Legalities

Getting married in Spain is complicated legally. It is possible to marry civilly in Spain, but a proof of local residency is required (empadronamiento). Application for a civil marriage must be made at the Civil Registry in the place where the couple reside. This can be a lengthy and complicated process, and most couples chose to marry in the UK in a registry office for all the legal paperwork and then have the Humanist ceremony/blessing here in Spain.

Even though my husband and myself were both residents in Spain, before we got married, we couldn’t face the painful process and lengthy time of Spanish Paperwork involved in getting married legally here. So we chose the simpler option of going back to the UK and having a quiet registry office wedding with no family and friends. We then had our ‘Blessing Ceremony’ in Spain with all our friends and family present. It was wonderful and I now have two Wedding Anniversaries for my husband to forget!!!! Although the one I count is the Ceremony date here in Spain.

This ceremony is exactly like a wedding, with vows, exchange of rings etc, just not legally binding. A blessing is a flexible event, and can be held anywhere - at a Wedding Venue, in a Hotel or Restaurant, on a beach; basically anywhere you choose!

Same Sex marriage
As of July 2nd 2005, gay couples can be married civilly in Spain. However, the same rules apply (see Civil Ceremony above) and proof of residency is required. Therefore many same sex couples choose to have a Humanist Blessing/Ceremony.
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What is a Humanist Celebrant?
The British Humanist Association supports and represents people who seek to lead responsible lives without religious beliefs. Humanists recognise that many people want to mark important transitions in their lives in a way that is meaningful. Celebrants provide weddings, baby namings and funerals for those looking for a non-religious alternative to religious services.

‘I believe in a good life – and by ‘good’ I don’t mean prissy and puritanical. I think having fun, sex, travel and all those things are a rich part of the human experience. Our lives are less than a thousand months long and to make the best of it we need to have fun, form strong friendships and make the best of the gifts we have.’ A C Grayling, British Humanist Association, Vice President.
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What is a Humanist Ceremony?
Throughout history, in countries, all over the world, ceremonies have been used to mark important events in peoples’ lives. At a Humanist Ceremony the couple have the opportunity to declare publicly their love for each other and their aspirations for their future together. They can make this commitment among their family and friends in a meaningful and significant ceremony. It illuminates important values and beliefs while giving expression to two peoples’ personalities.

It has more flexibility and openness of approach that is quite unusual. All kinds of different situations can be accommodated. Quite often the couple choose a very traditional ceremony, merely omitting the religious elements they would feel to be hypocritical.
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A Humanist Ceremony can be expressed in a number of different ways. What to some people would seem flowery and sentimental to others may seem ideal. The extent of the commitment can vary from a sincerely expressed aspiration or hope to an outright promise of ‘until death do us part’. 

Each couple can use their own words, if they wish, to devise the ceremony that reflects their concept of marriage. Or I can help with ideas and passages and weave it into a whole with their own finishing touches. The ceremony will have a flavour that is personal to them and will be totally sincere.
The ceremony could follow a traditional Church Ceremony with the religioius parts replaced with readings and vows or it could be a light hearted ceremony with humorous readings and vows. There is great flexibility.
What is the difference between a Humanist Ceremony and a Civil Ceremony? Civil ceremonies are legally binding. Most countries are yet to accept Humanist Weddings as legally binding. I believe this will soon change.

What many couples are increasingly choosing to do is have a civil ceremony for the legal side (usually in the UK at a registry office) followed by a Wedding Blessing Humanist Ceremony in Spain. They consider this to be their ‘actual’ wedding Day, with vows, readings and music, and the exchanging of rings in front of friends and family, being declared ‘Married’. This is the path myself and my husband chose.
If you have any other questions please don't hesitate to contact me.



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