As one of the first countries to legalize marriage equality way back in 2005, Spain’s already a seasoned pro at gay weddings, having hosted them now for more than a decade.
So as the same sex marriage revolution expands worldwide, more and more global gay couples are realizing that Spain isn’t just for honeymoons anymore. As home to some of Europe’s top hotels — and with no residency requirements for marriage applicants — Spain also makes the ideal setting for an unforgettable destination wedding.
Spain’s amazing diversity, both cultural and geological, means that an array of wedding settings are on offer here, whether you’d like your nuptials to be grand and lush, rustic and intimate, chic and seaside, or wild and woolly. And no matter where you finally pick for your ceremony, you’ll be warmly welcomed by locals: A recent poll found that a whopping 84% of Spaniards don’t just approve of marriage equality at home, they believe it should be legalized across all of Europe.
From Madrid to Marbella to Maspalomas, these fantastic hotels make excellent options for hosting your once-in-a-lifetime Spanish wedding.
For a stylish wedding at the heart of Spain’s chic capital, it’s all about ME. A designer reworking of a grand and iconic 1920s Madrid hotel, the modern ME is now part of the very gay-friendly Meliá family of properties. Many of the city’s top attractions (including the Prado Museum and the Royal Palace) are nearby, as is the famed Chueca gay district. The hotel has a variety of wedding-friendly spaces, including its fabulous “The Roof” terrace, which sports incredible Madrid views and has been picked as one of Spain’s top ten bars.
It may only have half as many people as Madrid, but Spain’s dynamic second city of Barcelona is actually the national capital for same sex marriages. Your options for a wedding host hotel are therefore plentiful here, but you really can’t do better than the spectacular Hotel Arts Barcelona, set right on the Mediterranean and offering the unparalleled luxury and impeccable service you’d expect from a Ritz Carlton family member. Before and after the big event, indulge yourselves (with incredible sea views to boot) up on the 43rd floor at the hotel’s 43 The Spa.
The flagship of the “hetro-friendly”Axel hotel brand may be a little friskier than your average wedding hotel, but for those wanting a completely gay experience from start to finish, the Axel Barcelona is an excellent choice. The hotel works with Barcelona-based Symposia Wedding Planner to ensure that your getting hitched will come off hitch-free.
Long famous as a seaside resort town, gorgeous Sitges is just 20 miles from Barcelona, but a world apart in terms of pace and peace. At the contemporary luxury resort Dolce Sitges, celebrate your wedding ceremony outdoors along the picture-perfect Mediterranean Sea. The hotel offers wedding packages with a variety of perks for the happy couple, as well as special room pricing for the entire wedding party.
Spain’s southernmost gay capital is the lovely seaside town of Maspalomas, located at the sunny bottom of Gran Canaria, one of the North-African-coast-hugging Canary Islands. The Grand Hotel Residencia is one of Maspalomas’ top hotels and a Five Star Alliance member, offering a beautiful beach-close resort setting with views of the town’s famed sand dunes on one side and a rugged mountain backdrop on the other. If you’d rather go the all-gay route for your Gran Canaria wedding, the Axel has its own branch here too (fittingly called the AxelBeach Maspalomas), located in the Playa del Ingles gay district.
The posh town of Marbella at Spain’s continental southern end is one of the country’s most elite resort areas, home to a stellar array of fine restaurants and hotels. Among the best and perfectly suited for your chic beachfront wedding is the self-contained Andalusian paradise of the Puente Romano, which offers numerous sumptuous spaces for various events, plus the fantastic Six Senses Spa and luxurious guest rooms to die for.
Seeking a dramatic setting for your Spanish wedding? Look no further than the clifftop Parador de Ronda, located in the breathtaking ancient town of Ronda about 40 miles inland from Marbella. Actually set within Ronda’s old Town Hall, the stunning property is part of the nationwide Paradores family of historical-building-based hotels and restaurants.
Another steeped-in-history stellar hotel is the Palacio de Santa Paula, housed in a onetime convent at the heart of the historic southern Spanish city of Granada, and now one of its top five-star properties and upscale wedding venues. Special bonus for points collectors: the Palacio is part of the Marriott family, meaning that your wedding here will also boost your Marriott Rewards portfolio.
Back up north in Catalonia along the Costa Brava, the Castell d’Emporda is a 14th century castle ruin that’s been transformed into a luxurious countryside retreat, just minutes away from the Mediterranean, the Pyrenees, and the incredible gastronomy of the Girona region. The hotel’s surrounding beauty makes it ideal for weddings — a fact not lost on Spaniards, who’ve made it one of the country’s top wedding venues.
It may have a global reputation as a party capital, but the Spanish Mediterranean island of Ibiza is also home to far more tranquil coastal retreats like the exquisite Can Lluc — the perfect place for a perfectly bucolic wedding followed by totally raucous nightlife, to be found in downtown Ibiza just a few miles away.