Congratulations! You’ve said yes to the love of your life and now it’s time to start thinking about your big day. As romantic as it is beautiful, the French Riviera is the ideal location to enjoy a truly unique wedding. To help you organise your dream day, we’ve put together a useful guide to planning your ceremony and reception in the South of France. We’ve covered it all from when to start planning to how to how to find the very best venues across the Riviera plus with top tips from people who’ve been there and done it themselves. Read on to learn more about planning the perfect French Riviera wedding celebration below:
Make a timeline:
As with any big event, the earlier you start to plan, the more time you’ll have to organise all those little details which will make your big day so special. We recommend planning your French Riviera wedding around a year in advance if possible to ensure you have plenty of time but we also know that sometimes time is of the essence so if necessary we can help you make decisions and keep you on track with the planning process.
“I’m American and I married my French husband in Ramatuelle in 2018. My best piece of advice is if you are having a civil ceremony, try to get your paperwork together as soon as possible, especially if you are a foreign citizen. You may need to travel to your consulate or order copies of your birth certificate from your home country before having them translated into French. I didn’t wait until the last minute, but I do wish I had started getting everything together earlier.” Sarah
Set the Date:
Depending on when you want to get married, choosing a wedding date can sometimes be more complicated than it seems. If you’re opting for an outdoor ceremony, you’ll want to make the most of the Riviera’s balmy summer weather, but you may also need to consider keeping your dates flexible during the summer season to ensure availability at your chosen venue. The good news is, once you set the date, everything else should then start falling into place.
“My French husband and I got married on the French Riviera in early September and the temperature was in the mid-30s on the day of our wedding. If you’re planning on getting married during the summer season, I would highly recommend checking that your chosen venue has air conditioning and/or fans to ensure that your guests are comfortable during the ceremony and reception.” Vicki
Fix your Budget:
Possibly the most important step when it comes to planning your big day, you’ll need to finalise your budget early on in order to confirm your reservations. Things to consider when fixing your budget include the number of guests attending, the time of year you want to get married and your catering/entertainment requirements. Whether you’re going all out or planning an intimate ceremony with just your closest family and friends, we can provide options for every budget to help match your spending requirements whilst enjoying the best day of your life.
“If finances allow, it’s definitely worth thinking about hiring a wedding planner - even just for the day of the wedding. It was a huge help to have someone else manage the schedule and solve problems on our wedding day, allowing us to host, celebrate and enjoy the evening with our guests instead.” Sarah
Pick a Theme:
Whether you’ve always dreamed of getting married in a fairy-tale castle, would like to go full Hollywood glam or are hoping for a boho chic wedding on a beach overlooking the Mediterranean, your perfect wedding should reflect your unique personality as a couple. From a laid back rustic atmosphere to modern minimalism or classic chic, once you’ve picked the theme for your big day, we can help you design the perfect ceremony as well as finding you the ideal venue to hold it in.
“My biggest piece of advice when planning a wedding in the French Riviera would definitely be not to spend so much time stressing about the big day that you forget why you are doing this in the first place. Things probably aren’t going to be 100% perfect and that’s okay, the little details are what will make your special day even more real and enjoyable, imperfections and all!” Sarah
Find the Right Vendors:
From caterers to photographers, barmen to bands, it’s worth doing your homework to make sure you’re 100% happy with the vendors you’ll be working with in the run-up to your big day. Thanks to our knowledge of the French Riviera and our local contacts, we can provide you with a list of trustworthy wedding service providers for your ceremony and reception leaving you free to add your personal touch to the big day.
“We looked long and hard to find just the right service providers for our wedding ceremony. One of the most important aspects of the day for me was having great music to get everyone up and dancing, so I knew we would need to find a fantastic DJ. My top tip is to check out smaller local providers, they’re not necessarily as well-known as the bigger names but are often just as good if not better!” Vicki
Make it Legal:
In order to get legally married in France, you’ll need to be resident in the town where you plan to get married for at least 40 consecutive days before the ceremony. You will then need to get married in a civil ceremony at the local town hall before holding a religious or humanist ceremony in the venue of your choice . You’ll also need to provide the French authorities with quite a bit of paperwork which we’ve written more about here. But not to worry, if you’re not a French resident you can always choose to hold your civil wedding at home and then hold a second ceremony on the French Riviera to celebrate with your family and friends.
“When it comes to the Mairie, it’s definitely worth double checking everything to avoid administrative hold-ups. Make copies of all your documents and keep them on file so you can email or send them to the relevant office if asked. Also, on the day of your civil ceremony, make sure that you and your witnesses arrive at the Mairie as early as possible as you may end up getting called in earlier than planned if they’re running ahead of time.” Vicki
Location, Location, Location:
Choosing the venue for your special day is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in the lead-up to your wedding. Setting the tone for the whole day, there are lots of things to consider when you’re searching for the ideal venue. You’ll need to think about logistics including availability, accessibility, onsite accommodation and/or parking plus any restrictions the venue might impose with regards to catering, alcohol or music. To help you find the ideal venue for your ceremony and reception, we’ve put together a list of our exclusive French Riviera event spaces below. Now all you have to do is choose your favourite:
Ideally located in La Californie in Cannes, this stunning property and gardens offer panoramic sea views for your ceremony and reception which can be held in the villa or in a marquee in the grounds. With 3 villas onsite, the estate can also host many of your family and friends during the wedding weekend.
An exceptional villa set close to the Medieval village of Eze, hold your ceremony around the infinity pool before partying the night away on the villa’s 230m² rooftop terrace overlooking the Mediterranean. Offering the ultimate in both architecture and comfort, the villa can also accommodate 10 guests overnight in 5 ensuite bedrooms.
The ideal venue for a waterfront wedding, this beautiful villa has a huge terrace overlooking the Mediterranean. Located in Antibes, hold your ceremony in the villa’s magnificent garden then enjoy an unforgettable evening by the beach. The villa also has accommodation for up to 8 guests overnight.
Owned by a Michelin starred chef and his family, this fabulous villa and restaurant overlooking the water will take your breath away. Set on the beach in the Cap d’Antibes, the villa can be accessed by boat for a grand entrance on your big day and has a large jetty for a waterfront ceremony and reception.
A magnificent Florentine-style villa located in the beautiful village of St Paul de Vence, this is a wonderful location for a romantic wedding ceremony. New to the property market, the villa features both indoor and outdoor swimming pools and is surrounded by gardens overlooking the hills.
A 7-bedroom Italian villa dating back to the 18th century, this wonderful property is set close to the French-Italian border overlooking the Mediterranean. Surrounded by lush gardens, hold your ceremony in the private olive grove or on the vast terrace which offers direct access to the water. The villa also has accommodation for 14 people during the wedding weekend.
A unique setting for your special day, this superb 5-bedroom villa is located in Villefranche-sur-Mer and is surrounded by water on 3 sides.Framed by dramatic scenery, the villa’s infinity pool and beautifully-manicured lawns will be the ideal spot for your ceremony and reception.
Set in over 8000m² of stunning landscaped gardens, this opulent villa is located in an exclusive residential area of St Tropez. Featuring a breathtaking infinity pool, the property offers a vast terrace with panoramic views of the azure waters of the Bay de Canebiers for your ceremony and reception and has onsite accommodation plus parking for your guests.
Set in Les Parcs, Saint Tropez’s most prestigious private domain, this alluring villa boasts a heated infinity swimming pool, extensive covered terraces and breathtaking views of the Mediterranean. The ideal setting for a chic ceremony or reception, you’ll love this exclusive contemporary property.
Tucked away in the Medieval village of Eze, this dazzling Château is one of the most striking hotels in the French Riviera. With 14 rooms plus a gourmet restaurant, the hotel can be fully privatised to create a truly enchanting setting for your romantic wedding ceremony and reception
Located just a few minutes from the beach in Cannes, this outstanding villa would be a spectacular backdrop for a wedding. Set in over 13,000m² of manicured gardens, the villa offers sweeping panoramic views of the Bay of Cannes and the mountains which surround the city. Hold your ceremony by the outdoor pool then unwind in the villa’s private spa after the big day is over.
A truly unique setting for your wedding celebration, this beautiful motor yacht can be transformed into a floating party space for up to 250 guests. Drop anchor in one of the Riviera’s secluded coves then watch as your guests arrive by zodiac tender for your ceremony then hold an unforgettable reception on the yacht’s vast sundeck as the sun goes down over the Mediterranean.
An authentic Provençal chateau, this splendid manor and guest house is the perfect spot for a romantic wedding in the countryside. Hold your ceremony on the lawn by the beautiful outdoor pool then spend the evening celebrating under the stars with an outdoor reception in the garden. The guest house also has overnight accommodation for up to 14 people.
Once owned by the Lumière brothers, this magnificent chateau has everything you need for an unforgettable wedding day. Get ready in the stunning bridal suite then hold your ceremony in the property’s 13th century chapel before partying the night away in the castle grounds overlooking the Bay of Bandol. Ideal for large groups, the chateau also has onsite accommodation for up to 23 people.
Hidden away in the vineyards and olive groves of Provence, this superb château will provide a magical setting for your special day. Steeped in history and beautifully decorated, hold your ceremony in the elegant reception room before celebrating with your friends and family in the conservatory with its private dance floor.
Set in the rolling countryside of the Camargue National Park, this 18th Century Bergerie has been transformed into an exclusive wedding venue. With over 750m²of reception space available, dazzle your guests with a truly unique ceremony before throwing a reception to remember in the Bergerie’s magnificent ballroom.
Located in the heart of Provence near Orange and Avignon, an avenue of centuries-old trees leads up to this enchanting château. Surrounded by 20 acres of beautifully-kept grounds with a magnificent courtyard, formal gardens and a fabulous outdoor swimming pool, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing the perfect spot for your outdoor ceremony and reception in this wonderful setting.