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More and more wedding couples prefer to do the civil wedding in their home country, and the ceremonial wedding abroad. This option is a lot easier and cheaper then doing your civil wedding abroad.
Read more about this on the civil weddings abroad page
Still there are couples that do prefer to do also the civil wedding in Spain, and ask us if that is possible.
In the EU each member state is allowed to determine the conditions for a civil ceremony, and these conditions apply to all, citizens, residents and non residents..
As a result of this EU guideline, the conditions for a civil wedding are different in each country.
Conditions for a civil ceremony in Spain
There are 3 options to organise a civil wedding in Spain ;
1 ) At least one of both partners has Spanish citizenship
2 ) at least one of both partners has been resident in Spain for 2 years or more. The town hall will require for you to bring a copy of your 'padron' ( proof that you have your primary residence in the town )
3 ) Bride or groom ( or both ) are catholic, and the wedding ceremony is performed by a catholic priest. Conditions for catholic church wedding apply.
This option is very specific for Spain as one of the few countries in the world where the catholic wedding ceremony is afterwards registred as a civil wedding. This is only paperwork, no additional ceremony or procedures are required.
Read more about this option on the catholic weddings in Spain page.
What are the procedures for a civil wedding ceremony in Spain
The procedures for a civil wedding in Spain are ( they're similar in most other countries ) ;
1 ) All documents must be translated into the language of the destination wedding.
2 ) All document must be stamped ( apostilles )
3 ) Taxes and costs apply
4 ) After the wedding, all documents must be translated into the language of the country of residence of the couple
5 ) These documents again must be stamped ( apostilles )
6 ) Again, taxes and costs apply
7 ) Upon return to the country of residence, the destination wedding must be registered.
In some countries, weddings abroad are to be registered in a national register, instead of at the local authorities.
All these steps and procedures are time consuming, and all translations must be done by a certified legal translator.
Hence the procedure is costly and taxes etc apply.
Where is the civil wedding ceremony held ?
Usually in the town hall, or at the civil courts, but often officiants are also willing to come to a wedding venue.
Since 2016 it's also possible to have the civil wedding in Spain officiated by a local notary.