Any bride-to-be tempted by a classical love story of her own should consider dragging her Casanova along to Europe for a marriage ceremony in a land where the only language spoken is love. With the magical canals of
, the ancient
, the showstopping calderas of
to choose from, your big-day backdrop might make you swoon even more than the charms of your intended.
Our overseas wedding guide has all you need to know to get married on the most romantic continent of all. Rules change between the countries—our guide tackles Italy, Spain and Greece.
First things first: Where's the best place to start?
Pick your wedding destination and then contact your country's consulate there, or your country clerk (in the UK, this would be the local registrar). They'll be able to provide all the information you'll need before a marriage license can be granted. Allow plenty of time to get paperwork sorted.
What documents do I need?
Most countries will ask for a Certificate of No Impediment, a document that enables nonnationals to marry abroad. If asked to provide one of these, contact your local register office. And you might need an apostille, formal approval that signatures are genuine.
Your passports must be valid and bear the same names that appear on all your accompanying documentation.
Your birth certificates should be the full originals with names of both parents. It's likely they'll need to be translated into the relevant language and accredited by the consulate or local clerk's office.
Anything else I need to think about?
- The paperwork can get complicated, so leave plenty of time to get it all arranged.
- No Vegas-style quickies here—you'll often have to register your intent to marry before you can legally exchange vows. In Spain, for example, this has to be done 21 days in advance of the ceremony.
- If your intended was previously married or either of you has been widowed, you'll also need original or certified copies of the decree absolute or original or certified copy of the deceased spouse's death certificate and marriage certificate.
- If either of you has changed your name in the past, proof of this with an affidavit is required.
WHERE TO GET MARRIED IN…Europe
At honeymooners' paradise
, where your vows can be taken with a heart-stopping caldera-at-sunset backdrop.
At romantically rustic
, the bougainvillea-clad retreat where the original Mr and Mrs Smith got married.
, where the bridal party can be soothed in the spa as the groomsmen hunt in the forested grounds, before a Tuscan wedding banquet in the castle's courtyard.
See our other How to Get Married In... guides