At the end of July, a “stunned” family finds itself surrounded by a dozen large cars on the town hall square in Saint-Denis: a wedding procession has degenerated into an urban rodeo, with luxury cars specially rented for the occasion.
“A tragedy was narrowly avoided,” says Katy Bontinck, first deputy mayor. An investigation, entrusted to the Seine-Saint-Denis judicial police, has been opened.
After this incident, the municipality of Saint-Denis, which celebrates nearly 400 weddings a year, introduced a new regulation including in particular the “prohibition of pyrotechnic devices, processions in the pedestrian perimeter, the designation of a referent of married, who will guarantee that everything will go well between the guests and the chosen one who celebrates the wedding”, lists Ms. Bontinck.
Like Saint-Denis, other municipalities have, for several years, decided to react.
– “The ball in the stomach” –
Poissy, about twenty kilometers west of Paris, presents itself as the first to have demanded a deposit of 1,000 euros, effective since last January.
A solution that has brought “appeasement” to this city of 37,000 inhabitants and has allowed “this day of celebration not to become a day of defeat”, welcomes the former mayor DVD Karl Olive, currently deputy Ensemble des Yvelines.
The idea was imposed in the face of “an acceleration of overflows in 2021”, he explains to AFP.
Like this September 25, when smoke bombs are sent to the forecourt of the Town Hall by a procession of vehicles. Four arrests take place.
Above all, during this marriage, incivilities were invited to the interior of the town hall. “The families insulted the chosen one, the spouses were late, the guests went to the balcony despite the ban …”, details Mr. Olive.
Agents even entrust the elected official with hosting ceremonies “with the ball in the stomach”.
From now on, out of the 1,000 euros deposit, 400 euros will be collected if the spouses are thirty minutes late, 500 euros if there is damage in the town hall and 100 euros if the cleaning must be invoiced.
“Since then, we have had only one delay out of a hundred weddings,” says the former mayor, who also had a camera installed inside the wedding hall.
This deposit, which only concerns the Town Hall, also has a broad deterrent effect on incivility in the streets, he assures.
– A “discriminating” guarantee –
Poissy inspired its neighbor, Carrières-sous-Poissy, where the same deposit will be effective in September.
In the meantime, the town hall is using the tools at its disposal. Between 2,000 and 3,000 euros in fines were imposed barely ten days ago, when this small town of 15,000 inhabitants saw “150 cars” pass by to escort the bride-to-be with great reinforcements of fireworks mortar fire and smoke bombs.
The ecologist mayor, Eddie Aït, also remembers a marriage that he had to suspend. “The guests made so much noise when reading the articles of law that I was not sure that the spouses understood what they were committing to”.
Problematic when one commits for a lifetime.
“Marriage is a festive moment, but it is above all a moment of administrative normality”, recalls the mayor, who hopes that by “creating a responsibility through the wallet”, the deposit will make it possible to “restore the marriage in the ritual republican”.
In Reims too, a double deposit (700 euros in total) has been compulsory since June.
Some cities, however, refuse this system of deposits, which they consider “discriminatory”.
In Saint-Denis, a poor town, “the bride and groom do not necessarily have 1,000 euros, or a checkbook”, explains Ms. Bontick.
In the North, in Lille and Maubeuge, the cities have not yet subscribed to the system of guarantees, but have opted to ban weddings on Saturday afternoons.