That is, if you want to get married. If you don’t, that’s totally cool too. You could have a party for yourself! I think too many people are too focused on weddings at the expense of their marriage and I have so many thoughts and critiques of the wedding industrial complex. Lots of thoughts.
I recently nenewed my vows in Spain (a bit of a story for another time) and it was lovely. I learned a lot about the wedding industry in Spain, was in contact with top wedding planners, beautiful bodegas or wineries, and followed top fashion designers’ instagrams and blogs. After two-ish years of research and planning, I can say I have a very good handle on the state of wedding planning in Spain.
So, why should you have an important, meaningful, life-affirming celebration in Spain? The prices are better and so is the quality. If you don’t mind asking your guests to travel and are into the idea of a destination wedding, Spain is a great place to go.
There are a variety of amazing venues, from old, historical buildings, like the Parador de Leon, where we “got married,” to beaches and mountains, to amazing fincas, or rural houses with land. The options are really endless and they are beautiful.
You will get a much better value for your money. From what I have seen, basically everything is significantly less expensive. Wedding planner fees are much more reasonable, flowers in general, not just for weddings, are much cheaper, as are both excellent food and wine. We paid a fraction of what we would have paid in the US and the quality of the food and wine was much better than what you would get at even a very nice American wedding.
Weddings in Spain used to be very traditional. You had two choices — civil or religious — and there was a set way to do each one.
In a religious wedding, the ceremony would be a Catholic mass in a church or cathedral. The priest leads a formal ceremony, the bride is escorted down the aisle by her father, the mother of the groom serves as the madrina, while the father of the bride is the padrino. Literally translated, these positions are the godparents of the weddings. Spanish weddings don’t typically have wedding parties either.
In a civil ceremony, the couple goes to city hall to get married. My abuela chuckles at the fact that now brides where white to civil ceremonies, meaning that they didn’t used to. Ahh, such modernity, white for civil ceremonies!
There are two time frames for weddings in Spain — morning, or around 12:00 or 1:00 for the ceremony, so that the meal served is a lunch, and an early evening ceremony, so that the meal served is dinner. Like most American weddings, there is usually a cocktail hour after the ceremony, followed by the meal, and dancing.
Now, lots of more forward-thinking wedding planners have popped up and many cater to foreigners who want to get married in Spain. If you think about Europe, Spain and especially the south, is a great place for people from rainier, cooler climates to get married. These planners are happy to do what you want, basically.
Want to get married in an open field? They’ve got it. Gay wedding? They’re happy to help. Want to get married at 10:00 in the morning, or another time that would leave a sensible Spaniard aghast, they won’t blink. Vegetarian? They can probably even do that.
With amazing venue options, forward and creative thinking wedding planners, excellent and well-priced food and wine options, Spain is and excellent choice for a destination wedding.