Spain is undoubtedly home to some of the most beautiful and breathtaking landscapes in Europe. It’s easy to get to more affordable than some other European countries, and the food, lifestyle, and wine are all big draws for the rest of Europe throughout the year. It’s also a popular wedding destination for those reasons and more. If you’ve been thinking about planning a wedding in Spain, we’ve got some important information for you.
How you can get married in Spain legally:
Through the Catholic Church
Even if you aren’t a resident of Spain or of Europe, if you’re Catholic you can get legally married in Spain – in a Catholic Church, of course. You can even arrange to have English-speaking priests officiate the ceremony. Beware though, the process for a Catholic wedding requires strict paperwork that can take up to 6 months to obtain and process. Also, don’t forget that Spain is still a very Catholic country with high demands for local Catholic Churches for events and weddings – we recommend that provisional dates are booked as early as 18 months in advance to avoid disappointment.
One such place to consider is the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. The incredible structure sits on the east coast of Spain in Galicia and is a World Heritage Site. In the same square is the beautiful and historic Parador de Santiago de Compostela. Originally built in 1499 as a royal hospital to accommodate pilgrims, the Parador is considered one of the oldest hotels in the world. The luxury and history are perfect settings for a wedding party and the hotel is well equipped to help arrange reception dinners after the ceremony at the cathedral.
Either you or your partner is a resident or citizen of Spain
If you or your partner are not a Spanish citizen, then one of you would need to be legally registered as living in Spain for 6 months or more as a resident in order to have a civil ceremony. You must apply for a civil marriage at the Civil Registry in the city where you reside. The paperwork, meetings, and processing can take quite a while, but once it is, you can get married in your local town hall or in another venue conducted by the Town Mayor.
Check around your city for local Paradores. These beautiful, often historic hotels are perfect venues for weddings.
Other ways to get married in Spain:
This is by far the easiest option for those of you who don’t want to go through the Religious or Spanish legalities. You just have to take care of the civil marriage in your own home country first, then you can arrange for the ceremony to take place in Spain.
There are two types of blessings that you are arrange for: religious and non-religious, depending on the celebrant you choose. A straightforward blessing includes exchanging rings, taking your vows, hearing readings from friends and family, and receiving a blessing from the celebrant. Because a blessing is by nature much more flexible, the dates and arrangements won’t be as difficult and you can tailor the ceremony to be as personalized as you want.
If you want to have a religious blessing, we still recommend that you book well in advance – as we mentioned Spain is still a very religious country and the availability of English-speaking celebrants will be limited, especially for other religions besides Christianity. It will be in many ways similar to a non-religious, but will incorporate all the important elements appropriate to that religion.
A non-religious blessing is basically the same as a religious blessing without the religious elements. This means you’ll be able to write your own vows and friends and family won’t be reading from religious texts. A non-religious blessing can be as formal or informal as you wish, your celebrant of choice will be able to help you arrange your ceremony.
Same Sex Marriage
Well ahead of the United States, Spain legalized Same Sex Marriage in July 2005. If you or your partner are a citizen or resident of Spain, you can be married civilly in your place of residence. If not, you can also opt for a religious or non-religious blessing in the location of your choice.
Spain is one of the most popular gay destinations in Europe, Madrid and Barcelona are perfect cities for a weekend break, with museums, sight seeing, shopping and extensive gay night-life in the weekends. Paradisiacal islands like Ibiza and Gran Canaria are also highly popular. Playa del Ingles on Gran Canaria is one of the most popular gay destinations in Europe.
There’s a beautiful Parador there called the Parador de Cruz de Tejeda. Natural paradise surrounds the hotels that has a lovely spa and an outdoor swimming pool that extends towards a pine wood with views of cliffs and ravines overlooking the ocean.
See? Spain isn’t just a dream wedding destination, it’s entirely possible!