Can I get legally married in Spain?

We are often contacted by confused brides wanting to know about whether they can marry legally in Spain. There is a lot of wrong information out there. Here is the low-down from the people who know!

Catholic ceremonies in Spain

Marbella church wedding


This is a legally-recognised ceremony with no need to have a civil ceremony beforehand. Couples initiate their paperwork with their local priest back home. Once completed, it is sent over to the Bishop of Malaga and then down to the church in Marbella.

Your wedding planner should check whether all paperwork has arrived safely one month before the wedding. Some churches in Marbella have English-speaking priests and most will allow you to bring your own priest from home if you prefer.

The church secretary will give the couple a religious marriage certificate after their wedding. Your wedding planner can take this to the Local Registry who will issue an internationally-recognised marriage certificate.


Civil Weddings in Spain

Civil weddings are only legal in Spain if the couple are residents. Even then, the paperwork is a long process and couples are only allowed to marry in spaces approved by the Town Hall.

This situation is currently being reviewed by the Spanish government and we hope that civil weddings for non-residents will become a reality in the near future. Watch this space!

wedding planners Malaga


Gibraltar wedding ceremonies

Many couples chose to hop over to nearby Gibraltar where they can arrange a legally-recognised civil ceremony. This requires minimal paperwork and is a great solution for those hoping for a legal, non-religious ceremony.

Some couples choose to make a day of it and have their ceremonies in one of the approved beautiful locations on the Rock.  Other just see it is a way to get the paperwork out of the way and chose to keep things as low-key as possible at the registry office with their witnesses.

See here for more info:

Wedding Blessings in Spain

wedding blessing Benahavis

Image courtesy

Once the legal part has been arranged (either in nearby Gibraltar or back home at a local registry office) the wedding blessing is a very popular choice.

We have an amazing selection of celebrants here on the Coast, offering different styles of ceremony.

A blessing is extremely similar to a full wedding service; with vows, exchange of rings and readings. Many couples even choose not to tell their guests that the ceremony is not legal.

This style of ceremony gives great flexibility, and a couple can hold their blessing anywhere they like! Many choose to hold it in the same Marbella wedding venue as their reception, but other options include the beach, a chapel, or a park.

For more information on Wedding Blessings and Ceremonies, head over to local Independent Wedding Celebrant and general wedding guru Natasha´s amazing blog:


Gay Weddings in Spain

Gay weddings follow the same rules as civil weddings in Spain. They are legally recognised but only for residents. A good option would be a wedding blessing, backed up with a legal ceremony in a registry office.


For more general info on getting legally married in Spain, have a look at this post from one of our favourite wedding blogs, One Fab Day.

For more details on Fiestasol´s Wedding Services – check out our page. Fiestasol are Marbella wedding planners and specialise in finding your ideal Marbella wedding venue.