An application to get married in Spain usually involves a lot of bureaucracy and can be time-consuming, so applicants should allow enough time before the intended date of the marriage for the paperwork to be completed. In the first instance both parties must first certify, in a file processed in accordance with the legislation for the Civil Register, that they meet the requirements established by law.
When neither of the parties is a Spanish citizen one of them must usually be legally resident in Spain for the previous two years. If one of the couple is a Spanish citizen no residence period requirement applies. There may be variations across Spanish regions and so it is advisable to check with the Civil Registry Office in the area where you wish to get married as to their specific requirements. The process for civil marriage begins with the application for a certificate of permission to marry Certificado de Capacidad Matrimonial.
Couples wishing to marry must apply for this certificate in advance of the wedding. It is issued on condition that the applicants fulfil the legal right to marry and affords proof of permission to marry.
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Applicants for civil ceremonies will be asked for a variety of documents. To obtain an official marriage certificate, the marriage must be registered with the local Civil Registry. Therefore, it is important to confirm that the officiator of the marriage is licensed to marry and to establish the arrangements for civil registration.
The officiator may obtain the marriage certificate on your behalf. Empadronamiento This is the process of registering yourself as a resident in your province. This is required in some provinces but may not be applicable everywhere.
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It is best to check beforehand. As you are registering yourself as a resident of your province you will need to have an address. This can be a rented address and you will need to show your rental contract. Check our guide to registering for El Padron for more information. Bring along a photocopy of your passport along with the necessary documents when you file for your marriage at the local registry office.
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The officials will then process your information and register you on their system. The intent to marry is then displayed on the public notice board in their office for 21 days. After 10 days, you can call the office to request an interview date — part of the marriage process. If you do not speak Spanish it is advisable to either hire a Spanish solicitor or to get someone who speaks Spanish to help you with all of the paperwork so that the process runs smoothly.
Also, registry offices can be quite busy and it is usually better to go earlier rather than later in the day. Once the 10 days are up, you can call to arrange an appointment for the interview process. Be advised that you may have to wait up to six weeks for the appointment date.
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At the interview you may be interviewed separately and asked to answer a number of questions to make sure that you are genuine applicants. A civil marriage can be held in the courts or the Town Hall of residence, performed by the Mayor or a designated councilor.
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The marriage is effective immediately following the ceremony. After the wedding, it will be registered in the Civil Registry and a certificate stating the date, time and place of the marriage will be issued. While saying their vows the couple exchanges coins, known as arras. Traditionally, these coins symbolized the groom's promise to support the bride for the rest of their lives together, but now the bride and groom give coins to one another to symbolize mutual support.
Spanish wedding ceremonies generally do not start until 7 p. As a result, wedding receptions go until the wee hours of the morning. The bride and groom make their way from one table to another, handing out small wedding favors called detalles to each guest. The guests, in turn, give money to the new couple. As a common practical joke, the groom's friends cut his tie into pieces and auction the pieces off for good luck.
Alexander Knoll has been a freelance writer since In , he received the Freeman-Asia Fellowship to study in Japan. Traditional Chilean Wedding Attire. Traditional Korean Wedding Gifts. Dating in Spain Notes from Spain: About the Author Alexander Knoll has been a freelance writer since Does the Wedding or Engagement Ring go on first?
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