For those wishing to hold their wedding in Spain there are several steps that the couple must adhere to. The spanish authorities enjoy asking for more and more paperwork and this can get very complicated and can be stressful even for the registered residents. The first step is to contact the local registry office, town hall or church where you are planning to marry.
Because of the often extensive paperwork many couples chose to take care of the legalities by civil marriage in their home country and then hold a celebration here in Spain for their friends and family, which to all present will appear as a normal wedding ceremony.
For couples who reside in Spain but have married in their home country the only legal requisite is an official translation of their marriage certificate for certain legal/town hall transactions.
For those planning on getting married in Spain, the first step is to contact the relevant authority (town hall / registry office / district court / religious authority) in the place where you are planning to get married. They will be able to inform you of the documents they will require from you. Please bear in mind that your local Consulate will not be able to give you this information; it must come from the relevant authority where you plan to get married.
Civil and religious (Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim) marriages can be celebrated in Spain.
Please note that marriages celebrated abroad are not registered in General Register Offices in the United Kingdom, nor in British Consulates or Embassies. The law applicable in the United Kingdom usually recognises foreign marriages which fulfil the requirements of the country where the marriage took place, where both parties to the marriage had the capacity to marry and where each party consented to marry the other.
Applications for civil marriages must be made to the Civil Registry (see the Spanish Ministry of Justice's website for contact details), District Court or Town Hall in the place where the marriage is to be celebrated. As it may take some time to receive an appointment with the town hall and/or registrar, and for paperwork to be processed, it is important that you make contact with them at the earliest possible opportunity. They will tell you what documentation they require.
Requirements for religious marriages vary according to the denomination and area in which an applicant lives, and applicants will be asked for a variety of documents. Please consult the relevant authority for information on these. Religious marriages are recognised as legal under Spanish law, but to obtain an official marriage certificate, the marriage must subsequently be registered with the local civil authorities. Therefore, it is important to confirm that the officiator of the marriage is licensed to marry and to establish arrangements for civil registration. You should check whether the officiator will register the religious marriage on your behalf or whether they will provide you with the paperwork to do so yourselves.
Please remember to check the requirements with your local Civil Registry as not all may be required
Yes, if one of you is registered for at least 2 years as a Spanish resident. You need to weigh up the effort, cost (approx €800) and amount of paperwork that will need completing and numerous visits to the Spanish Town Hall, against the convenience of completing your legal paperwork in your country of residence and then celebrating your Wedding Blessing Ceremony here in Spain. Which is just like the actual day: with the wedding dress, exchange of rings, declaration of marriage etc. Your guests don’t need to know that it is not a legal ceremony if you prefer.