You can get married legally in Madeira and Porto Santo, 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 paper work 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. These are needed if you have not previously been married before.
- Divorce Certificate and Death Certificates. These are needed if either or both individuals have been previously divorced or widowed.
- 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 Madeira and a request to book the Registrar for your wedding can be made.
We feel we should point out that legal weddings in Madeira 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 Madeira 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.
Have a look at http://madeiraweddingplanner.com/the-legalities/ as here they describe the steps for the legalities in the UK, allowing you to have a Celebrant conduct your ceremony in Madeira.
There is an English Church in Madeira who would be happy to conduct a religious service for you. Or you can search in our Directory for a Celebrant who can conduct a more personalized ceremony, yet still following all the traditions you would expect.