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American getting married in France or Italy

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Is there anyone out there who can de-mystify the process for an American to get married in France or Italy.

My first choice is France but from what I have gleaned thus far, one of the two must live in France for at least 40 days prior to the wedding so I think France will be out of the question choice..Italy

I know I can get married here in the states and fly off to whatever country I want for a honeymoon and perhaps even have a simple service but this is not what I want. What I would really like is to just get married by the justice of the peace with a simple service consisting of a witness or 2 and that's it. None of our family would be able to attend so am not looking for a wedding planner to throw some humungus expensive wedding.

I am older, let's just say late 50's this is my second marriage. The first one I ran off to the justice of the peace, now this one I have been living with 25 years now. I really don't want to waste money on a huge wedding and stuff and all that fluff would rather blow the money on a trip to europe instead but because I didn't have that dream ideal wedding with a gown and all that froo froo stuf that most young women get to experience then this time around I wanted it to be unique in some way and since we both adore going to europe and France is my favorite country then Italy although I must say it's a very close tie.

I have been searching on gettting married in either one of those countries and I am so totally confused so I was hoping somone here could help or at least point me in the right direction for help in this matter.

So anyone out there who has perhaps experienced this process or knows who or where I contact please let me know.

Thanks a bunch............

Happy Travels

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