There’s no more enchanting way to exchange vows, celebrate an anniversary, or promise yourself to your loved one, than with a traditional Polynesian celebration. Traditional Polynesian wedding ceremonies in Tahiti were not recognized as legal in North America until 2010. Now for the first time, Canadian, US and British citizens can be legally married in Tahiti. Choose from a civil wedding ceremony in the beautiful city hall of Papeete, Moorea or Bora Bora. There are a number of compulsory conditions that must be met, including 180 days advance notice so please plan early and do not hesitate to contact us for further information.
The following rules must be met:
- Both spouses must be at least 18 years old
- Both spouses cannot be already married
- Spouses must be of the opposite sex
- Cannot be related by direct lineage
- Cannot be of French origin or have French residential status in France or its territories
- Both spouses must be physically in French Polynesia at least 3 days prior to the ceremony
- The bride and the groom must each choose a witness (who must be 18 years of age or older)
- A translator/interpreter must be present at the ceremony (the resort may provide this see below)
Wedding Requirements for French Polynesia (Tahiti)
- The “Marriage of Foreign Citizens in French Polynesia” form must be completed
- A letter signed and dated by both future spouses, addressed to the mayor of the commune chosen for the marriage ceremony
- Proof of identity of both the future spouses (copies of their passports)
- A certified copy of both spouses birth certificate authenticated with an “Apostille” (note: the birth certificates MUST have been issued less than 6 months prior to the date of the marriage). Both of the birth certificates AND the “Apostille” MUST be translated into French by an approved translator and legalized by the French Consulate.
- A “Certificate of Non-Marital Status” (“Certificat de Celibat”) signed by lawyer, translated into French and legalized by the French Consulate.
- Proof of residency for both of the future spouses (a utility bill or any bill noting names and physical address will suffice).
- Optional, if a prenuptial agreement has been created, it must be translated into French and authenticated by the French Consulate.
- Expedite ALL MATERIALS to the Mayor’s office in French Polynesia at LEAST 45 DAYS PRIOR TO THE CEREMONY of the commune in which the spouses are getting married. After submission of the application file the Mayor’s office will send spouses an approval letter.
- The approval letter is proof that your application has been approved – you MUST have this document with you on the day of your ceremony in order for the marriage to be legal!
- On the day of the ceremony, the future spouses guests and the witnesses go to the Mairie (city hall) – hotels can provide the two witnesses if required.
- The Mayor (or an appointed representative from the Mayor’s office) will perform the ceremony, in the presence of at least two witnesses if required.
- After the ceremony, the mayor will give the spouses a Marriage Certificate (“Certificat de Celebration de Mariage”). this certificate will be dated and signed by the mayor’s office of the commune in which the marriage takes place and will allow the spouses to prove that the marriage was legal when going back to their country of origin.
Once you have been legally married you will then return to the Tahitian resort of your choosing to take part in a traditional Tahitian Wedding Ceremony. We are delighted to announce that translators/interpreters no longer have to be officially recognized and under oath by the French Government when serving at a Civil Wedding Ceremony in any Town Hall in French Polynesia. The French Government by Official Note dated 20 September 2010, has declared that any hotel employee:
- older than 18 years and younger than 70 years
- with no criminal record
- having practiced or used the foreign language on a regular basis recognized by the hotel employer
can be immediately inducted under oath by the Mayor of the Town Hall to translate at a Civil Wedding Ceremony. It has been further recognized that if a translator/interpreter for the mother tongue required is not available on the island, the following two options are now legal:
- if the future bride & groom have a good comprehension of the French language, the ceremony can take place in French or
- if the future bride & groom understand another language other than their mother tongue or French (English for example), the ceremony can take place in that language.
In the above two cases, it is appropriate that a statement be prepared and signed by the future wedded couple when filing the papers with the Town Hall mentioning “that the couple have a sufficient understanding of the French language to follow the ceremony” or “that the couple have a sufficient understanding of the language chosen to celebrate the ceremony to follow the ceremony”.
Furthermore and yet still in a greater effort to facilitate the Civil Wedding Ceremony, witnesses can now be chosen by the Mayor if the future couple are unable to provide witnesses. Even the translator/interpreter can serve as a witness.