Everything you need to know about getting married in Spain

wedding on beach with white chairs and palm trees by the ocean

Getting married in Spain combines the Mediterranean charm and historic beauty. 

This blog covers everything from the legal intricacies, costs, choosing the perfect venue, and Spain’s romantic traditions - offering a tapestry of options for your dream wedding.

Table of contents:

What are the legal requirements for getting married in Spain? 

As romantic as it is…it’s crucial that you familiarise yourself with the legalities of getting married in Spain before you start making any wedding plans. Spain is an infamously Catholic country, which means there are strict laws surrounding who can get legally married in Spain, and who can’t.  

To summarise the legal side of things, you will need to make sure you have considered the following: 
  • Residency: many regions in Spain will require at least one member of your couple to have been a resident for at least two years before the wedding.

  • Documentation: you will need to have the correct legal documentation, including passports and birth certificates. Non-Spanish documents may need to be translated and legalised.

Legal requirements for non-residents

If you are a non-resident, don’t worry! There are still ways you and your significant other can have your fairytale wedding in Spain. 

Unfortunately, the legal requirements for non-residents to marry in Spain can be complicated. 

As a result, many couples choose to have a civil ceremony in the UK first, and then hold a wedding party, or symbolic ceremony, in Spain.

Getting married in Gibraltar

As a non-resident, you may want to consider having your legal wedding ceremony in Gibraltar.

Gibraltar is located across the border from Spain but is only an hour's drive from the Spanish city of Marbella.

As part of the UK, Gibraltar offers a straightforward option for non-residents who want the complete legal, and symbolic, experience of their marriage to be abroad. 

How to legally marry in Spain as a Non-national

As a non-national, there are only two options for marrying in Spain legally:
  • The Catholic Church (at least one partner in the couple must be catholic & neither party can be divorced or previously married in a Catholic church.)

  • A Civil Ceremony (which can only take place if you or your partner have been a Spanish resident for at least 2 years.)

It should be noted that:
  • Both civil and Catholic ceremonies must be carried out in legally approved locations/churches.

  • You can have a blessing (non-legal ceremony) in your chosen place of worship (or any other location).

  • Same-sex marriages are legal in Spain.

  • To secure a church booking, you may be required to visit the organisers in person several times (either by you and your partner or a wedding planner).

  • Some churches require that they meet the couple in person at least a week before the wedding takes place.

  • Some documents will be invalid if they are more than 6 months old.

Best places and venues to get married in Spain

Spain offers a whole host of stunning potential settings for your future wedding. From the historic aura of Seville to the coastal landscapes of the Costa del Sol, you may struggle to make a decision. 

To help you come to the right one, make sure to consider factors such as; the climate, accessibility to the venue, cuisine, and local attractions. 

For example, Barcelona, Granada, and Madrid are popular choices for wedding parties, as each location offers a unique blend of history, culture, and modern amenities.  
Whether you’re looking for Gothic cathedrals, a beach, or a traditional setting, Spain has a wonderland of magical locations to choose from. We know that location is one of the most important aspects of a wedding, so we advise you to choose where to get married well in advance. 

You may choose to involve a wedding planner, as they will know the best venues and Spanish wedding planners are more likely to have an existing relationship with those who own the venues. 

To help you narrow your search, here are some of the most popular places to get married in Spain: 
  • Church weddings: 
The most traditional setting for a Spanish wedding is in a traditional church. If you’d like to add a historical element to your special day, then getting married in a church or monastery might be the perfect option for you. To give you a sneak peek of what Spain has to offer, below is one of the most infamous historical wedding locations in Spain:
This breathtaking abbey can be found in the heart of Navalus in Aragón. The abbey is located in the Monasterio de Piedra Park (Monastery of Piedra), so is surrounded by waterfalls, caves, and all manner of flowers and trees.

Weddings here can be held both inside, and outside, the Abbey. With architecture dating back 800 years this beautiful location encompasses the historical charm of Spain.
Of course, Spain has many more churches and monasteries to choose from, if you’d prefer an inner-city location don’t worry, not all of Spain’s churches are in such ‘natural’ locations.
  • Beach weddings: 
Most people are likely to picture a beach wedding when speaking about a Spanish wedding. This is unsurprising given Spain has almost 5,000km of coastline, complete with breathtaking beaches. 

Despite its European setting, many beaches in Spain appear more tropical, making Spanish beaches extremely popular for destination weddings.

  • Forest weddings: 
If you’ve always dreamed of having a forest wedding, then Spain may be the ideal location for you. These weddings encompass a fairytale atmosphere and don’t require much additional decoration. The enchanting vegetation and sunlight will already add beautiful elements to the setting.  

married couple holding hands walking along beach next to ocean

Is it cheap to get married in Spain? What are the costs…

You may be set on having your dream wedding in Spain, but have you considered the cost?

Due to the high demand of people heading to Spain to get married, the rates of various Spanish wedding suppliers have been driven down, this means that getting married in Spain is cheaper than in other European destinations such as the UK, France, Italy, and Greece. 

Here at EasyFX, we’ve included some details surrounding the cost of a wedding in Spain, so that your planning journey is an enjoyable one, without any surprise fees!  
There is no ‘set price’ when it comes to wedding costs.

Every couple is different, and therefore the cost of each wedding will be different, so we have put together a list of the average cost for each key element of your potential wedding in Spain. 

Paperwork and other administrative costs

Administrative costs will vary depending on the Church, but they will usually cost between €200 and €300 (£171 - £275).  
Similarly, the cost of the associated paperwork will vary. However, it is likely to cost between €100 and €300 (£85 - £275). 

Venue costs

The venue you choose for your wedding will have a significant impact on the cost of your wedding. If you choose to have your wedding in a Church then you will be expected to donate anywhere between €300 and €700 (£257 - £600) to the Church.
If you choose to have a non-catholic wedding, the venue options have a wider variety of cost options to suit your budget. As of September 2023, the average cost of a venue  (for 130 guests) was €20,000 (which is approximately £17,140). 

Reception space/marquee costs

If you want to host a separate reception ceremony or dream of an outdoor marquee, you will need to spend around €1,950 (£1,670). 
Some venues offer couples a ‘package’ which includes reception space and traditional banquet-style and open bar catering for €14,000 (£11,996), however, this may limit your creative freedom when it comes to menu and decorations.  

Accommodation costs

Small Wedding Party: €5,000  (£4,284) 
Large Wedding Party: €15,000 (£12,852) 

Catering costs

All of these prices are starting costs, prices will differ depending on your criteria. 
Traditional Catering (3-course meal, or 2-course meal and canapés) = €6,000 - €10,000 (£5,140 - £8,570). 
Food/Sweet Trucks = €550 (£470) 

Wedding cake costs

Wedding cakes in Spain tend to be cheaper than in the UK. 
Of course, a fondant-covered cake will be more expensive than a ‘naked’ cake, but you will be looking at spending anywhere between €200 (£171) and €900 (£771). 

Flower decoration costs

All of these prices are starting costs, prices will differ depending on your criteria.
Basic Floral Decorations = €600 (£514) 
Quality Floral Decorations = €800 (£686)  
Luxury Floral Decorations = €2,500 (£2,142)

Music costs

All of these prices are starting costs, prices will differ depending on your criteria. 
The average cost of live music for Spanish weddings is €750 (£643).  
If you want a live band to perform at your wedding, you will be looking to spend anywhere between €3,000 and €6,000 (£2,570 - £5,140).

Attire costs

All of these prices are starting costs, prices will differ depending on your criteria. 
Dress and Accessories = €1,500 (£1,285) 
Suits = €1,000 (£857)  
Bridesmaid Dresses = €1,750 (£1,499) 
married couple holding hands on swing on the beach looking out into the ocean

Are there any traditions when getting married in Spain?

Many Spanish traditions will make your wedding an unforgettable one. 

In Spain, weddings are not just a mere ceremony to mark an occasion. Instead, each wedding is a celebration, rich in deeply rooted cultural traditions. 

You may not want to include any Spanish elements in your wedding, but if you wish to highlight the location you are in, several traditions could be incorporated into your wedding day. 
One of these traditions is known as “arras”, which is a traditional exchange of coins, which symbolises the couple’s commitment to sharing both their wealth and responsibilities. Flamenco music often accompanies a Spanish wedding, complete with traditional dancing and a festive atmosphere. 

You may choose to wear a “mantilla”, which is an elegant lace veil, worn by the bride, or even a guayabera shirt - as a nod to local tradition. 
Our favourite Spanish wedding tradition comes at the end of the ceremony. Traditionally, newlyweds are showered with rice or flower petals, whilst guests speak their wishes of prosperity for the couple. 

From the spirited sevillanas dance to the joyous clinking of glasses, Spanish wedding traditions will be sure to create a unique and unforgettable day for you and your guests.

When is the best time for a Spanish wedding?

The Spanish wedding season typically starts in late Spring and ends in early Autumn, as this is when the weather is most favourable. When planning your destination wedding, make sure to keep Spanish local holidays and festivals in mind when choosing a date. 

Spaniards love to celebrate, and local events could impact your ability to secure your dream venue or accommodation. We advise you to start looking at venues at least six months in advance, to give yourself enough time to secure your wedding location, before trying to organise any details.

Planning your Spanish honeymoon

One positive outcome of having your wedding in Spain will mean you are already in the perfect location for your honeymoon.

Embarking on a honeymoon in Spain will see you on a journey through diverse landscapes, and offer new experiences at every corner. 

Whether you wish to spend your time strolling hand in hand through streets rich with history and art, lying on sun-drenched beaches in the Costa del Sol, or savouring tapas in hidden alleyways, Spain provides a romantic escape for every couple.

Buying a property in Spain after marriage

When you’re buying a property in Spain as a newly married couple, the people helping you might ask for your husband or wife’s name. 

If you and your partner are from different countries, they’ll check which country’s governing law you follow for your matrimonial property arrangement. But if you’re both from the same country, telling them how you plan to share things is enough.

Let’s say you both decide that even after getting married, you each own your investments. If you’re buying a house together, they’ll ask how much each of you owns. For example, is it 50-50?

You don’t need to give lots of details about how you and your partner decide to share your investments or the property in this case. 

The house will be officially listed in the Land Registry under the buyer’s name (either yours or your partner’s or both) “following the rules you and your partner decided on when you got married”. This means when you want to sell the property you bought together, you won’t have to explain everything again. It’s all written down from when you first bought the house. 

If you’re thinking about buying a new home in Spain or just want a change, our experts are ready to help. 

They can give you all the information you need and make sure everything goes well when you’re buying a house in Spain. Talk to one of our friendly experts today!

Here’s how EasyFX can help support you and your wedding in Spain

Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life. So you won’t want to spend time worrying about your international payments for your wedding abroad. 

Our EasyFX team of experts in foreign exchange and payments are here to help you with any questions you might have about spending money abroad.

So, if you’re planning to make regular payments for your venue, catering, and accommodation, we have you covered. Your dedicated account manager can guide you through several useful tools, including how to lock in a particular rate to avoid being impacted by market volatility.

This means that you’ll receive the same exchange rate until you’ve paid off all your payments, whether the rate moves up or down. This will give you peace of mind so you can focus on your wedding instead of worrying about your money.

Whether you’re dreaming of a beach wedding or something more classic, EasyFX is here to help and ensure that your financial needs are taken care of.
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Ready to buy a property in Spain?

Buying a house in Spain can be an exciting and rewarding experience with careful planning and professional assistance. Embrace the unique charm and lifestyle Spain offers, and with the right guidance, you can turn your dream of owning a property in this beautiful country into a reality.

Remember to stay informed, seek expert advice, and immerse yourself in the local culture to make the most of your Spanish property ownership. Happy house hunting.

Speak to an expert
How to Get Married in Spain (clearly explained!)
Thinking about getting married in Spain? Our guide provides all of the important information from the best places, average costs, and the legalities!
8 minute read

Ready to buy a property in Spain?

Buying a house in Spain can be an exciting and rewarding experience with careful planning and professional assistance. Embrace the unique charm and lifestyle Spain offers, and with the right guidance, you can turn your dream of owning a property in this beautiful country into a reality.

Remember to stay informed, seek expert advice, and immerse yourself in the local culture to make the most of your Spanish property ownership. Happy house hunting.

Speak to an expert
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