Getting Married In Spain
As part of our ‘getting married abroad’ series we’ve got yet another destination wedding location to consider when looking for your dream wedding abroad. Spain is a beautiful country and famous amongst Brits for relatively cheap prices and amazing weather – but is it the dream wedding destination you’re thinking?
If you’re getting married in Spain, is it recognised in the UK?
As a general rule of thumb any international marriage is easily recognised in the UK as long as when you get married in another country you comply with all of that country’s law and requirements.
In Italy, for example, all civil weddings must take place in official town halls, with further limitations and restrictions placed on the recently divorced. Whereas in France all weddings in churches must be preceded by official civil marriages in order to be properly recognised. Las Vegas family has extremely simple requirements, with your only restrictions being that you are of age and have the 50 bucks for the paperwork!
The legalities of a Spanish wedding
Spain has two routes for getting married as a destination wedding, either as a religious ceremony through the Catholic church, or as a civil ceremony. However both of these routes have unique problems that can make your dream Spanish wedding out of reach…
Firstly, whilst same-sex marriages are legal in Spain you will encounter a closed door if you take the Catholic ceremony route. Even mixed-sex weddings will have pretty high barriers to overcome whereby most churches will insist that you are resident in their parish and actively worshipping before you would be considered allowed to marry there. Even if you find a catholic church or cathedral in Spain that does not require you to be resident, many Catholic Churches will still expect you to make many visits prior to your wedding – at a frequency that you may as well be resident! Even if only requiring a blessing (see below) most churches have similar restrictions in place despite not being an official wedding.
So then this leaves the civil ceremony route, which one might assume to be easier – but in many ways is far more difficult. The main stumbling block is that legally one of those being married must have been a Spanish resident (legally) for at least two years. Essentially requiring you to live in Spain for 24 months before your wedding, making much less of a ‘destination wedding’ and more of a ‘live-in wedding’!
Whilst there may be some ways to circumvent this (some have tried to use owning property and similar methods) you may still struggle with some further issues – such as that the requirement for documentation is difficult in expensive. Important documents needed to register the wedding may need to be officially translated into Spanish by a notary, and the requirement for documents outstrips the UK typical requirements. Many documents used in the UK may be deemed invalid if they are over 6 months, requiring you to purchase recent copies.
That’s a lot of hurdles – is there a solution?
Unfortunately each situation is unique and will entail its own form of Spanish bureaucracy that may scupper your well made plans. There are two solutions possible, however. Firstly, you may consider going the ‘blessing’ route. Essentially, the same as many weddings in France, you have an official wedding licence issued in the UK (a registry office type affair) and then have the main part of your wedding abroad. Secondly, consider getting married in Girbraltar – where most UK laws still apply.
Getting Married in Gibraltar
Why not follow in the footsteps of John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and Sir Sean Connery and get married on the Rock? There are no residential requirements as in the rest of Spain, only the commitment to one night’s stay (like you were going to fly home after the ceremony anyway?!) and there are hundreds of licensed wedding venues for you to choose your ideal dream destination wedding venue from.
Destination Wedding Photographer Who Speaks Spanish Mykey Day
Your Wedding Day will never be as important to anyone else as it is to you, but trust us when we say – your wedding will be crucially important to us as well! Please browse our website for examples of our work, and we look forward to making your wedding photographs special too.