Are you thinking of getting married in Spain? Your Marriage and your Wedding are two different things, let me explain!

The Legal Marriage

To be legally married in Spain you need to complete the required paperwork at the local Civil Register Office, and then make the legally required declarations before the licensed person officiating.  This is the marriage.  If you marry in Church you need to go through the same process. This differs to the UK, where the religious leader leading the service is generally licensed to perform the legal marriage in the Church where you will sign the Register before him and your witnesses.

The Wedding Celebration

The rituals you perform, exchanging vows and promises, a candle ceremony, a handfasting, readings etc., these are your wedding ceremony.  Add to this the speeches, the wedding breakfast, the afterparty, and all these come together to form part the ceremonial celebration of your love for one another.

So, the question is, should you do the legal bit, the marriage bit, in Spain or at home?  The quick answer is at home and here’s the reasons why!


Getting married in Spain if you are not Spanish is possible however, one of the reasons I would say don’t is the bureaucracy you have to go through, this can be overwhelming and very time consuming.  If you do not speak Spanish, you will need to engage someone to help you with this.  Do ensure sufficient time to deal with this prior to your big day.

If you want your marriage to be legalised in Spain, whether you are marrying in a Church or not, you will need to go through the process of completing the paperwork at the local Civil Registry Office.  Most importantly, to legally marry in Spain, one of you will need to have been resident in Spain for at least two years prior to the date of the wedding or be a Spanish National.  For these reasons, I would always suggest doing it at home.  

The Alternative!

As most people getting married in Spain will not fulfil the residency requirement, the alternative is to do the legal marriage at your local register office, and then fly to Spain for your Celebrant-led wedding ceremony, to celebrate your love with family and friends.

Whether you are from the UK or further afield, it’s easier to do the legal marriage in your country of origin and then fly to Spain for your wedding.  At home you know the law, you speak the language and you can pop backwards and forwards to your local Register Office as required.

A Wedding in Spain!

If you are thinking of having a wedding in Spain with a Celebrant, we have beautiful beaches, mountain views, historic castles, gardens galore and yachts to sail off into the sunset, in other words, you are spoilt for choice!

We have over 300 days sunshine each year so whether you want a winter or summer wedding, sand or snow, you are guaranteed your choice with bright clear skies.   If you are looking for a beach wedding then the Costa Del Sol will not disappoint you from Malaga to Estepona there are beautiful beaches within 5 minutes from the airport. If you want a winter wedding and love to ski, then the Sierra Nevada mountains in the province of Granada is the perfect choice. The Costa Tropical has beautiful marinas from which you can sail out to sea and have your intimate wedding on a yacht!

If you would like more information on a wedding ceremony in Spain then click here.


Photographer Lara-Jayne Jackson