Getting married in Spain !

My husband and i got married four years ago, i wrote this little story, of how we went about it, for our Wedding Album, and i thought i would share it with you  after seeing a status on Costa women on what steps to follow in getting married here in Spain …………..

“Congratulation’s you’re getting married!!”

Now the paper trail begins for two English people trying to get married in Spain.

The certificates that are hidden in the depths of your filing cabinet or the bottom of a drawer you’ve not seen for an age need to be rediscovered!

Brides take a deep breath and Grooms get a (large) brandy because you’re going to need it!

A visit to the civil registry office is your first step to a long road of unnecessary beaurocracy.  They give you a sheet of paper that contains a list of things required that’s like a treasure hunt and send you on your way with a smile, at that point and you don’t notice it at the time, but looking back you can hear the smirk in their voice. Good luck if you’re in a rush!!

You go home to compile your certificates and then you find out your husband to be doesn’t have divorce papers or his marriage certificate from his previous life “Why should a man have such documents? “ only a woman would know the answer to that.

So here’s the scenario we are hoping to get married in three months I know its short notice but not impossible!! My partner got married in Gibraltar but got divorced here in Spain.

You can actually get a copy of a marriage certificate on line but the payment system is “not secure “ on the Government website – so to be on the safe side we thought we’d do it ourselves.

For some unknown reason the queues getting into Gibraltar at the moment are so long and sitting in a queue for an hour and half in 36*heat is not a pleasant thing to experience.

Important note: the office shuts to the public at 12.45 – can you believe it? A government building – do they ever work a full day?

So the queue is not going down any faster and I’m getting hot, bothered, infuriated and a host of other superlatives that are not fit for mainstream media readers.  By now the office is about to shut and we are only just reaching the border, so without doing a quick U-turn and running the risk of the Guardia chasing after us like escaping fugitives- we make a few frantic phone calls to the girl in the office kindly who agrees to put aside her sandwich and come down to do our paper work.

 “You can have it in a month!” we both looked at each other and said “A month!” Ten days for the certificate but three weeks for the Spanish postal system. Needless to say I sat in another queue two weeks later without my future husband – myself and a friend managed, with 15 minutes to spare, to retrieve the wanted certificate! Having “walked” across the border into Gibraltar thanks to yet another endless queue!

Not wanting to waste any time we tried to find his divorce decree absolute in the Spanish system – can I hear some of you saying good luck with that ! Well after being divorced for several years the solicitor who dealt with his divorce hadn’t finished the paperwork and my soon to be husband, being a man, presumed it was all done and dusted.

The divorce decree is a simple A4 sheet of paper with another stamp on it but it was turning into something like looking for the golden ticket in the Willy Wonka chocolate competition. So if the lawyer didn’t have it surely the civil register would have it in the town where he got divorced. Having gone past guards and metal detectors we arrived and the lady behind her desk was looking happier than ever having two foreigners in front of her; who I might add speak Spanish – said “NO” with that customary waving finger she didn’t even look!! We left empty handed!

After four weeks of being told the certificate could be in Gibraltar or Madrid or in the depths of an archive never to be seen  again – it was found  in the office we had originally went to four weeks earlier, having had a few choice words with the lawyer our certificate somehow arrived !  Willy Wonka’s gold ticket was now ours!!  

Nearly there, – Did you know if you have a short birth certificate it will not count.  Well you guessed it.  That’s what “he“ had – another  ten days to process in the UK and back into the Spanish postal system for another two weeks by which time I’ve decided to stop pulling my hair out and put the whisky back in the cupboard!

Unfortunately a forest has been felled for the amount of paper work I’ve compiled with English certificates being translated by an authorised Spanish translator who had to apostle everything and Spanish certificates being certified and photocopied by the town hall.

I have {I should say “we” because it was a joint effort} all our paperwork now from Padron’s to NIE’s to marriage and divorce and birth certificates,  photocopies and a few bills along the way, are ready to go !!  

Important note Make sure when you go to do anything official in Spain take every certificate and I mean everything, you have been given since birth and this includes your 25 and 500 metres swimming certificates you receive at school as they might come in handy.

“By the way if any one wondering, all of my paper work was in order”

The paperwork has to be assessed for four weeks {at least} because we are foreigners and then 15 days when the paper work arrives back in town. Time is now against us, yet again.

The end is nigh – We head off to the registry office we started weeks ago to be told that we need to make an appointment and the official girl is not in today. “Mañana”.

So were heading back tomorrow to continue the saga – sorry the joy – of getting married in Spain,  having been waved out of the office with that Spanish wagging finger telling us we were pushing our luck for this December, because as us folks who live in Spain  know!!  If a Spanish person says a month or a date you do have to clarify in “what year”!!

Wish us luck!!


{We did get married !! – Not leaving it to chance we had a “Plan B” the result was – We spoke with the Town hall who gave us permission to get married without the paper work in place and sign at a later date if necessary – but the Spanish paper trail / system came through. The paper work literally arrived the day before the big day phew!!!! }