Your ultimate guide to

eloping in Paris

in 2024

So you're considering eloping in Paris, the City of Love - what could be more romantic? If you feel a little overwhelmed at the thought of planning a wedding in a foreign country where they speak another language, fear not! We've put together this Ultimate Guide to Eloping in Paris in 2024, outlining everything you need to know before your big day.

STEP 1

Choosing a date for your Paris elopement

Your ceremony date depends on when you can make a trip to Paris and your schedule, but there are some things to think about when choosing a date.

Weather is a big factor if you’re having an outdoor ceremony. In Paris, it rains the most in November and April and is coldest in January and February. If you want to avoid hot weather, then July and August isn’t the best time. 

Many couples love the idea of a sunrise ceremony to capture the beautiful light and avoid crowds in photos. The best months for a sunrise ceremony are from September to April when the sun rises a bit later. Between April and August, it rises before 7am, and in June, it can be before 6am. This means you’d have a very early start at around 4am for your beauty session.

Other popular months for an elopement in Paris are December – for the beautiful Christmas decorations in the city – and February for a Valentine’s Day anniversary.

We especially like October for a Paris elopement because of the mild weather and the easy option for a sunrise ceremony.

If you choose to plan your special day with Perfect Paris Wedding, make sure you check out our handy calendar for your ceremony date as not all days, such as July 14 (Bastille Day), November 11 (Armistice Day), and the final day of the Tour de France, are available. If your date is not available, we will work to make sure you can find an alternative one that works for you.

Winter wedding in Paris

Ilayda and Shaun’s Winter wedding

Summer wedding in Paris

Jasmine & Timothy’s Summer wedding

“I love sunrise ceremonies. The city is so quiet that it feels like the city is all yours. Watching the sunrise come up over the Eiffel Tower during the ceremony is magical and makes this moment truly magical.”

– Caroline, wedding officiant

STEP 2

Choosing the size of your ceremony

Do you envision a ceremony with just the two of you or one with your closest loved ones to witness your commitment for one another? Elopements are typically just the couple, but we also use it to describe ceremonies with a small number of guests as they are just as intimate.

We love all of the outdoor venues that Paris has to offer. They are the most beautiful backdrops to a romantic ceremony and they are free! However, they do not work for ceremonies with more than 15 guests as Paris does not allow for groups larger than this to congregate near the Eiffel Tower and other popular tourist destinations.

With a group smaller than 15, you truly do have a more intimate experience, and there is less stress for the couple leading up to the ceremony. 

“When there are more than 15 guests, I always know that the day will be a little more stressful for the bride. Whatever we do, there will be guests arriving late and unfortunately causing delays.”

– Erin, Wedding planner

If you do decide to invite more than 15 guests, there are indoor options such as the American Church, but you will miss out on a beautiful outdoor venue.

If you are traveling with children, you can have your ceremony and then have them come along for a family photo tour. Don’t worry, you can still have just couples photos even if your little ones accompany you. If you have very young children, we would recommend that you bring an adult family member along to take care of them while you are having couples photos.

Father and daughter on a family photo session during a Paris wedding

If you decide to elope just the two of you, then you will have the pleasure of experiencing a very fun and intimate as well as stress-free ceremony and photo tour. True elopements are some of our most favorite ceremonies because they are very relaxed, and there are no complications. After your ceremony and photo tour, you can celebrate your big day with a romantic dinner for two in one of Paris’s amazing restaurants.

Intimate wedding in Paris romantic elopement

STEP 3

Booking wedding vendors

There are several must-haves for a perfect Paris elopement including a photographer, officiant, hair and makeup artist, chauffeur, and florist. A great team is make or break for a stress-free and enjoyable wedding day, so if you are planning your big day on your own, we will go through some of the most important points to consider.

One of the most important members of your ceremony team is your photographer. After all, you will be cherishing these photos for the rest of your life, and you want them to be perfect. You will want to find a photographer that can provide you with a relaxing experience while also taking stunning photos and capturing the most special moments of your ceremony and photo tour. Another factor to take into consideration is if the photographer you have chosen has experience in leading a photo tour in Paris. This is not as easy as it sounds as they must coordinate with your chauffeur and be familiar with Paris traffic patterns as well as the best spots for photos.

"As a photographer, my role is to subtly guide the couple into being fully present and connected with each other, allowing me to authentically document the depth and beauty of their love story, capturing those intimate, emotive moments in their purest form."

– Julien, Wedding photographer

Your officiant is another key member of your ceremony team. You will need to make sure that he or she speaks English and has had experience with small ceremonies and elopements in an outdoor setting. Some couples also choose to have a friend or family member be their officiant which is a wonderful way of making your ceremony extra special. You can read more about choosing an officiant further down in this article.

Hair and makeup is an absolute must in order to have beautiful photos, and being pampered is the perfect way to start your big day. You will need to find a hair and makeup artist that speaks English and is able to replicate the vision you have for your look. Also, you should find a hair and makeup artist that is experienced and talented enough to make you look stunning without having to do a trial beforehand as you most likely won’t have enough time in Paris before your ceremony to schedule this. A final factor to keep in mind is if they are able to arrive very early in the morning if you have opted for a sunrise ceremony.

"My best tip? As your wedding day gets closer, start a beauty routine with moisturizers and primers. It will go a long way."

– Katia, Hair and makeup artist

Finding an English speaking and reliable chauffeur is also very important to ensuring you have a memorable ceremony and photo tour. We do not recommend relying on Ubers or taxis to move from one photo location to the next. In our experience, doing this means waiting for long amounts of time and staring at your phone when all couples should be doing is enjoying their photo tour and the beauty around them. You also won’t be able to leave personal items in an Uber while you are taking photos with your photographer. With a chauffeur, you are guaranteed a seamless photo tour as they will be in the right location right when you need them, and in fact, they wait for you, not the other way around.

If you are considering walking from one location to another, be mindful that some of the most iconic locations are quite far from each other. For example, it takes 48 minutes to walk from the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre! 

At Perfect Paris Wedding, we simply love our chauffeurs and wouldn’t do without them.

Finally, a florist that can make you your dream bouquet and boutonniere is key for your big day. We do not recommend waiting until you arrive in Paris to find a florist as they may not specialize in bridal flowers, and if you would like a specific look, they may need to order flowers in advance in order to include them in your bouquet and boutonniere. 

Instead, we recommend researching and comparing florists ahead of your arrival in Paris. This way, you can compare what each florist offers as well as their delivery policy and their prices – bridal flowers can get pricey very quickly!

Briefing your flower artist should be easy: simply send them inspirational photos of your dream bouquet. You can check our Pinterest board for inspiration.

Finally, it will also be necessary to coordinate the drop off time for your flowers. We suggest having them delivered at the beginning of your hair and makeup service to allow for any delays in the delivery – or the day before your wedding if you are having a sunrise ceremony.

“The last thing you want to do the day before your wedding day is running errands instead of enjoying the most romantic city on earth”

– Claire, Wedding Planner

In addition to the must-haves for your ceremony and photo tour, there are other services that can make your day extra special such as live music at your ceremony, a champagne toast during your photo tour as well as your photographer capturing the bride’s preparation and first look.

If you want to put on your Wedding Planner hat, make sure that you allocate enough time to search for the perfect vendors online, compare their offers and prices, negotiate with them and agree on all the conditions. Make sure to check their methods of payment as well as their payment plans. You will also want to review their terms and conditions carefully and check their cancellation policy as well, as if they will provide or recommend a replacement in case of unforeseen issues. Once you have built the perfect team of vendors, you will need to create an easy to understand timeline, brief your vendors and coordinate with them before your wedding and also on the day of your ceremony.

If instead you are looking for a stress-free experience, you can consider our all-inclusive package which includes a personal planner who will put together your entire ceremony team and deal with all of the contracts. It also includes all of the must-have services mentioned earlier with our amazing English-speaking team members who have been thoroughly vetted and with whom we have worked for years. Also included in your package is a remote coordinator who will work behind the scenes on your big day, putting out fires without you even knowing about them.

In our opinion, this is the best option in order to have a stress-free and fun day!

STEP 4

Booking Flights and Accommodations

One of the first steps you will have to take is to book a flight to our lovely city. However, before you book flights, we recommend that you look into the hotel rates of when you are planning to come. Sometimes it is possible to find cheap flights but the hotel prices are very expensive due to an event in Paris. The opposite is sometimes true as well – expensive flights and cheap hotels, so do make sure to look at both before booking.

We suggest that you book your hotel or apartment rental close to your ceremony location. This will simplify the logistics of your big day as traffic will not be a concern, and if you have guests, it will be easier for them to arrive on time to your ceremony either in a taxi or hiring a private car and chauffeur.

If you have booked our services and you have any questions about a location, do not hesitate to reach out to your planner. She will be more than happy to advise you on specific hotel locations.

We recommend Booking.com to find a hotel as their map feature can help you to see exactly where your hotel is and which arrondissement it is in. You can also check out our list of Bride Recommended Hotels to see where other couples have stayed and loved.

recommended-paris-hotels-tested-by-brides-shangri-la-eiffel-tower-4

View from the Shangri-La hotel in Paris

Hotel Or Apartment Rental?

You may be wondering if it is better to book a hotel or an apartment rental for your ceremony. There are pros and cons to both, and we will go over them all, so that you can make the best decision to fit your specific needs.

A hotel is a wonderful option as you will have the hotel staff to help you with anything you might need during your stay such as recommending a trusted dry cleaner to have your dress and suit pressed as well as guiding your hair and makeup artists and florist to your room without interrupting your preparations. Staff members should be able to speak English and be able to help your guests book taxis if needed.

One downside to a hotel is space. Hotel rooms in Paris are known for being quite small. If you are planning on having bridesmaids keep you company while you are getting your hair and makeup done or if you would like to have the Bride’s Preparation captured by your photographer, a hotel room may be a bit snug. Make sure you check how big the room you are booking is. For example, a 50 square meters room (50 mètres carré or 50 m2) means 5 meters by 10 meters, which is about 16 feet by 34 feet. This would be a 500 (five hundred) square feet, room which is quite large for a Paris hotel.

A solution to the problem of space would be to book an apartment rental. Depending on the rental, you would have the living area to prepare for your big day which is often more spacious. 

Preparation of the bride (Melany) at the Hilton Opera Paris

An apartment rental may offer more space as well as a more authentic Parisian feel. It may also be located in a nice and lively neighborhood where Parisians actually live!

However, there could be some downsides to renting an apartment. There is no front-desk and you will need to communicate with the owner and organize retrieving the keys. You will receive fewer services and your guests and ceremony team may have difficulty accessing your rental. This may cause delays or interruptions to your preparations on the day of.

Also, keep in mind that many apartment rentals are not equipped with air conditioning. If you are having your ceremony in the summer, you may want to pay close attention to if air conditioning is included as an amenity. 

A final consideration for an apartment rental is if the building has an elevator, and if not, on which floor is the apartment located. An apartment rental may lose its appeal if you will have to go up and down seven flights of stairs in heels!

In summary, when choosing your accommodations in Paris, make sure to check:

  • If it’s conveniently located in central Paris
  • If it offers air conditioning (A/C)
  • How accessible it is (and how many flight of stairs you will need to climb)
  • If you have enough room to comfortably have your hair and makeup services delivered to you

 

STEP 5

Choosing a ceremony location

There are many things to consider when choosing a location for your Paris wedding including if you like an indoor or an outdoor ceremony? Would you like the Eiffel Tower in the background? How much privacy would you like? Would you like to have a violinist play during your ceremony?

We personally recommend having an outdoor ceremony as Paris is an open-air museum filled with exquisite architecture, beautiful parks and iconic monuments. Be excited about a ceremony setting that is a bit out of the ordinary because you are going to have such a unique and special experience that you can’t get anywhere else in the world! Also, don’t be afraid of people being nearby – they often add a special ambiance and may even applaud at the end of your ceremony.

Besides, you don’t need to worry about strangers being on your wedding photos. A professional wedding photographer will know how to make sure that your photos look perfect, as if no one else was there that day.

If you are not sure yet about your ceremony location, it is also perfectly okay to make a decision as you get closer to your ceremony date. You never know what you might get inspired by as the day arrives! Also, if you have booked a package through Perfect Paris Wedding, do not worry about rain – we always have a backup plan!

If you do decide to have an outdoor ceremony, your first consideration should be what you would like to have as the background of your ceremony. Do you want the Eiffel Tower as the backdrop or do you envision another location and then having photos at the Eiffel Tower during your photo tour? 

If having the Eiffel Tower behind you during your vows is a must, there are several different possible locations including, the Trocadero, the Champ de Mars, Port Debilly, and the Trocadero Gardens. Keep in mind that as the Eiffel Tower is one of the most visited monuments in the world, its ceremony locations offer less privacy than some of our other venues. Our most popular Eiffel Tower locations are the Trocadero Gardens for its intimate setting surrounded by greenery and Port Debilly for its breathtaking, unobstructed views of the Eiffel Tower. Port Debilly can even be privatized, and there is an option to add seating for your guests as well as decorations. 

You may be wondering if you can get married in the Eiffel Tower, and unfortunately the answer is no. There is not a lot of room in the Eiffel Tower as there are many tourists visiting and you would need to wait in line to enter. Most importantly, being inside means you miss out on those breathtaking views of the tower itself.

You can read further information about all of our locations on our Eiffel Tower locations page. Also be sure to check out our article about 10 Incredibly Romantic And Completely Free Venues For Your Paris Wedding.

If you have a greener, more natural setting in mind for your ceremony, you may want to consider Parc Monceau or the Luxembourg Gardens. Parc Monceau is just 15 minutes from the Eiffel Tower which makes it an ideal first stop on your photo tour. At the Luxembourg Gardens, the Fontaine de Medicis is a very popular ceremony location. As many tourists come to see it, we recommend having your ceremony early in the morning to avoid crowds.

If you have fallen in love with the beautiful architecture in Paris or you are an art lover, the Louvre could be the perfect ceremony location for you. You can choose from the greener areas surrounding the Louvre or underneath its arches.  Again, as the Louvre is visited by many, many tourists, an early ceremony time will help to avoid crowds.

If you are dreaming of a ceremony with a view on Notre Dame, this may become possible again at the end of 2024. Until then, due to the devastating fire in 2019, the cathedral is still under reconstruction.

If you absolutely want to have an indoor ceremony or you have a considerable amount of guests, possible venues include the American Church and the Chapelle Expiatoire. Both are perfect if you have more than 15 guests. Another option is to rent a terrasse room at the Shangri-La Hotel and have your ceremony performed on your balcony with an Eiffel Tower view.

If you do not know where to start, you can answer a few easy questions in our Venue Location Quiz and find the best option for your ceremony needs.

STEP 6

Choosing your officiant

Who do you want to celebrate your wedding? Do you prefer to have a professional wedding officiant to perform your ceremony or would you like to have a friend or family member do it?

There are a lot of very talented wedding officiants in Paris. What makes a great wedding officiant? They should be experienced, professional, and exhibit a warm, engaging personality to set a comfortable and joyous tone for the ceremony. A benefit to having a professional officiant is that they have lots and lots of experience performing ceremonies and know exactly how to make your ceremony special and memorable. In Paris, most officiants are female and there are a few pastors if you would like to have a religious ceremony. 

Some couples choose to have a friend or family member officiate their ceremony. This can make for a very intimate and unique ceremony. In that case, you may need the help of a professional officiant to write your wedding vows.

Finally, you may wonder how long an elopement ceremony usually lasts: usually they would last about 15 minutes but can be a bit longer if you decide to have a ‘walk down the aisle’ for the bride, a first look, music, or a first dance. 

Ilayda & Shaun with Perfect Paris Wedding officiant Michelle

STEP 7

Choosing your dress

The perfect dress for your wedding or vow renewal ceremony should fit your style but should also be practical for an outdoor ceremony and potentially a photo tour around Paris.

We do not recommend having a long train on your dress as it can make the dress difficult to walk in or can get very dirty and very quickly walking along the streets.

Also, when choosing a dress, make sure to take into consideration how it will fit into the car, especially if you have chosen a vintage car as they offer less space.

We also recommend choosing the right shoes for your ceremony location. If you are getting married in the Trocadero Gardens, for example, a pair of stilettos will sink right into the grass. Bringing a comfortable pair of sneakers is always a good idea for in between photos when you will possibly be walking on cobblestone or in the grass. 

Traveling with your dress

We do recommend that you take your dress on the airplane as a carry-on and not in your checked luggage. You do not want to have your dress lost by the airline. Once you arrive at your hotel or apartment rental, we suggest you have your dress steamed right away, preferably a few days before your ceremony to leave time for delays. If staying at a hotel, the staff can recommend a dry cleaners they have worked with in the past, or if staying in an apartment rental, you can take it to the nearest ‘pressing,’ or dry cleaners in French. We also recommend taking it to the dry cleaners the day after your ceremony if possible in order to get out any stains made on the day.

Some couples ask if they can rent or buy a dress and a tuxedo in Paris, but we do not recommend this option. Often dresses need to be bought at least 6 months in advance to allow time for fittings and alterations, and tuxedo rentals are not commonplace in France. It is best to buy a dress or rent a tuxedo in your home country and bring it with you for your trip.

STEP 8

How to celebrate?

The good news is that you are already in Paris! What better place to have a honeymoon than the City of Love? Some couples choose to stay in Paris while others choose to visit other parts of France or Europe.

In our opinion, the best way to celebrate the night of your ceremony is to have a delicious meal in one of Paris’ amazing restaurants whether with your guests or a romantic dinner for two. If you would like to have a traditional wedding cake, there are a few American-style bakeries in Paris, such as Clove Bakery, where you can order one and bring it to a restaurant. Be sure to ask if your preferred restaurant allows for you to bring a wedding cake and if they charge a cutting fee.

When arriving back in your home country, you can always have a celebration including all of your family and friends where you can show off your photos from your amazing Paris elopement!

There you go! You have all the information you need to get started planning your dream elopement in Paris! Now it’s time to get started! If you are booking with Perfect Paris Wedding, all you need to do is sit back and let your personal planner take care of the rest. Of course, any questions you may have will be answered by one of our friendly inquiry or planning team members. We are here to make your wedding or vow renewal ceremony as stress-free and fun as possible!