You can get married legally in Portugal, but there is quite a bit of paperwork to sort out. To complete the legal paper work we suggest you use the help of a Wedding Planner, as the paperwork and legalities can feel daunting.
To get you started, here is a list of the paperwork you will need:
- Your Passports. Photocopies of passports are accepted for the initial process to begin but on the day you will need to produce you actual passports for the Registrar to see.
- Your Birth Certificates. If you are able to obtain and International Birth Certificate, this is best as it does not need to be translated. Your birth certificates need to be dated within 6 months of the wedding date and have an Apostle stamp for authentication.
- Divorce Certificate and Death Certificates. These are needed if either or both individuals have been previously divorced or widowed. Again they must be dated within 6 months of the wedding. They will need to be translated into Portuguese.
- A Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage. This document you can obtain from your local registry office (if you live in the UK) and it proves that you are entitled to get married. It will need to be translated into Portuguese.
- A Procuração. This is a Power of Attorney document allowing another person, such as a Wedding Planner, to organise all your paperwork for you. It is drawn up by a Notário, which is a Notary and the planner can obtain this for you. You can of course submit the paperwork yourself, in which case this is not needed.
With all the paperwork gathered and officially translated, it can then be submitted to the offices in Portugal local to your venue and a request to book the Registrar for your wedding can be made.
We feel we should point out that legal weddings in Portugal are most often conducted in Portuguese and can be quite formal without the usual traditions of the Bride being Given Away or sharing personal Vows, so you may want to use a Wedding Celebrant as well to conduct a Ceremony in English incorporating the elements of the ceremony that you would expect, with the legal part built in, using the Registrar.
Alternatively you can do what most couples do, which is to sign the legal documentation in your home country, before you arrive or after your trip to Portugal and then carry out a full Church or non religious ceremony here, just with out signing the register. This seems to be the most popular thing to do as it is easier and cheaper and your guests don’t need to know.