With a choice of luxurious resorts and idyllic white-sand beaches fringed by gently swaying palm trees, New Caledonia offers the perfect spot to say 'I do' – and the ideal destination for that long dreamt of beach wedding in the South Pacific!
The legal requirements for getting married in New Caledonia are a bit more complicated than in some other South Pacific countries. We recommend using a local wedding co-ordinator together with a clergy member in the case of a religious ceremony.
Most resorts have wedding co-ordinators on staff that can get the application process started using copies of your legal documents.
Non-residents visiting New Caledonia no longer need the one month residency but can be married in a civil ceremony on arrival, so long as all the paperwork has been officially approved. French visitors to New Caledonia can also get married if they can provide proof of one month’s residence in New Caledonia.
Couples do not have to attend a registry office in person, so documentation can be organised prior to arrival. However, all documents should be sent at least six weeks in advance of the wedding date to allow sufficient time for processing.
If you wish, you can have a non-legal ceremony and you don't have to supply any official documentation.
Marriages performed in New Caledonia are recognised internationally and are legally binding worldwide.
Three days, prior to wedding date, but all the relevant documents must be sent in advance.
Ensure that all documents are in your legal name, and provide affidavits in cases where you are known by another name.
You should supply the following documents at least four weeks in advance of the wedding date. Copies of original documents are acceptable but must be accompanied with a certified French translation.Documents required for getting married in New Caledonia, include…
In addition, a letter signed and dated by the future spouses, addressed to the Mayor of the commune chosen for the marriage ceremony, requesting the Mayor to apply the provisions of Article 58 of Law N°2009-594, dated 27 May 2009, and specifying the date of the marriage ceremony.
The marriage ceremony must be carried out by a Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages, at the Town Hall, in the presence of at least two witnesses, and four or more people, relatives or not, of the spouses, aged at least 18 years old.
It’s important to note that all ceremonies are performed in French. If the couple isn’t fluent in French, they can choose an interpreter to be present to translate the ceremony.
At the time of the marriage ceremony a French Family Record Book will be issued free of charge to the spouses.
As a rule, wedding bookings are not accepted on a Sunday, or religious or national holidays, but there can be exceptions and a fee may apply.
Some faiths may require additional documents for a religious service, whether held inside a church or elsewhere. You may want to check this with your wedding co-ordinator or local minister.
For instance, couples of the Roman Catholic faith should allow at least six months before the planned wedding date in order to process all the necessary paperwork (certificates of baptism, dispensations, statements of freedom to marry, etc.).
You should make contact with the priest whom you want to have officiate at your wedding as soon as possible. He will help you complete the necessary paperwork and provide part of your marriage preparation instruction.
Following the wedding ceremony at the Town Hall, you will receive your Marriage Certificate. You may then need to visit your local embassy or consulate to get a certified transcription of your marriage certificate.
European Union citizens (except the United Kingdom and Ireland) may need to have their Marriage Certificate apostilled (or authenticated).
This does not apply to citizens of United States, Canada, Australia or New Zealand. Citizens of Asian countries, South and Central America should check with their Civil Registrar/Marriage Celebrant as to whether an Apostille is required for your country.
Imagine being carried by outrigger canoe across a crystal clear turquoise lagoon to a pristine white-sand beach where your new partner for life awaits. Beneath gentle swaying palm fronds you exchange wedding vows as a local trio serenades you and your lover.
This is a popular form of ‘marriage’ in New Caledonia and can easily be arranged through local specialists who will make your wedding ceremony unforgettable. (Remember these marriages are a pure New Caledonia experience and they are not legally recognised or binding marriages).
The style of wedding ceremony is up to you. You can choose either a Kanak wedding ceremony with a traditional massage, dress and local dances followed by a feast of bougna (a dish of steamed yams and meat cooked under hot stones), or a French Polynesian-style wedding with Tahitian dancers and French gourmet cuisine.
Many hotels and resorts offer experienced wedding co-ordinators who can insure that the entire process of getting married in New Caledonia, including fulfilling all legal requirements, is stress free.
For more information: The relevant town hall in New Caledonia can advise of local legal requirements, including documentation and confirm eligibility. Contact details of town halls are provided on the website of the Government of New Caledonia and may be contacted directly.
Further information for Australian citizens: For translation or interpretation services may consider contacting the Australian National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters, or Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators.
French authorities may also require foreign documents to be apostilled in the country they are issued – please check smartraveller.gov.au for Apostilles in Australia.
Local authorities may require a Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage (CNI) and a “Certificat de Coutume”. Both certificates can be issued to Australian citizens and permanent residents in Australia (further information on smartraveller.gov.au).
The Australian Consulate-General in Noumea can provide a letter that satisfies the “Certificat de Coutume” requirement, but only after a CNI has been issued. To request a copy of the letter, please contact the email@example.com.
Other nationalities should consult their respective embassy or consulate in regard to obtaining specific documents.
Please note: while accurate at time of publication this information is for guidance purposes only and liable to change without notice. Please check with your wedding planner at your resort of choice or the relevant embassy of the country in which you intend to marry for up-to-date details before your wedding.
Latest update: How to get married in New Caledonia: 31 March, 2020
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