American living in Paris since 2014, and I know the most romantic and beautiful spots in this gorgeous city for your wedding photos!
My web site is www.karinaleigh.com.
Please have a look at my work and contact me if you love my work.
Get “Dolled” Up
Once you’ve set a date, booked your hotel, and signed your vendor contracts, there’s only one thing to do: get married! Of course, every couple wants to look their best on their wedding day — and if you’re eloping in Paris, you have the very height of fashion at your disposal!
Consider finding a wedding gown from an exclusive bridal shop in the city. Rent a tux from a high-end men’s boutique for the groom. If you want to look exceptional for the ceremony, hire a local professional to do your hair and makeup. With the right outfits and a little bit of pampering, you’ll both be looking your very best in no time. I also know some excellent makeup artists and hair stylists in Paris and I’m happy to put you in touch so that you look perfect on your wedding day (and look gorgeous in your wedding photos)!
Unique Paris Elopement Locations
If you’re not familiar with France, the very idea of an elopement in Paris can seem overwhelming. Where should you have the wedding? Will your vendors speak your language? How much does a Paris elopement cost, anyway?
The answers to your last two questions will vary from one place to the next. But as for the first, I’d be happy to help. Here are a few of my favorite Paris elopement locations:
The Hotel Marignan Champs-Elysées is a historic location with a modern twist. The hotel was completely redesigned by French designer Pierre Yovanovitch in 2012, and his artistic, luxurious style is noticeable in every room. The hotel also boasts many event spaces to accommodate elopement parties of any size, from rooftop dinners with a sweeping view of the city to a large private club, complete with DJ.
I photographed the wedding of Stephanie and Pedro, a lovely couple from the United States, on the terrace at the Hotel Marignan. You can see more from their wedding here.
The Ritz Paris is an ideal location for any couple that wants their Paris elopement to drip with classic elegance. This hotel is the epitome of French style and charm! You’ll be in constant awe at the beauty in every inch of this impressive building — and their soundproof salons make it easy to feel like there’s no one else in the world but you and your loved ones on your wedding day.
If you plan you elope to Paris, you’ll probably want to do some sightseeing while you’re here. The Peninsula Paris is an ideal hotel for couples who want to really get to know the city; it’s located right in the heart of the 16th arrondissement, which makes it walking distance from many shops, museums, and monuments. Enjoy a luxurious stay, a beautiful wedding, and a cultural feast all at once!
Four Seasons Hotel George V
The Four Seasons Hotel George V was built in 1928, and stepping through its doors is like stepping into a piece of art history. Fans of the art deco style will be in heaven here! The hotel offers many gorgeous salons for wedding parties of any size, and their staff will even help you with floral arrangements and catering if needed!
Shangri La Paris
A gorgeous suite overlooking the Seine, with an incredible view of the Eiffel Tower — what could be better? At Shangri La Paris, you will find beautiful rooms, Michelin-star restaurants, and several stunning wedding salons that will make you feel like you’ve literally stepped into heaven.
Hotel de Crillon
The Hotel de Crillon is a sophisticated hotel with lovely views of some of Paris’ greatest landmarks. The hotel offers several wedding and elopement packages that you can personalize to suit your specific needs, which makes it easy to get your dream wedding ceremony.
Hotel Plaza Athénee
If you or your sweetheart and fashion fanatics, you MUST book your elopement at the Hotel Plaza Athenee. This hotel is located on the city’s “avenue of fashion”, which means you’ll be only a few steps away from some of the most exquisite shops in the world!
Find your dream wedding dress, do a little honeymoon shopping, or just admire the incredible looks in the shop windows — no matter what you do, any fashion lover will be thrilled.
Outside with a beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower
Most couples who elope to Paris have their ceremony outdoors, not indoors. It really depends on the season. Most couples have their ceremony and read their vows with a view of the Eiffel Tower from the riverside or Trocadero Gardens. Your officiant or celebrant will help you plan the ceremony of your dreams, we can arrange for a floral bouquet, and you can even have a violinist to make it extra special!
The All-inclusive Paris Elopement Package
I’ve touched briefly on the many Paris elopement packages available for couples who want to be wed in the City of Light. Some couples book a package through their hotel, while others prefer to work with an independent elopement service. I also offer a photography package and can connect you with all of the other vendors you may like, a one-stop shop! It’s my goal to help each and every couple!
Of course, you don’t HAVE to use an elopement package to have a great wedding. However, if you want your elopement experience to be quick, easy, and stress-free, it doesn’t hurt to consider getting help from the pros — particularly if you opt for an all-inclusive Paris elopement package.
How can an all-inclusive service benefit your big day? With these packages, you can:
Book a Wedding Planner
A wedding planner who knows the city can be a real help when you’re planning an elopement. Your Paris elopement planner will be able to connect you with vendors, venues, and even boutiques that will provide you with everything you need for a perfect wedding.
Rent a Collection Car
In a traditional wedding, most couples leave the venue in a beautiful classic car. It’s a fun moment, and it often makes for a great photo… so why not do that for your elopement? Some all-inclusive elopement packages provide you with a car, so you and your partner can enjoy a lovely ride around the city after you say “I do.”
Rent the Suit and Dress from an Exclusive Shop
Grooms have been renting tuxedos for decades, and some modern brides even opt to rent high-end wedding gowns instead of buying them. If you want to wear something truly couture for your wedding, renting can be a wonderful way to find a look that’s exceptional, yet cost-efficient. And if you’re not sure which shops allow wedding dress rentals, don’t worry: an all-inclusive elopement package can point you in the right direction. Of course, you can also bring along your own suit and wedding gown!
Book an Extravagant Location
The right wedding venue can make all the difference for your big day. Your venue should be beautiful and sophisticated — but most importantly, it should reflect your personal taste. If you aren’t familiar with Paris locations (and if you aren’t local), it can be hard to find the right space for you. But with an elopement package, you can work with your hotel or planner to select the ideal location.
Eloping in Paris on a Budget
When a couple decides to elope to Paris, they will inevitably have to talk about cost. After all, weddings are expensive.
Don’t worry! There are a few ways that you can save money on your Paris elopement and still get the wedding day of your dreams. Here are just a couple tips that can make a big difference for your budget.
Have a Look Around to Get an Idea of What Works with Your Budget
When people talk about eloping, most of us think of two young lovebirds, scurrying off to get married in a hurry before someone (usually their parents) catch them. But these days, that’s just not the case! Many of today’s couples plan elopements because they want a memorable wedding that is special to just the two of them — and that gives them a little more freedom to shop around.
Contact several different vendors. Find out as much as you can about pricing options. The more knowledge you have, the easier it will be to put together an elopement that makes you, your partner, and your bank account happy.
Use a Wedding Package
Like most elements of a wedding, an elopement package can vary in price. Some companies offer packages for just a few hundred euros, while others offer services that cost thousands! But here is one thing all these packages have in common: they provide you with some cost savings.
Bundled pricing (where multiple vendors work together on one package) is most often cheaper than hiring multiple vendors individually. Therefore, an elopement package can be a great way to get the most for your money.
What’s the cost of a Paris elopement?
Unfortunately, this question is not an easy one to answer. The cost of a Paris elopement will vary based on the hotel you use, the package you buy (or, if you’re finding vendors piecemeal, the vendors you hire), the dress you wear, and even where you live (transportation costs will vary).
Luckily, it is possible to tailor your elopement plans to suit your budget. My photography elopement services in Paris start at 825€, for example for a wonderful morning that includes photographing a “First Look” (if you want one), plus your ceremony and gorgeous images afterward.
Is it possible to actually get married in France?
Well… yes and no. French law requires that couples reside in the country for at least 40 days before they can be legally married, so most foreigners opt for a “symbolic” ceremony when they come here for their wedding and are legally married at city hall at home.
If you can’t spend 40 days on vacation (which, you must admit, does sound lovely), it’s best to have a civil wedding ceremony in your home country before you head to France. This could be at the city hall, courthouse, justice of the peace etc.
Should we elope in Paris?
Of course! A Paris elopement is terribly romantic. Whether you get married in front of your family, your closest friends, or just you and your spouse, a wedding in Paris is something you will never forget. And that’s not all — after you and your partner are married, you can have a honeymoon in one of the world’s most beautiful cities.
I’m an American English speaking Paris wedding photographer that delights in helping couples capture the magnificence of their wedding or elopement in Paris. My style is light, colorful and romantic, which is perfect for the romance of Paris.
Prefer to chat by text? Send me a Whatsapp to 33 07 51 42 35 78.
You can also visit my web site and see the splendor of couples I’ve captured in Paris at www.karinaleigh.com.
See you in Paris!