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A feeling as universal as love often ends up culminating in a wedding and becoming one of the moments that the spouses will undoubtedly remember for a lifetime. But the need for everything to be perfect can make this ceremony very stressful.

For this reason it is important to know the requirements to get married in Spain, how much a wedding can cost and in general everything necessary so that your plans do not fail or end up over budget.


Requirements for civil marriage in Spain

Documents needed for your wedding in Spain

We are going to talk about the documents necessary to get married in Spain for the civil purposes, which is currently the majority way to get married in the country. You will have to start the procedure at the Civil Registry where one of the two spouses is registered and bring 2 witnesses.


These are the requirements to marry civilly in Spain:

Complete a form

ID, passport or NIE (original and photocopy)

Birth certificate less than one year old

Certificate of residence

Divorced or annulled marriage: certificate of previous marriage with the entry of divorce or nullity (applicable in the Civil Registry)

Widowed persons: certificate of the previous marriage and death of the spouse (applicable at the Civil Registry)


How long does it take to get married in Spain? Process and times

The first step to start the marriage is to request an appointment with the Civil Registry (in what is known as the opening of the marriage file) to present the documentation and conduct an interview. In this interview, it will be evaluated if there is any legal impediment to the marriage.


The first appointment usually takes several weeks or even months, especially in the case of larger cities. In populations with less than 25,000 inhabitants (or consulates with less than 25,000 registered) it will also be necessary to publish an edict for 15 days so that if there are third parties who know of any impediment to marriage, they can express it.


Once you have gone to the Civil Registry for the first time, the judge will authorise the marriage within a period of, normally, between 1 and 3 months. If you are looking for a quick procedure, you can go to a notary, since, although the procedures will have a cost, the process is usually much faster.


When you have managed to process the file, you can choose whether to marry by the court, before a notary, in the Civil Registry or by the city council.


How much does a wedding cost in Spain?

The average cost of a wedding in Spain is €20,500, ranging from €14,907 for the most modest weddings to €23,369 for the links located in the middle-high part of the budget spectrum.


Obviously, in addition to the number of guests, the added services and the cost of the menu, the price of a wedding in Spain will also vary greatly depending on the city in which the event is held. For example, in Madrid and Catalonia the budget will be around or even exceed that €20,500 of average cost, but in other communities such as Asturias, Extremadura or the Canary Islands the cost can be halved.


Requirements for civil marriage in Spain between Spanish and foreign

On the other hand, the requirements for a civil marriage in Spain between a Spaniard and a foreigner include the obligation to translate all documentation into Spanish by a certified translator trained to do the so-called sworn translations.

If the foreigner is not a resident of Spain, it will also be necessary:

  • Certificate of residence for the last two years
  • Certificate from the Consulate of the country of origin where it is proven that you can get married
  • Certificate from the Consulate of the country of origin specifying the need or not to issue a marriage edict.
  • Certificate of registration at the consulate in Spain of the foreigner's country of origin


Requirements to marry two foreigners in Spain

In order for two foreigners to marry each other in Spain, it is necessary that at least one of them is registered in Spanish territory. Otherwise, the requirements to marry two foreigners in Spain are the same as for two Spaniards or for a Spaniard and a foreigner, depending on whether only one of the two resides in Spain or both are residents in the country.


If the two people are of foreign origin, it is very normal that the disbursement at the wedding both for the organisation and for paperwork, procedures with embassies and translations can be much higher than in other cases. Not to mention the expenses incurred if they bring guests from other countries.

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Spain can be the perfect destination for your wedding, with its impressive history, its beautiful views, its warm inhabitants and its distinctive culinary tradition. In this article you can find everything you need to make your wedding a reality in Spain, from legal requirements and documentation, to approximate prices and recommendations to the most popular places.


Weddings in Spain: what are the types of weddings available?

Both civil and religious ceremonies are legal in the country. Homosexual marriage has been legal in Spain since 2005.

Requests for civil ceremonies needs to be made directly at the Civil Registry or at the court of the locality where the wedding is to be held. A civil wedding can be held at the Civil Registry office or at the town hall. Civil ceremonies are only held if one of the members of the couple is a Spanish citizen, or at least one of them meets the residence requirements of at least 2 years.


Catholic, Jewish, Islamic and Protestant weddings are legally recognised in Spain. It is not necessary to hold a civil ceremony before for the religious marriage to be legal. However, the couple must obtain the marriage certificate before the event, and it must be registered with the corresponding authorities so that it can be considered legal. The application process for Protestant, Islamic and Jewish weddings is the same as for civilians. These marriages must be registered with the civil authorities and must be officiated by a justice of the peace.


What are the legal requirements to be able to get married in Spain?

Under the principles of the Spanish Civil Code, both parties must be over 18 years of age and be in full judgment of their abilities. Both civil and religious marriages are considered legal, but in order to hold the civil ceremony, the requirement of 2 years of residence in the country must be met. This means that at least one of the members of the couple must have been a legal resident in Spain for at least 2 years before the day of the ceremony.


What do you need to get married in Spain?

Necessary documents and paperwork

For a civil ceremony you will need to contact the Civil Registry in advance and request the documents there directly. You will probably have to present the following:

  • Valid passports of both members of the couple
  • Original birth certificates
  • Proof that both members of the couple can get married. You can obtain this document from the Embassy or Consulate of your country.
  • Divorce decree/certificate of death, if applicable
  • Certificate of residence (at least one of the couple must have resided in Spain for at least 2 years, or must be a Spanish citizen, in order to be civilly married in the country)

For a Catholic ceremony, you will most likely have to present the following:

Premarital capitulations

Baptism, communion and confirmation certificates issued by your parish no more than 6 months old

  • Certificate of Freedom to Marry by the parish priest, confirming that you have attended the premarital courses
  • Special permission of the bishop who is sent to the local priest or the archbishop
  • Any other applicable document, such as a death certificate, nullity decree, exemption letter (it is recommended to talk to the priest or archbishop of the community to obtain all the details)

The process

For both civil and religious ceremonies, all documents must include the apostille if they come from abroad. Once you have made the request, a public announcement of your intention to marry, also called a marriage proclamation, is made in the Consular offices for a period of 15 to 21 days. Once this is done, the Registry Office will issue a marriage license. The entire process of the civil ceremony takes 30 to 50 days, so you will surely have to be in Spain a month before the wedding to be able to do all the paperwork.


For a religious ceremony, the time that the process lasts is equally important and must be taken into account. You will have to agree with the parish of the town where you are going to get married in advance. Those who are foreigners must send their documents to the bishop of the diocese where the wedding will be held to receive a special permit. This can take up to 4 weeks and must be sent by your parish priest or the local archbishop. In addition to any other documents you have to prepare, you must contact the church at least 2 months before the ceremony. After the wedding, you must deliver the marriage papals to the Spanish Civil Registry in a period of one week to legalise them.


What are the fees to be paid?

For the civil ceremony you will have to pay fees to obtain some of the papers. For example, the consular document that confirms the ability to marry costs €148, and the apostille is around €15 per document.


With regard to the Catholic ceremony, surely the same fees apply when obtaining some of the papals, and you may even have to pay some additional ones such as church administration fees, which are around €250.


What should I know about wedding celebrations in Spain?

The restrictions on residence and administrative formalities involved in the process of civil ceremonies in Spain can push back many foreigners and make them opt for the religious ceremony. But Catholic ceremonies, which are the only legal ones within religious ceremonies, require a long period of planning. Agencies and wedding planners can help you with the necessary paperwork and other planning matters, but here are some links that can also be useful to you:

Spanish Ministry of Justice - Civil Registry Office

Spanish Civil Code

List of Catholic Dioceses in Spain


The price of a wedding in Spain

For a wedding with 50 guests, depending on the location and formality, marriage packages are usually around €5,500. But in order to get the perfect place and the church you want, you will have to plan your wedding à la carte. To give you an idea, we have broken down some of the approximate prices for a wedding of 50 guests:

Approximate price

3 nights of accommodation for 50 guests - 3.500€

Procedures, administrative costs - 500€

Welcome room - €1,500

Flowers - 500€

Decoration - 300€

Dress, Accessories - €1,500

Wedding Planner - 700€

Photographer - €1,500

Cake - 250€

Food, Drinks - 3.500€

Celebrant - 450€

Music - 250€


Best wedding locations in Spain

Spain is a country with a wide variety of climates and cultures. Whether you prefer to get married in a castle, on the beach or in a small town, you will have many options.


Marriage traditions in Spain

To show some of the local radiance, you may want to include some of the Spanish traditions in your ceremony. Some of the most common that you can find at a traditional Spanish wedding are:

Flower of orange: traditional flower used by many brides in Spain since it symbolises happiness and fulfillment.

Mantilla: formal headdress worn by the bride.

Coins: on the wedding day, the groom gives the bride 13 gold coins that represent Jesus and the 12 apostles and symbolize their promise to provide for the family.

Wedding memory: it is customary for the couple to walk around the guests' tables giving away small gifts.

The groom's tie: as a symbol of good luck, the groom's close friends cut his tie into pieces and auction it among the guests.


A wedding in Spain will be exotic, romantic and full of culture. With its delicious gastronomy and charming traditions, your wedding in Spain will be a time to remember for a lifetime.

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