Getting married in Barcelona
Both civil and religious marriages are legally recognised in Spain, and a Spanish marriage is legally recognised in most other countries.
Any citizen has the right to get married, as long as they are over 18 years old, not already legally married and are not marrying a close family relative. Ceremonies can be performed by a justice of the peace, a mayor, a representative designated by the mayor, or a priest. They can be held either at the Ajuntament (Town Hall) or at the Registre Civil (Civil Registry)—unlike some other countries, it isn't possible to hold the official ceremony at private venues such as a restaurant or country house, although some couples decide to hold a 'faux' ceremony at the place that they have organised the reception.
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.
Application for this certificate can be made at the Civil Registry (see below for details of the Civil Registry in Barcelona); if you or your partner live outside Barcelona, you can choose to apply for the certificate at the Civil Registry of that other town, which will likely be located at the local Town Hall; note that you must apply in the town where the ceremony is to take place. You’ll have to fill out the official application form, available from the Civil Registry, in advance, then take the completed form back to the Registry along with:
• Your passport, NIE (Foreign Identity Number), Foreign Residence Card (Tarjeta de Residencia) or DNI (Spanish National ID card) + photocopy
• Your original birth certificate stamped with a Hague Apostille from the relevant issuing office in your home country (eg in the UK, it's the Foreign Office) and legally translated into Spanish.
• Foreigners also need to present a declaration from their Consulate which confirms that they are not married in their home country and that there is no other impediment to the marriage. When you apply for this declaration, it usually takes 21 (working) days to come through
• Padró Municipal d’Habitants (Certificate of Residence) to prove you have been a resident in the relevant town for two years or more.
• If you are a widow or widower, your previous marriage certificate and your spouse’s death certificate are required; if you’re divorced or your marriage was annulled, relevant certificates must be presented. Again, if these were issued abroad, they must be stamped with a Hague Apostille and legally translated into Spanish
Depending on your nationality, there may be other paperwork required for the Certificado de Capacidad Matrimonial—you should check this with the nearest Embassy or Consulate.
Once you deliver the papers to the Civil Registry, you will be given a date and time to return to confirm that all is in order and get your marriage licence that you will then take to the place where the ceremony will take place; at this point, you will also need to bring a witness who will testify to the authenticity of your relationship—this can be a family member or close friend—and confirm where you want to get married
It’s important to remember that all foreign documents should be translated into Spanish and translated documentation should not be more than three months old.
When you have the marriage licence, you need to schedule the time for your ceremony either at the Town Hall or at the Civil Registry itself. In Barcelona, you can get married either at the main city hall or one of the local district town halls: click here for a list of the district town halls where you can marry in Barcelona, including details of times and days that ceremonies are officiated.
After the ceremony, the official who conducted it will register the marriage with the Civil Registry.
In the case of a religious marriage, the couple must obtain the Certificado de Capacidad Matrimonial (as above) before the service can take place. However, it may be that the church administrators will take care of this on behalf of the couple.
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. 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)
Once the religious ceremony has taken place, the marriage should be registered at the Civil Registry within one week. You should check whether the officiator will register the religious marriage on your behalf or whether he will provide you with the paperwork to do so yourselves. If the latter is the case, you should go to the Civil Registry with the documentation provided.
BARCELONA CIVIL REGISTRY
The Civil Registry in Barcelona is located at: Plaça Duc de Medinaceli, 2, 08002 Barcelona; tel. 93 412 0474; fax: 93 342 6171. It celebrates marriages every morning from Monday to Friday
LIBRO DE FAMILIA (FAMILY BOOK)
In the case of both civil and religious weddings, once the marriage ceremony has taken place and been registered, couples will be issued with the Libro de Familia (marriage certificate which is actually a book in which details of any children born to the couple will be written, as well as the deaths of family members). This is usually ready for collection around three weeks following the ceremony. At this point, no other marriage certificate will be issued, but if you need one in the future for any reason, then you need to apply for it from the Civil Registry where the marriage is recorded.
NOTES: There is often a large queue at the Civil Registry in Barcelona before the doors open at 9am. If you do decide to queue, the advantage is that you can get quickly to the relevant section within the Registry and will probably be one of the first to get your paperwork handed in. Alternatively, you can come later, when there is no queuing outside the building, but you may find a large number of people ahead of you at the relevant section of the Registry inside. It is possible to send your paperwork by post to the Civil Registry rather than queuing up to submit it; however if you do this, you should certainly send it certified.