Getting married in Spain catholic church

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Spain is one of the few countries in the world where the Roman Catholic church has a unique position.

A Roman Catholic wedding is after the ceremony automatically registered as a civil wedding in Spain.
After the procedure, the wedding couple only needs to register the civil wedding in their home country.

Conditions for a Catholic wedding in Spain :

The catholic church is an international institute, and therefore the conditions are the same worldwide.

  • For the bride and groom, it must be their first Catholic wedding. Either one can have been married before, but not for the Roman Catholic church, and the spouse must be legally divorced.
  • Same-sex marriages are not allowed.
  • The local priest and Bishop in the country of residence of bride and groom must authorise the wedding.

Administrative procedures for a religious wedding in Spain ;

  • Birth certificate
  • baptismal certificate
  • authorisation from the local priest
  • other documents depending on the dioceses.

On the wedding day, these documents cannot be older than 3 ( in some dioceses still 6, but it's changing ) months.

Therefore, we recommend to request the documents 2 times ;

  • a first time when you start to plan your wedding in Spain
  • Once to ensure that at the day of the wedding, documents are not older than 3 months.

The procedure is initiated by contacting your priest in your home country. He will explain the procedure, give you the forms to complete, etc.

Once the application is complete, all the documents need to be submitted to the Spanish Bishop.

After the church wedding, the Catholic wedding certificate is sent to the civil courts. They register the civil wedding and deliver the certificate.

With this document, the wedding couple can then proceed to register their wedding in their country of residence.
According to EU regulations, each member state is free to determine the conditions for a civil wedding.
So, when the marriage is valid according to Spanish law, then any other member state is also required to register and acknowledge the destination wedding.

In some countries, weddings abroad must be registered in a national register instead of in local ones.

Obviously, a divorce must also be registered in the country where the civil wedding has taken place.

Where and when is the Catholic wedding ceremony to be held?

As a general rule, Catholic weddings can only be held in a church or chapel.
The date and time are set in agreement with the local Spanish priest.

The Catholic wedding in the country of residence

A Catholic wedding is internationally valid and registered. It's therefore not possible to do another religious ceremony in the country of residence.

Some priests are willing to do an additional blessing ceremony, a simple service without the sacrament.
As always, the final decision is only with the local priest and the Bishop.

Related pages on our site or useful links to other sites :

Types of weddings and ceremonies (page 15-01)
Can you get married in another country (page 38-01)
Getting married in Spain catholic church (page 33-03)
Getting married in Spain (page 32-01)
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Can I get married in Spain