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Portugal is an easy destination to choose when it comes to your big day! This country is surrounded by natural beauty, history, gorgeous beaches, mountains, amazing cuisine, incredible wedding venues, sunny weather, friendly people, and so on. But if you are set on tying the knot in Portugal you should know how to make it official.

It can be a little slow process to get everything going due some bureaucracy but it is totally worth it.

You will need to meet a few requirements.

  • Both parties should be at least 18 years old (or 16, provided they have written consent from the parents).
  • Same-sex weddings and gay marriages also follow the same restrictions.
  • You don’t need a legal residency to get married in Portugal.
  • You may only be married in Portugal according to Portuguese law, and in the presence of a Registrar.
  • You may not be married at an embassy or consulate by a consular from your country, nor under the law of your own country.
  • Foreign citizens do not acquire Portuguese nationality when marrying a Portuguese citizen. However, they may apply for Portuguese citizenship after three years of marriage.
  • You have two options here, either a Civil or Catholic wedding. Both are legally recognised and legally binding. Religious ceremonies for all other churches and faiths must be preceded by a civil ceremony and the marriage certificate should be made available.
  • The ceremony, Civil or Catholic, will be conducted in Portuguese and if you choose to marry at a church, you should make arrangements in advance with the local priest. It’s not a legal requirement to have a translator, but if neither of you speak Portuguese, you can arrange for an interpreter to be present throughout the ceremony.
  • A couple who decides to get married in Portugal needs to acquire a marriage license from the Civil Registry Office (Conservatória do Registo Civil). This application must be made whether you are applying for a civil or Catholic wedding. Once the license is granted, a date may be booked for the civil wedding or plans can be made with the chosen church. 
  • It usually takes approximately one month for the Portuguese authorities to process this request. You can apply in person or by assigning a representative with power of attorney. In the case of a Catholic marriage, the priest may also initiate the process.
  • The process must be started at least 6 weeks before the expected date of marriage and the marriage must take place within 6 months from the date of its authorization.
  • When applying for your marriage license you must indicate which type of wedding you want (civil, religious), the matrimonial regime of your choice, the day, time, and location of your wedding ceremony.
  • There are four kinds of marital regimes available in Portugal. The default regime is marriage in a community of property and it costs €100. Pre-nuptial agreements can also be drawn up to alter this in any way and if you choose to have this prepared by the Civil Registry Office the cost is €160. To register a prenuptial agreement, when this has not been prepared in the Civil Registry Office, for example in a notary office, the cost is €30.
  • The application fee is €120 if the marriage is being celebrated in the registry office. This amount includes the application for the license and the registration carried out after the marriage.
  • If you opt to get married on a Saturday, Sunday, or public holiday, after office hours or at a location other than the Civil Registry Office, the cost will be €200. If the marriage is not celebrated at the Civil Registry Office, you must ensure transportation or pay for the traveling costs of the Registrar.
  • After the wedding, an international wedding certificate will be issued, which you can use to register the wedding in your country of residence. Some countries require a national certificate with an apostille that then has to be translated into your country.

Getting married in Portugal: step by step

To get married in Portugal, you will first need to apply for a marriage license. You should do this at least six weeks before your chosen wedding date. Once you have it, you must get married within the next six months. Legal requirements aside, planning a wedding in Portugal is fairly similar to other Western countries. 

Here is a step-by-step guide:

  • 1 year out: Set up a budget and guest list, and find a place for the ceremony. If marrying in the church, request a meeting with the priest to ensure the church is free on that date.
  • 10 months out: Book a venue and start looking for suppliers to hire, including caterers, florists, entertainment, and photographers. 
  • 8 months out: Create a wedding website, send out save the dates, and go dress-hunting.
  • 6 months out: Collect all the documents to apply for the marriage license and begin your honeymoon search.
  • 4 months out: Shop for wedding rings, smaller decorative items, and guest favors. 
  • 3 months out: Send out the invitations, book hair and makeup trials, and organize transport for your big day.
  • 2 months out: Finalize the catering, music, and entertainment.
  • 1 month out: Arrange the final guest list, and create a floor plan or seating chart. 
  • 2 weeks out: Send a shortlist to your photographer and confirm an on-the-day run sheet.
  • 1 week out: Pick up your wedding outfit and start packing for your honeymoon (if you’re leaving straight away).

Necessary paperwork and documentation

You will need to submit some paperwork before you can legalize your wedding in Portugal. Both parties need to provide the following documents:

  • Citizen card, passport, or residence permit
  • A certified copy of your birth certificate issued within the last six months. If it is in a foreign language, it has to include a Portuguese translation.
  • The affidavit of eligibility to marry, if your home country issues this kind of certificate; again, this must be translated into Portuguese.
  • A baptismal certificate for weddings in the Roman Catholic Church.
  • A prenuptial agreement certificate prepared at a notary office, in case you don’t want the standard matrimonial regime.
  • If you were married before, you need to show a marriage certificate from that union. You will also need a divorce decree or a death certificate to prove its dissolution.
  • If any of the parties is over 16 but under 18, they need written consent from their legal guardians.

Note: Remember to allow enough time to get the necessary documents translated into Portuguese. This is where a translation service can really help. Thankfully, there are a number of online platforms you can use to find the right translator for you. These include:

Getting married in Porto, Portugal? For more info or to book your free consultation just reach out to me here.

See more of my work go to: emilioazevedophotography.com

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Portugal Wedding Venues:

Evolutee Hotel Royal Óbidos Spa & Golf Resort
Quinta Maria Neta
Montebello Eventos
Exe Hotel Vila D’Óbidos
Quinta da Torre
Challet Fonte Nova
Solar Cerca do Mosteiro
Quinta do Alferes de Crasto
Quinta da Pacheca
The Fox House
Six Senses
Casa das Tílias
Quinta de Oleiros
Forte da Cruz
Villa Tamariz
Quinta de Covela
Quinta Cerrado de Portela
Arriba by the Sea
Quinta dos Machados
Hotel Casa Palmela
Quinta de Pousada
Quinta da Conceição
The Astoria
Parador Casa da Ínsua
Quinta de Catralvos
The Lake House
Estufa Fria
Casa de Reguengos
Palácio Conde d’Óbidos
Quinta do Casal Novo
Our Quinta
Casa dos Arcos
Torre Bella
Quinta de Segade
Quinta da Eira
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