Both parties are usually required to each submit the following documents:

  • An application form to be obtained from the Civil Registry or Court in whose jurisdiction the marriage is to take place.
  • An original non-abridged birth certificate, legalised and translated into Spanish.
  • A certificate of bachelorship or non-impediment to marriage. A declaration of bachelorship may be obtained at the local Civil Registry. Where this is not possible, a “Statement in lieu of an Embassy issued certificate of non-impediment to marriage” is usually accepted.
  • Divorced/widowed: Original marriage and death or divorce certificates, as the case may be, which must be legalised and translated into Spanish. Divorces obtained outside of Spain must be convalidated, the Exequatur must be obtained from the Sala 1a del Tribunal Supremo, through a lawyer.
  • Posting of banns: The Embassy or Consulates may issue a letter saying that this is not required in your country of origin.
  • Certificate of residence: Residents of Spain my obtain this document from the Tenencia de Alcaldía in their district of residence. For non-residents, a sworn statement declaring the addresses of the last few years may be signed before a consul.
  • A certificate of consular registration: Issued by the Embassy or Consulates upon presentation of a valid passport and completion of a registration card, this certificate must include an address in Spain.

All required documents must be submitted at least 8 days before the desired date of marriage although the average delay is 35-40 days.
Legalisation of required documents: Contact your consulate or embassy. Translations should be done by an official translator.


    • The most money spent for a wedding singer was the wedding of multimillionaire Peter Shalson and wife Pauline who paid £2 million to get Elton John to sing a song at their wedding.
    • The most expensive wedding was the one held in a purpose-built stadium in Dubai for a Sheik’s son. The wedding cost over £22 million.
    • The largest wedding attendance was a Jewish wedding in Jerusalem in 1993 where 30,000 people attended
    • The longest marriage in Britain was between James Burgess and his wife Sara Ann, their marriage lasted 82 years. Percy and Florence Arro Smith from Hereford have just made it into the Guinness Book of Records for being married for 80 years.
    • The oldest bride ever to get married was Minnie Munro from Australia who married at 102 years of age; she married a man aged 82 years.
    • February 10th is World Marriage Day.
    • The longest ever recorded marriage was Sit Temulji Nariman and his wife Lady Nariman, who were married at the age of five. The marriage lasted for 86 years.



  • Tuck a sugar cube into your glove – according to Greek culture, the sugar will sweeten your union.
  • The English believe a spider found in a wedding dress means good luck.
  • Rain on your wedding day is actually considered good luck, according to Hindu tradition!
  • For good luck, Egyptian women pinch the bride on her wedding day.
  • Middle Eastern brides paint henna on their hands and feet to protect themselves from the evil eye.
  • Peas are thrown at Czech newlyweds instead of rice.
  • A Swedish bride puts a silver coin from her father and a gold coin from her mother in each shoe to ensure that she’ll never do without.
  • A Finnish bride traditionally went door-to-door collecting gifts in a pillowcase, accompanied by an older married man who represented long marriage.
  • Moroccan women take a milk bath to purify themselves before their wedding ceremony.
  • In Holland, a pine tree is planted outside the newlyweds’ home as a symbol of fertility and luck.

ASIDE: Application for a civil marriage must be made, depending on the city, either to the Civil Registry or to the District Court (Juzgado). Note that in order to be married in Spain at least one of the two applicants must be a resident of Spain.

English divorce from Spain

Many English expats living in Spain are entitled to divorce either in Spain, under Spanish law, or in England (or Wales) under English law. In Spain the process of divorce is relatively straight-forward compared to some parts of the world. However, the proceedings are conducted in Spanish and through the notoriously bureaucratic Spanish court system. If you need legal advice on any aspect of the process you would need to appoint a Spanish lawyer and may need to have paperwork translated.   There are some notable differences in process and procedure between the Spanish system and the English one, especially around the division of the assets of a marriage which could mean that there is a significant advantage to using one country’s system over the other.   An English divorce is a fairly simple process if the divorce is uncontested (that is you both agree to get a divorce and are agreed on the reasons why).  The divorce itself is a paper exercise, with the obvious advantage that all paperwork is in English. Most divorces in England take between 6 – 9 months to complete. This time-frame may increase if the other party to the divorce disputes the grounds for divorce, delays returning paperwork or there are difficulties tracing them. But most divorce cases are fairly straight-forward and proceed without delays.   Divorce and family law specialists Woolley & Co, Solicitors provide advice on whether you can divorce in England and can help you complete a divorce through the English courts as well as deal with financial agreements and the arrangements for your children after you separate. For a free telephone appointment call (+34) 9511 20555 or visit


When an Ex-pat dies in Spain, the next of kin or a legal representative must decide whether to repatriate the deceased to their native country or hold a local burial or cremation. Some travel insurance covers repatriation and the insurance company must be immediately made aware of the situation.
Once you have obtained a death certificate from the Civil Registry, Registro Civil at the Court Building, Juzgado or at the Justice of the Peace, Juzgado de Paz, you can then register the death with your local Consular office.
Under normal circumstances, the registration process and release forms are obtained within a few hours. In the case of foreign nationals, the authorities extend the period of time for funeral services to accommodate the arrival of family members.
When a loved one passes away, there is great consolation in knowing where to turn. Hospitals have funeral directors that make recommendations for local companies. It is wise not to sign any finalised documents when under stress, but rather contact a local English funeral service which will facilitate the process in English – it will simplify an already trying period and you can avoid hidden expenses. You call the service of your choice and within an hour they are with you to help determine what services will be required.

Avalon Funeral Plans

For nearly 25 years Avalon has been committed to informing people in Spain about how the complex funeral system here works. If you are a British, Irish or European citizen that lives, or spends more than four weeks a year in Spain then the information is essential to you. We offer expert advice to you which will allow everybody to make an informed choice to fully protect you and your assets.  Avalon is Europe’s leading supplier of pre-paid funeral plans. They will be able to offer a tailor made funeral plan to suit every client which is fixed at today’s cost. All their members are covered in Spain and the UK. You will automatically be covered immediately regardless of health issues or age.

Central Office:
PO Box 800, Richmond, Surrey TW9 1RG
administration_ +44 (0) 20 8939 9530
fax_ +44 (0) 20 8940 1671

Northern Ireland Regional Office
Piney Ridge, Knockbracken Healthcare Park, Saintfield Road, Belfast BT8 8BH.
tel_ 028 9079 2419

Cruse Bereavement Care Cymru
Ty Energlyn, Heol Las, Caerphilly/Caerffili CF83 2TT
tel_ +44 (0) 29 2088 6913

Phoenix Counselling Service
Administrative Office, 591 Heathway, Dagenham, Essex RM9 5AZ
tel_ +44 (0) 208 595 9633

Jewish Bereavement Counselling Service
8/10 Forty Avenue, Wembley HA9 8JW
tel_ +44 (0) 20 8385 1874