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  • Marie Fagan

Legal wedding vs symbolic wedding in Spain

Many couples ask me if they can get legally married in Spain so I decided to publish this post with a help of one of mine wedding celebrants Nikki Kulin


  • If you are catholic and you were baptised in a Church anywhere in the world you can get legally married in a Spanish church. Also if one of you is catholic and the other one is protestant its still possible. If you would like to know more about this procedure please contact me directly.

  • In case you dont want to get married in the church then the other option is to get married in the spanish register office or in the townhall but for that according to the Spanish law you have to be living in Spain for at least 1 year and you have to have what they call a residency. Or you have to be a Spanish citizen at least one of you.

  • If non of the above apply to you then the option is to get officially married in your register office and have a symbolic wedding in Spain which is very commun.



wedding in Spain, marbella wedding

Nikki Kulin will tell us more about the symbolic ceremony.


  • Is the Symbolic (celebrant) wedding a real wedding? This is something she gets asked frequently. If by this, you mean the legal signing, then the answer is no. Not yet anyway-this is currently under the government review

  • So what constitutes a "real wedding"? The signing of the piece of paper in the Register office can take place - as one of my couples did just las week- over lunchtime with just two witnesses present

  • This leaves you free to have the ceremony you want, in the location of your choosing. Whether that be on a beach, in a private villa, in the chapel of a palace, by the swimming pool or a hotel.

  • So Nikki is asked. Can you do a real wedding? Yes, I can - as what makes a wedding real is not the presence of a registrar, a vicar, priest or rabbi, nor the certificate given at the end. What makes a wedding real is simply this: two people who love each other, standing in front of people who love them, declaring their love for one another and making promises to live as a couple for the rest of their lives. That's it. That's all you need

  • It was only in 1753 that a law was introduced, stating that, in order to be valid and registered, all marriages were to be performed in an official ceremony in a religious setting. Registry office later - 1836 when the authorities realised that not everyone was happy being married in a religious ceremony thei didnt believe in.

  • Before the church and the state claimed the exlusive authority to perform legal marriages, centuries had passed where couples would simply stand in the presence of their witnesses and pledge their love and intention to live as a married couple.

  • Of course, I understand the need to register marriages so that the state can keep track of its population in terms of who is who and how families are formed. That's why Registry offices are called that. The clue is in the name.

  • I am not suggesting that you shouldn't pop along to the local registry office and register the fact that you are or will be married to one another, but the idea that the only place you can BE married is in a setting authorised by the church or the state lacks a good understanding of history and logic. You can be married wherever and however suits you.

  • And if your preference is for a unique, joyous, creative day of celebrating your love away from the authorities, then this perspective is liberating.

  • And if your particular kind of love isn't welcomed in the religious place you would like to be married, the it's time to be liberated and find or create our own space. The spirituality you believe in will be there - and multiplied by your authenticity and truth.

  • So when the question is raid. Can Celebrants do a real wedding? I say, Yes, we can because a wedding is something that you create by your love

  • We are simply helping you claim marriage back where it belongs - in the hands of lovers who intend life to be lived as one. Of course, for tax and legal reasons, you will need to go through the formality with a registrar - but your wedding belongs to you and no one else.

Thank you to Nikki Kulin, wedding celebrant for her inputs.


wedding decoration in Spain, Marbella


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