Most couples get legally married in their home country before coming to Spain. A couple of weeks later they will travel here to celebrate the wedding ceremony and reception with family and friends. So, if you want a civil ceremony I do recommend this way of doing it, since it’s requires much less paperwork than if you do it all abroad.
And remember, nobody needs to know that you are already married “on paper”. I promise that the day you have the symbolic ceremony it will feel like that day is your real wedding day!
However, sometimes you still need or want to get married legally in Spain. As a foreigner you will have some options:
If one of you is a Catholic, you can have a religious catholic legal ceremony at a Spanish church.
If at least one of you has been living in Spain for the last two years, you could get married with a legal, civil ceremony. You can do it at a Spanish town hall, Registry Office or notary office.
You could get married at your country’s embassy or consulate here in Spain, if that is a service that they offer. If you want, you could do a symbolic ceremony at a venue afterwards.
If your country has a church in Spain and they have the permission to marry couples, you could have a legal, religious ceremony there.
Are you a same-sex couple and want to get married in spain?
As a same sex couple, you can get married with a civil ceremony here in Spain. The requirements are the same as for anybody else; at least one of you needs to have lived in Spain during the last two years. You can also marry in your church if they wed same sex couples.