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Destination Wedding In Spain: A Budget-Friendly Guide [2024]

Destination Wedding In Spain: A Budget-Friendly Guide

A destination wedding in Spain is a dream come true, but it’s no secret that everything, from the cost of living to plan your big day, has become more expensive. Even couples who want to stay at home must contend with the rising costs of wedding venues and on-site catering.

But, since Spain isn’t as inexpensive as Mexico, Puerto Rico, Bahamas or a local event, you’ll still need to pay attention to your funds. Here’s how to have a destination wedding in Spain.

Step 1: Learn Some Spanish

Spain is a tourist-friendly country, but it helps to learn Spanish before travelling for your destination wedding. Not only will this make event coordination and honeymooning go more smoothly, but it will also give you access to hotels and venues that are much cheaper to book. 

Why? Because non-tourist cities have few English speakers. On top of that, people feel more comfortable conversing in their native language. You’ll get more done faster if you learn a few key phrases. You don’t have to be fluent; you must communicate your needs.

To learn Spanish in record time, you should converse with native-level speakers. To do this, you can join the Lingoda Spanish learning community and take their online class a few times a week.

Books, apps, and podcasts are other great ways to learn Spanish, but always find ways to converse with others. Otherwise, you may be too shy to speak Spanish before your wedding!

spain destination wedding

Step 2: Know Your Legal Requirements

Before planning, it’s important to note the legal requirements of getting married in Spain. To match non-religiously, you have to have a civil ceremony. Religious couples will have to go through the local clergy, but as a non-Spain citizen, your marriage may not count.

Having a symbolic and small civil ceremony at home is much cheaper. Depending on where you live, it could cost $120. If one of the parties is changing their name, they’ll have to request a marriage license for identification, which typically costs $30 plus shipping.

And you’ll want to get married close to your hometown because it requires less documentation than in Spain. It’s also much easier to get your marriage certificate or a replacement.

To legally marry in Spain, you’ll need seven pieces of I.D. (which could get lost on the flight), pay €170 plus the certificate, and wait 30 days to 4 months for the paperwork to process.

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Step 3: Brainstorm Destinations and Venues

According to recent data, the average cost of a luxury wedding starts at €25,000 (80-person), whereas a mid-priced wedding costs €15,000 for the same number of guests

Here’s the cost breakdown for different venues across Spain:

  • All-inclusive Hotel Wedding Package: €160 per person
  • 20-Person Villa Rental for 2 Nights: €6,000
  • 60-Person Venue All Inclusive: €15,000-17,000
  • 100-Person Venue All Inclusive: €20,000+

The cheapest option is to invite only the most important people to your wedding. This way, you can rent a villa that can be used as a venue and hotel. Then, after you know how many guests you want and the type of venue you need, you can start looking at cheap wedding destinations.

If you want to stay cheap, stay away from Madrid. Malaga, Marbella, and Granada are inexpensive and incredibly beautiful. You can save thousands just by booking there.

small intimate wedding venues

Step 4: Figure Out How to Get There

The last significant expense (both time and money) you must worry about is flights. Again, the most inexpensive option is an all-inclusive hotel wedding package, as you and your guests will save a lot of time. It’s also a good idea to go between November and March during the off-season.

However, December and February are the cheapest months that still see a bit of sunshine. So you can still have a beach wedding without worrying about bad weather ruining your big day.

Consider bundling your honeymoon and destination wedding, negotiating your wedding rates, and skipping out on shipping in decor. If you do all of these things, you’ll save a lot of money.

Finally, hire a wedding planner and travel agent. It sounds like a significant expense, but you save more. A wedding planner can cut down on destination wedding mistakes, while a travel agent can ensure you and your wedding party don’t pay more than necessary.

Step 5: Start Planning Your Wedding at 16 Months

In the previous sections, you mainly brainstormed and figured out whether you could get married in Spain based on your budget. Now, you can take steps to start preparing for your actual wedding. Here’s how to do just that, beginning at the 16th-month mark.

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When there are 12 to 16 Months to Go

Here’s what you should do 12 to 16 months before your wedding day:

  • Start Learning Spanish: Continue to learn Spanish over the next few months.
  • Understand Your Budget: Set a realistic budget, and don’t exceed it.
  • Draft Up Your Guest List: 20 guests or lower is the option number for a cheap wedding.
  • Perform the Civil Ceremony or Get Your Documents to Marry in Spain.
  • Renew or Get New Passports or Visa: Do this early, as paperwork can take a while.
  • Hire a Wedding Planner That’s Familiar With Spanish Destination Weddings.
  • Book a Travel Agent: Many of them are free, as they get a commission when you book.
  • Get Liability Insurance: It’s cheaper to do this if your wedding gets cancelled.
  • Secure a Venue and Hotel: Getting a villa and combining the two is less expensive.

When it comes to a destination wedding, you can’t leave anything to the last minute. Not only will you waste money, but you also run the chance that people can’t come. So always consider your guests and their schedules before expecting them to fly to Spain.

When there are 9 to 11 Months to Go

Here’s what you should do 9 to 11 months before your wedding day:

  • Send Out R.S.V.P.s: Use email and booking software to make this task 100% free.
  • Tell Your Wedding Party: They must have their I.D. and passport beforehand.
  • Secure Promotional Codes: Find discounts for your guests for nearby attractions. 
  • Create a Wedding Website: These should include details on hotels, maps, airports, etc. 
  • Purchase Airline Tickets: Do this early to get the best early bird specials.
  • Plan Your Welcome Party or Brunch: Consider catering these with homemade food.
  • Get a Dress and Tux: Buy used or rent both to save money.
  • Start Looking for Vendors: Includes catering, transportation, music, etc.
  • Create a Gift Registry: Make these gifts inexpensive to accommodate your guests.

There are a few ways to save money when working with vendors. For one, you can choose a buffet style with the catering company. In addition, you can find a hotel that runs a personal bus service for transportation. For music, opt for a smaller band or hire a D.J. to play some songs.


When there are 6 to 8 Months to Go

Here’s what you should do 6 to 8 months before your wedding day:

  • Take Engagement Photos: Hire a local photographer to save some money here.
  • Consider Your Buffet Items: Speak to the caterer and figure out your spread.
  • Bring in Your Dress/Tux: If you bought used, you could cheaply bring them in.
  • Don’t Book the Rehearsal Dinner: It isn’t necessary, especially if you want to save.
  • Order Wedding Invitations: You can make these online and send them for free.
  • Set Dates for Parties: Plan your stags and stagettes at home or a restaurant.
  • Book a Florist: Opt for inexpensive, local Spanish flowers like hydrangeas.
  • Review Contracts and Get Everything in Writing to Secure Your Spot.

At this point, you should have the bulk of your wedding planning. Remember that you don’t have to include traditional wedding elements to make your big day memorable. Instead, consider things you can live without and subtract them from your list to save time and money.

When There’s 5 to 1 Month to Go

Here’s what you should do 5 to 1 month before your wedding day:

  • Finalize the Guest List: Email invitations once it’s finalized.
  • Schedule Any Informal Activities: Look for discounts for fun Spain activities.
  • Buy Wedding Ring and Accessories: Opt for simple rings, shoes, and underwear. 
  • Finalize Flights, Hotel, R.S.V.P.s, Vows, Photographer, Menu, Songs, and Timeline
  • Get Vaccines for Spain: Includes the following vaccinations on this list.
  • Make Sure You Have Your Documents: Sending them over will cost a pretty penny.
  • Arrange Welcome Bags, Buy Gifts for the Wedding Party, and Order Favors 

While you can save money when creating welcome bags and buying gifts or favours, you must wholly congratulate the people who made your wedding happen. If you want to opt out of gift-giving, consider paying them for fun experiences (i.e., snorkelling) instead.

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Extra Ways to Save Money Before the Trip

As you’re approaching your wedding day, there are still ways that you can save money that isn’t necessarily a part of your wedding plan. Consider using these tips, too, if you can.

Here’s what you can do to save even more money:

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  • Send Anything You Can’t Take on the Plane to Your On-Site Coordinator
  • Put a Packing List Together to Avoid Buying Things When in Spain
  • Avoid Picking Seats on Flights (You May Be Able to Ask to Move on the Plane)
  • Put Together a Wedding Emergency Kit, Like Sewing Kits and Baby Wipes
  • Get to Spain 4 to 5 Days Before the Wedding to Account for Delays
  • Go to Bed Early So You’re Refreshed and Ready to Enjoy Your Big Day

While it’s probably unrealistic, you can save money by packing a small bag. At most airlines, luggage over 50 lbs. has to be considered “overweight luggage.” That could cost you and your spouse an extra $60 each, and it’s better if that money stays in your pocket.

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Bottom Line

Planning a destination wedding in Spain isn’t as hard as in other countries, but it isn’t easy. You’ll always have to watch your budget and consider leaving a few things out. Your dream wedding is well within sight if you plan and stay diligent.

Don’t underestimate the power of a wedding planner and travel agent. These professionals make it much easier to plan your wedding, benefiting both you and your guests.

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