An all-age, living-faith Christian community - English speaking - between Marbella and Gibraltar
Christ's love underpins this church and we guarantee to welcome you wherever you are on your journeyThe Church of England's Diocese in Europe WORKING with the UK Methodist church
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Getting married in Spain
If you are not a Spanish national, unless you are a Roman Catholic, it is difficult to have the legal (civil) part of your marriage done in Spain. If you are British it is very much easier (and, I understand, cheaper) to get married legally at a registry office either in the UK or Gibraltar and then come to Spain for the full wedding blessing (which can then happen in most churches in Spain). If you marry in the UK or Gibraltar then you will have a marriage certificate in English, which might be more useful than one in Spanish, if you are not intending to stay in Spain. The UK government will recognise a Gibraltar (or Spanish) marriage see here.
A marriage blessing is, essentially, a full marriage service but without the legal bits. It can be a small or large event
So we would welcome you to have a marriage blessing, with or without all the trimmings, in one of our churches at San Pedro or Sotogrande. Equally if you would like the blessing to be on the beach, in a hotel or in some other building of choice, we are happy to oblige. The Chaplain is a Church of England priest and has conducted many marriages in the UK and wedding blessings in Spain, so will be able to help you with all the planning and organisation.
Incorporating a marriage blessing into your holiday, and that of your family's holiday may be just the occasion to seek God's love and blessing for something you are truly committed to - till death us do part!
We use the order of service authorised by the Church of England, of which we are a part, within the Diocese in Europe. This is a Christian ceremony which seeks God's blessing on the newly married couple.
The service is in English (but can be translated simultaneously into Spanish) and is basically the same as a service in any Church of England in the UK - hymns (if required) music, bridesmaids, vows, blessing of rings, etc.
I need to spend time with you planning this, and organise a practice so that it fits with your needs.
The two churches, at Sotogrande and at San Pedro, both provide a beautiful venue for weddings. With gardens, mature trees and interesting stonework they provides a truly photogenic location for a Christian marriage blessing. There is ample parking, toilets and baby-changing facilities and, if required, a separate room with some kitchen facilities. Other church venues are available, for example a small wedding blessing at La Virginia chapel in Marbella.
Can we do it all in one go in Spain?
Most Anglican Chaplaincies in Spain do not conduct full weddings with the legal marriage element, for non-residents.
If you wish to undertake the legal (civil) part of your marriage in Spain normally one of you has to be a resident of Spain for a minimum period, usually at least two years. According to most sources you need a volante de empadronamiento (registration certificate) issued by the Town Hall, to demonstrate you are a resident. However, two other websites also state that the two year rule may be relaxed depending on the local Spanish community interpretation of the law. See here (church weddings only) and section 5 here and here (both for US citizens). Locally we have one Town Hall willing to relax the residency to 6 months.
If neither of you is resident, with an address, that is problematic.
You will need to work with the local Town Hall, in Spanish, to arrange the paperwork, or work with a wedding organiser to do the paperwork for you. These web pages are particularly helpful here, here and here (all in English). Also Spanish lawyers perspectives are given here and here (both in Spanish but can be translated by Google to English). For many town halls (ayuntameinto) the process of doing a non-Catholic marriage by an Anglican priest will be new.
The Chaplain is a clergyperson recognised by the Spanish government FEREDE for the conducting of marriages (civil plus wedding).
Paperwork for this whole process can take 6 months or more to sort, and you will have to be present in person for some of it to be accepted.
Amongst the paperwork will be the requirement to prove you are eligible to be married. That requires the a UK registrar to provide a Certificate of No Impediment for each of you. That will take at least a month because the registry office have to wait 29 days to see if there is an objection. You will send that certificate to the Spanish consulate for formal translation and then they will send it to the relevant Town Hall, see here.
What if I am divorced?
The Chaplaincy is willing to bless the marriage of divorced persons subject to discussion with the Chaplain. If the marriage were originally in a Roman Catholic Church it would not be possible to bless the marriage in a Roman Catholic Church in Spain, however there are other churches and other venues when such a marriage could be blessed.
What if we are a same sex couple?
The Chaplain operates as part of the Church of England's Diocese in Europe. English canon law disallows the Chaplain from conducting weddings, and therefore wedding blessings for same-sex couples.