Church or Religious Marriages

Find out about the religious options for your wedding when getting married in Spain...

Spanish law recognises Catholic, Protestant, Islamic and Jewish marriages as legal and valid in Spain without the need of a civil marriage taking place prior to the religious marriage. However, the couple must obtain a certificate to marry before the service can take place, and to be legally recognised the marriage must be registered with the authorities.

In the case of Protestant, Islamic or Jewish unions, in order to be legally recognised, the marriage must be performed by a legally licensed marriage officer and it must still be applied for and registered with the civil authorities as with a civil marriage. The marriage official will be able to advise on this.

The regulations for a religious wedding may vary depending on the religious denomination and the area in which the marriage is to take place.

Foreign Roman Catholics may marry in a Spanish Church provided they have proof of their religious background in the form of certificates of baptism and a letter from the parish priest. The couple should contact their local diocese and the Roman Catholic Church to make the arrangements. This may not be available in all provinces.

Documentation required includes:

  • Birth certificate (with Spanish translation if foreign)
  • Baptismal certificate issued at most six months prior to the wedding, authenticated by the issuing Bishopric (and translated into Spanish)
  • Proof of permission to marry (Certificado de Capacidad Matrimonial)
  • A Roman Catholic wedding is seen as a legally binding contract

Some priests require the couple to complete a pre-matrimonial course. Although the marriage ceremony is free, a donation to the church is usually expected.