You can get married in Spain, even if neither of you are Spanish. It’s complicated, tedious, but it can be done. Depending upon your circumstances, nationality/status/faith and not forgetting financial circumstances, it may be prudent to engage a specialist and English speaking ‘Abogado’ (Spanish lawyer) to assist you.
Alternatively there is a growing trend towards having a civil wedding in a couple’s home country followed by a more personal, intimate blessing (which has all the elements of a wedding service i.e. exchange of vows and rings) and has the great advantage that you decide the vows, music, readings etc. As blessings can be held in a very wide variety of venues, you can choose your dream location for your special ceremony.(See ‘Marriage Blessings’ below) Civil and religious (Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim) marriages can be celebrated in Spain for people over 18. While Spanish law appears to permit foreigners to marry in Spain, in practice it will usually be necessary for one of the couple to have been legally resident in Spain for at least two years. An application for marriage in Spain will usually involve lengthy and time-consuming paperwork, and applicants should therefore allow plenty of time.
Civil and religious marriages between foreigners or a foreigner and a Spanish national are possible in Spain. Agreements between the State and the major non-Catholic faiths governing the acceptance of religious marriage ceremonies are being finalised and should be possible in the near future.
Subject to the agreement of individual priests, it is possible to have a civil marriage blessed in a non-catholic church.
Roman Catholic Marriages
Catholics of any country can be married legally in Spain. If one of the parties is Catholic and the other not, then marriage is still possible with a Dispensation, which must be requested from their Bishopric. Neither party can be divorced. These are a matter for the local Archbishop in the area of the forthcoming marriage and, in general, a baptism certificate and a statutory declaration by the parents of the English party to the effect that their son/daughter is single, is required. Formalities do, however, vary significantly from parish to parish and the requirements should be checked well in advance with the local priest. Please note the demand for Catholic churches is high so booking must be made well in advance.
Civil Marriages Documentation:
- A birth certificate (accompanied by a sworn translation)
- Passport, Consular registration Certificate.
- Certificate of Residence. If not a permanent resident in Spain, you can sign an affidavit before a Consular Officer indicating your place of residence for the last 6 years, as well as your temporary residence in Spain.
- Consular Certificate of No-Impediment to the marriage are required.
- Divorce/Annulment Certificate of any previous marriages.
- If applicable an original death certificate
Formalities may vary and applicants should check which precise documents are needed.
A notice of intention to marry is displayed on a Consular notice board for 21 days. The notice itself is sworn by the applicant and can only be accepted if he/she has been residing for a 21 day period in the area where the notice is displayed.
Where one of the parties to the forthcoming marriage is resident in the UK and will be coming to Spain for the marriage ceremony they should approach the nearest Spanish Consulate in the UK for full information.
If proof of UK residence is needed, a letter can be obtained from the local Electoral Registration Office.
All documents that are in English have to have the Hague Apostille on them. This is available from the following address:
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
London SW1A 2LG
Tel 0207 008 1111
The current fee for the Apostille is £19 for each document. If you go there in person this process takes about 2 days. If you send the documents by post it takes about 2 weeks and you need to send an extra £2 for postage and packing.
All documents must then be translated into Spanish and presented at the relevant town hall at least 3 months before the planned wedding.
It is important to bear in mind that paperwork can be lengthy and time consuming and forward planning is imperative, especially when you’re getting married in the summer.
Gay and Lesbian Weddings in Spain
A wedding is a celebration of the love between two people, whether it is two men, two women or a man and a woman. Spain has become the 3rd country to legalize gay and lesbian marriages.
For couples that live in Spain, or who own property and can therefore obtain their Certificate of Empadramiento it is now possible to have a civil wedding in Spain. For more information on the paperwork required for same sex weddings please click here to see the legal requirements.
Whilst all effort is made to make sure that this information is up to date, we accept no responsibility whatsoever for any errors or omissions that may occur.
For services and venues on Ibiza please take a look at Ibiza Weddings Spain.