Portugal is simply a fantastic location for a destination wedding. The country hosts a spectacular coastline, an almost endless choice of historic venues and some of the best wine in the world. Throw in the great weather and delicious cuisine and it’s easy to see why so many people want to get hitched in this beautiful corner of Europe.
Luckily for all those couples dreaming of a sun-drenched wedding in Portugal, saying your “I Do’s” in this country is pretty straightforward. Here’s (alost) everything you should know about getting married in Portugal.
Where Can You Marry in Portugal?
Couples getting married in Portugal can hold their ceremonies at the local registry office, known as the Câmara, or at a location of their choosing. Unlike the UK, and many other European countries, venues in Portugal don’t need to apply for a special licence in order to hold weddings. This means you’re free to marry pretty much wherever you want.
This is a real bonus if you’ve fallen in love with a historic Lisbon hotel, a picturesque country vineyard or a remote castle. The freedom to get married anywhere you want is one of the big attractions of planning your wedding in Portugal.
Beach Weddings in Portugal
The Portuguese coastline is one of the most beautiful in Europe, so it’s no surprise a lot of couples planning a wedding in Portugal want to exchange vows by the sea, with their favorite people in the world. However, if you would like to get married on the sand, with the wild Atlantic Ocean as your backdrop, you’ll need to get permission from the maritime police before arranging your ceremony.
Civil and Catholic Ceremonies in Portugal
Both civil and catholic weddings are legally binding in Portugal. If you opt for a civil ceremony, you’ll be married by a celebrant from the local Câmara. You will need to get in touch with the Câmara well in advance to make sure they have someone available.
If you’re Catholic and want to get married in a church, you’ll need letters from your priest and your bishop as well as a number of other supporting documents. You’ll then need to contact the local priest in Portugal to arrange your ceremony. Once everything is approved by the Portuguese church, your wedding will need to take place within three months.
Symbolic Weddings in Portugal
If you want to get married in Portugal but don’t want your ceremony to be in Portuguese—or if you want a little more control over proceedings—you can arrange a symbolic wedding. To do this, you’ll need to get legally married in your home country, or at the local Câmara, and then arrange for a friend, family member or celebrant to officiate at your symbolic ceremony.
Getting Married in Portugal as a UK Citizen
As a UK citizen getting married in Portugal you will first need to declare your intention to get married to the Portuguese state. You can do this either in person at the local Câmara or online. This needs to be done at least four weeks before the ceremony is due to take place.
Wedding in Portugal as European Citizen
EU citizens also need to notify the local Câmara that they intend to get married at least four weeks before their wedding day. Some EU citizens will need to present a certificate of no impediment. This requirement varies from nationality to nationality, so it’s best to check with your embassy to find out if it applies to you.
What Paperwork is Required For a Wedding in Portugal?
Getting your paperwork in order is a key part of getting married in Portugal. Here’s our checklist of the documents you’ll need.
- Passports with at least six months left until expiry
- A newly issued, certified, full-length birth certificate which shows the names of your parents. This must be dated within the last six months
- A divorce decree or death certificate proving the end of any previous marriage
- A certificate of no impediment (not required for UK nationals)
Extra paperwork required for catholic weddings includes:
- A baptismal certificate
- A letter from your priest stating you have fulfilled all pre-cana procedures
- The original pre-nuptial form issued by your parish and stamped by your local bishop’s office
All the documentation you’ll need for getting married in Portugal from UK institutions, and from any other non-Portuguese speaking country, will need to be certified and translated. Again, your embassy should be able to help you with this process.
Getting Married in Portugal FAQs
Can Foreigners Get Married in Portugal?
Foreigners can get married in Portugal according to Portuguese law. Getting married in Portugal doesn’t entitle you to Portuguese citizenship. However, if you’re marrying a Portuguese national, you can apply for citizenship after three years.
How Much Does it Cost to Get Married in Portugal?
The cost of getting married in Portugal varies from year to year as fees for various services go up and down. It’s best to get in touch with your embassy, and with the local Câmara, to find out the latest costs.
Which Country is the Easiest to Get Married?
Portugal is one of the easiest countries in Europe to get married. There are no residency requirements for foreign citizens and the paperwork is fairly straightforward. This makes it an excellent choice for a destination wedding.