Written by Amy Croffey Last updated: April 16, 2012
Getting married in Spain is becoming a very popular choice for couples! “When you think about the sandy beaches, a relaxing break, amazing locations and the summer sun – what’s not to like?” asks Spain based wedding planner, Louise Bradley of LyndylooinSpain.
Images courtesy of Schillings Photography
When some couples first decide to get married in Spain, they think there will be a minefield of choices and paperwork, but getting the right advice makes it very easy to have the wedding of your dreams abroad. Getting married in Spain is not just a wedding, it is a holiday for you and your guests that they will never, ever forget.
In Spain, there are many different ways to get married and to celebrate your big day in the sun. First you could choose a religious Catholic Church wedding. Second, a civil wedding at a designated venue, or third – a wedding blessing. The three options are all different and have their owns rules and regulations. Choosing the right type of ceremony is a crucial part to getting married, as it also influences other decisions like the style and location of the venue.
There is only one type of religious ceremony that can be carried out in Spain and that is a full Roman Catholic ceremony. It must take place in a Catholic church and cannot take place outside of the church. It is a legally binding wedding and the local civil registry gets updated with the wedding details.
A Catholic wedding requires a lot of work to be done beforehand with your local Priest. Spain is a very religious country and the sacrament of marriage is a sacred commitment, so all the paperwork must be completed and submitted in the correct manner.
The main advantage of a Catholic wedding in Spain is that it will be a legally binding wedding, and it can take place in any Spanish Catholic Cathedral or Catholic Church.
A civil service in Spain is a fully legal marriage and is recognised throughout the world, even though your documents will always be in Spanish.
In Spain, a civil wedding can take place at a designated venue but must by law be registered in the civil registry at the local town hall or Justice of the Peace. This means that in most cases a civil wedding ceremony will be held at the venue of your choice alongside an appointment at the local civil registry. There are lots of different rules regarding civil weddings in Spain for both resident and non residents and this will vary from region to region , so it is important to check with the relevant authorities well in advance – please note not all areas of Spain allow non-residents to marry in a civil ceremony.
The civil ceremony itself is conducted in English but does have the Spanish Civil code to marriage in Spanish. The bride and groom are encouraged to make it personal and add any special readings, music or vows.
The legal part of the civil ceremony, which takes part in front of the judge in the civil registry, takes around five minutes. Here you agree to abide by the civil code and sign the legal paperwork. The wedding does require a lot of paperwork and the length of time required will depend on your nationality and if you have had any previous marriages. Paperwork is always started in your home town and then sent across to Spain and submitted to the appropriate authority.
Images courtesy of Schillings Photography
The wedding blessing is the most popular choice in Spain as it offers the most flexibility for the bride and groom and they can choose every detail of the wedding. They are not restricted to any particular venue or day and are most of all not required to do as much legal paperwork.
The ceremony itself takes the same form as a traditional wedding ceremony or a civil ceremony and can be conducted by a Church of England Vicar, Civil non faith celebrant or a Minister. The content of the ceremony can be designed by the couple alongside their chosen celebrant, so they can make it really personal to them. It is not legally binding as the legal side must be done in your home town.
In Spain, there are lots of different areas to choose from. The Costa Blanca or the Costa Del Sol are popular choices because they have, on average, 340 days of sunshine each year, so you don’t have to worry about getting soaked in your beautiful dress! The best months to get married in Spain are from April to October and the most popular are June and September, with many venues booked up two years in advance for weekend weddings.
You want your wedding day to be the most amazing day of your life so you need to think about what works for you. Whatever your choice of wedding ceremony or venue, Spain will give you lots of different avenues to take and makes the whole event more of an adventure.
Louise Bradley is a wedding planner based on the Costa Blanca of Spain with over seven years experience in planning weddings.
We have lots of great weddings abroad advice on Confetti!