So, venue – check. Date – check. Church – check. And there I was giving myself a big pat on the back for being so organised. Then one question from my friend Suze suddenly had me in a blind panic.
“So, have you sorted out, or looked into sorting out the paperwork yet?” she asked me.
Er, not exactly. Not at all, in fact. She only inquired because she was originally planning on getting married in Spain, but after doing some investigation realised it would be a lot easier and cheaper to get hitched in England. She wanted to warn me.
Well a ceremony in the UK is not an option for me, not at this stage in the game. We’re already too far down the planning line now to change countries! So I’m just going to have to dive right in to figuring out what paperwork I need. But really, I have a headache already after just dipping my toe in.
I love living in Spain, I really do. But what I hate is the endless lists of forms and official documents you have to fill out just to have the right to exist. If you’re missing just one then the whole thing comes crashing down around your head like a red tape nightmare.
A quick look at the Madrid British Embassy’s website confirmed my suspicions – this is going to be a total nightmare.
Of the seven documents that I will most probably have to show in order to legally marry my beloved, I have not one. Not even my birth certificate will be good, as I need to get it re issued, “legalised” (basically send off to the legalisation office where it is magically made legal during a mysterious process lasting four to six weeks) and translated.
I also need to swear an oath that I’m single and free to marry, have that made into a certificate, and in order to get that there a further list of about six documents I need to provide.
And of course all this costs money and will probably involve lots of waiting around, if past experiences are anything to go by. I had to wait in a queue for six hours to get my identity card three years ago. Still not quite recovered from that experience.
No one talks about this stuff. They talk about how tricky it is to finalise your guestlist, or the trials and tribulations of finding the perfect dress or venue. But nothing about the paperwork. Maybe it’s because it’s the most boring aspect of getting married. Or maybe it’s because it’s not that complicated if you’re a British person getting hitched in Britain.
One thing’s for sure, I’m going to make sure I do it right. Imagine going through the whole thing then finding your wedding had no legal status. That would be a disaster.
As Suze said, it’s best to get the boring crap out of the way now, then I can get on with the fun stuff.