Destination Wedding Location in Spain

Today we have a treat in store as this is one of the loveliest cities I’ve ever been to. I stumbled across San Sebastian almost by accident, we had gotten tickets to a concert there (Bruce Springsteen, amazing) so we decided to plan a holiday around the concert. As it turned out we were completely bowled over by the city- it seemed like we had discovered Spain’s best kept secret. If you’re searching for a destination wedding location in Spain, I would definitely recommend having a look at San Sebastian. Located in the Basque country of Spain’s north coast (San Sebastian is also known as Donostia) the city is almost on the Spain/France border, and the coast keeps the temperature mild year round here with averages of 21°C/69°F in summer and °9C/47°F in winter.

Getting Married Abroad in Spain

San Sebastian is really more like a town than a city with pretty much everywhere accessible on foot and an upbeat, festive vibe. There was a lovely Art Nouveau touch to the buildings and the place seemed really clean and well-maintained overall. The Old Town is a must-see with narrow cobbled lanes, street stalls, and is rumored to have more bars for its size than any other city quarter in the world. The shopping area has numerous small boutiques and designer shops- really there is something for everyone here.

Wedding Destinations Spain San Sebastian

Activities

San Sebastian is a very cultural city, with a rather amazing array of events happening year-round: drum parades in January, ‘Carnaval’ in February, a food fiesta in April, a beer festival in June, their Jazz festival in July and host to an International Film festival in September, and this is only a few- here is a full list of the San Sebastian’s yearly events. The city is full of little “pensions” (I first came across this word in the The World According to Garp and was very confused. Pensions are little guest houses, usually family-run and kind of like B&Bs except they’ll do lunch and dinner as well and are generally less expensive than a hotel) where wedding party guests could stay- a great way to experience the Old Town. Great nightlife abounds also as San Sebastian is a university town. Bataplán, one of the most popular nightclubs, doesn’t open till 2am!
Destination Wedding Location in Spain

The main beach, La Concha, is said to be one of the best city beaches in the world, while nearby Zurroloia Beach offers great opportunity for water sports.

Destination Wedding Location in Spain

Food

San Sebastian food quality is undisputed and the city is a centre of culinary excellence for Spain; the restaurants here boast 13 Michelin stars between them. Delicious pintxos (pronounced “peen-chose”- the Basque equivalent to tapas) and fresh fish are specialities. La Rioja region is nearby so some excellent wines are available.

Destination Wedding Location in SpainSan Sebastian Wedding Reception Venues

Wedding receptions are catered by the beautiful Mirador de Ulía (above) which is located on the western slope of Mount Ulía overlooking the city. The Mirador has lovely gardens and a terrace with beautiful views where they host weddings- it is also one of the top restaurants in the city, achieving a Michelin star in 2011.

Ceremony

Destination Wedding Location in Spain

The impressive San Maria del Coro Basilica (pictured) was built in the 16th century and makes a beautiful wedding ceremony venue.

San Sebastian Wedding Church

Other churches that are open daily include San Ignacio Church, Buen Pastor Cathedral (both pictured below) and Santa Teresa Convent.

Wedding Ceremony Venues San Sebastian

Hotel Maria Cristina

Destination Wedding Location in Spain

Completely refurbished recently for the 100th anniversary of its opening, the Maria Cristina is right in the centre of San Sebastian. Decorated in an Art Nouveau style, the hotel has a romantic and decadent feel. There are 107 guest rooms and 29 suites with an indoor pool, sauna and fitness room available. The wedding reception menu is fabulous- on the expensive side at €110 per head and ranging upwards with a lobster course available towards the upper end- but apparently worth it. The Maria Cristina can cater for a wedding party of up to 300.

Destination Wedding Location in Spain Wedding Reception Venue San Sebastian Destination Wedding Location in Spain

Hotel Monte Igueldo

We stayed at Monte Igueldo when we visited. The hotel is perched on the top of the mountain overlooking the city so you have an absolutely fabulous view of the town and the beach. I would recommend the hotel for a look- it is definitely worth going up there, however when we were there (about 4 years ago, unbelievably enough!) the decor was a bit dated- it sort of reminded me of an old Bond movie, if that gives you an idea. I think I might be able to put up with this for the view though..

Destination Wedding Location in Spain San SebastianDestination Wedding Location in Spain

There is a cable car that can take you up the mountain to the hotel, otherwise you’d probably need a taxi. We walked up once, on saying this we’re not really the active types. It’s a pretty large hotel with 125 rooms and they can accommodate 400 for a reception meal, with prices starting at €80 a head. They have a rooftop pool (which as I recall we didn’t use, I think it was March and a bit too cold) and right beside the hotel is a small amusement park, which would provide entertainment for kids in a wedding party.

Hotel de Londres

Constructed in 1865 the Hotel de Londres is decorated in a classical style with bright modern touches. The hotel has 148 rooms and 4 guest lounges and is situated right in the centre of the town, pretty much on the beach. Wedding receptions take place in the ballroom overlooking the main La Concha beach and the hotel can accommodate 220 for a reception with prices starting at about €87 per person for the banquet. Rooms on the ocean side also have a beautiful sea view.

Destination Wedding Location in Spain San SebastianDestination Wedding Location in Spain

Getting there

There are no direct flights at the moment from Dublin- we flew to Santander which was a two hour flight and then rented a car, from there it was about a two hour drive to San Sebastian. Flight transfers are available from other Spanish airports, from Barcelona and Madrid the flight is about an hour.

Destination Wedding Location in Spain

Real Weddings

For a peek at some real destinations weddings in San Sebastian, take a look at this gorgeous one from Aaron Delesie and this one from John Schnack. We’d love to hear any reader experiences from the city, we’ll keep this post updated as we go along!

Destination Wedding Location in Spain

Image credits; Miguel H. Carriço | Trees, San Maria del Coro Basilica Photos and one Hotel Maria Cristina image by Aaron Delesie via Snippet and Ink | Ginette Pico via Pinterest | Daniel Schwabe | Martin Berasategui Restaurant | Mirador de UlíaLuxury Collection Hotels and ResortsWikipedia | PanoramioHotel Maria CristinaHotel Monte IgueldoHotel de LondrèsAussieDingo on Flickr

52 Responses

    • flyawaybride

      Oh but I feel like I missed out too- I hadn’t researched the place before we went there so I wasn’t aware of all the fabulous restaurants.. We didn’t even try the lovely pinxtos because we weren’t sure how the system worked! Another excuse to go back though I say ;)

      Reply
  1. Chapel of the Flowers

    These pictures make me want to have my wedding in spain now. I had never thought about having my wedding that far from home but wow I think that would be an amazing place to get married.

    Reply
  2. Myra

    Hello – These are beautiful photos, love the entry too! My fiance and I are planning to get married in San Sebastian next year! Any suggestions or advice in a destination wedding? I greatly appreciate your feedback, thank you!

    Reply
      • Eileen

        Hi Amy,
        Im thinking about having my wedding in san sebastian too and have no idea where to start. Could you send me on some information if you could please? I d really appreciate it!

      • Amy

        Hi Eileen, congrats on your upcoming marriage! What a great idea- San Sebastian is such a beautiful city. I dropped you an email! x

      • Kimberly

        Hi,

        I am also getting married in San sebastian. The idea is to marry in the mountins (festival style- 150 guests). We are going to visit end of May so any suggestions would be great

        Thanks

    • Leire

      Hi Myra!

      I have read your request! I am wedding planner in San Sebastian, my company name is 20eventos. We are very used to planning destination weddings. Please visit my web page or if you need any information please send me an email (info@20eventos.com).

      I hope to have news from you soon!!

      Regards,
      Leire

      Reply
  3. Vicky

    What beautiful photos and reminiscent of my trip there in August where my boyfriend proposed to me! We’re thinking of getting married in San Sebastian next year and would love to hear from anyone who can help / offer suggestions.
    Thank you! Vicky

    Reply
  4. Nina

    Hi,

    I am beginning to plan my wedding in San Sebastian. Can you recommend any local wedding planners with experience working with clients abroad?

    Thank you!

    Reply
  5. Clare

    Hello!

    Lovely photos!

    Really happy to find this discussion thread about weddings in San Sebastian as my fiance and I are hoping to get married there in June 2015 and have a few questions!

    We went to San Sebastian a few years ago and really loved it, so when we thought about where we’d like to get married, it seemed like the perfect place. We’re going again in the last few weeks in June to look at venues: Villa Soro, Hotel Monte Igueldo, Hotel Londres. Would love you hear your thoughts about / experiences of these places!

    We’re also not sure whether to do church wedding or humanist ceremony. Are any of you doing the latter and if so, could you recommend a humanist celebrant? We understand it’s not possible to have a civil ceremony there…

    Thanks!

    Clare

    Reply
  6. K&J

    My fiancee and I are from Boston but have been to San Sebastian a number of times and are considering it as a possible venue for our wedding next summer. Could you recommend a few online resources to search out locations for a non-religious ceremony that would hold roughly 50-75 people? Thank you very much in advance! The food in the city is amazing, and my only concern with the reception is trying to narrow it down, ultimately, to just one spot.

    Reply
  7. Dnd0010

    HI Amy,

    I’d love more information that you could send my way. We just got engaged under a waterfall in MAui! Just wanting to continue the amazing setting in Spain for our wedding. Thanks!

    Reply
  8. Emily

    The photos are beautiful. I am also about to start planning my wedding and would love to wed here. Please could you send me some information Amy. Thank you so much.

    Reply
  9. Jennifer

    Hi Amy, could I possibly ask for your lovely advice. My finaceé and I are planing to get married in Spain. Could I possibly get some advice. We would like a costal back drop and San Sebastian looks lovely. Thank you so much in advance

    Reply
  10. Debbie

    Hi,
    I would love to get married in San Sebastian. We were there on holiday last year and said at the time it would be perfect for a wedding. We have since got engaged and need help with venues and planning. Any information would be great. A vineyard or rustic location would be ideal.
    Thanks, Debbie

    Reply
  11. Lana

    Hi Amy! Your photos are stunning! Loved them all. Me and my fiancée have been thinking about getting married in San Sebastián too. I am so pleased to have come across your website, it’s showing San Sebastián to be all I hoped it would be! Do you have any information on the legalities of getting married in Spain? We’re both from the UK… I’d appreciate any additional info/ advice you could send me! Thank you in advance!!

    Reply
  12. Angie

    Hi Amy,
    we want to get married there and have no idea where to start please help! can you please send me any info you have please :D

    Reply
  13. paul hollinghurst

    Hi me and my fiance are thinking of getting married in san Sebastian. Nothing too extravagant for about 20 guests and would also like to have it in one of the beautiful churches can you help us out with some ideas please

    Reply
  14. Melissa

    Hi! I’m trying to research and pick a venue (not a church) for the ceremony and reception for a June 2015 San Sebastián wedding. I’m struggling to find places to rent. Any tips?

    Reply
  15. Penny

    Hi Amy, we’re also very interested in getting married in San Sebastián. We’d love to hear your advice.

    Reply
  16. Laura

    Hi Amy! My fiancé and I would like to have a Catholic ceremony in San Sebastián. Any advice or direction would be greatly appreciated!!
    Thank you!

    Reply
  17. Libby

    Hi, I would like more information on wedding planning for San Sebastian.

    Can you help.

    Libby

    Reply
  18. Mandragora Photographers

    Thank You Amy for this excellent review. Landscape, culture, gastronomy and good nightlife. San Sebastian is an excellent place to get married. Also, guests who come here have the opportunity to know the Guggenheim Bilbao, the wineries in the Rioja wine, chapel Gaztelugatxe, etc.

    Thanks a lot for talk about our city!

    Reply
  19. Cheryl

    Could you send me some info as well Amy please. I’m trying to find more information on venues. Thank you

    Reply
  20. Alexandra

    Hi Amy, your photos look amazing- this has really inspired us to look at San Sebastián for our 2015 wedding. We are looking to hold our reception dinner in a local restaurant as we would like the reception to be quite informal. Your reception looked amazing, but I don’t think we could afford that. I would love to hear any of your suggestions. Thank you

    Reply
  21. Jo Shaw

    Hi Amy
    I an getting married this year but we have not yet found the perfect venue.
    We are off on holiday to San Sebastián in May and are now thinking that we might take the opportunity to get married while we are there! Any information/ideas you can send me about weddings in San Sebastian in May would be great!

    Reply
  22. Evie

    Hi Amy, my fiancé and I are also looking at getting married in San Sebastian and would love some guidance or ideas for venues for the reception!

    Reply
  23. Josie

    Hi Amy. Would you send me any indie for a wedding in San Sebastián? Hope to wed there in 2016
    Thanks a mill
    Josie

    Reply

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