Life itself is a celebration in Barcelona, whether its sharing tapas and wine at Quimet Y Quimet or strolling hand in hand down Las Ramblas, the city’s famous walking street.

Even if you can’t get married at the La Sagrada Familia church, an architectural masterpiece as well as a symbol of Barcelona’s strong Catholic character, any wedding in the Catalan capital must include photos at architect Antoni Gaudi’s masterpiece—a century in the making and still incomplete.

Speaking of amazing backdrops for wedding pictures, Barcolona’s Barrio Gotico is a old city right out of the Middle Ages, with churches, courtyards, narrow streets and ancient buildings dating back to Roman times—in other words, only slightly older than the equally intriguing medieval district next door, known as El Born.

For wedding guests, the city itself is of course the star, but there are plenty of organized activities for groomsmen and bridesmaids, including hot-air balloon rides, indulging in an Roman bath or hammam, or chartering a sailboat on the Mediterranean. To truly embrace the city’s culture, be sure to incorporate traditional music into your wedding celebration: salsa up your cocktail hour with a Flamenco guitarist and some free-flowing local Cava.

Such a romantic city of course has an abundance of hotels that have mastered affairs of the heart. Michelin-starred chefs will custom design your reception menu at the Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona, and you know you’ll love the food served to your guests because couples are treated to a private, pre-wedding chef’s tasting.

The Ohla Hotel isn’t just close to the architectural wealth of central Barcelona, it’s a part of it: the neoclassical facade wraps around an avant-garde interior, and an outdoor pool terrace provides a 360-degree view of the city. El Palace Barcelona, close to the shopping, cafes, and nightlife of Las Ramblas, is classic Barcelona inside and out, with a decor seemingly little changed since its 1919 opening. Formal dining rooms and a pair of traditional Barcelona gardens, including the etherial Diana Garden on the rooftop, set the stage for a memorable wedding and reception.

For all of its history, culture and fantastic architecture, don’t overlook the fact that Barcelona is a port city: book the Royal Suite at the beachfront Hotel Arts Barcelona for spectacular views of the sea, then join your guests at the water’s edge for a celebration of love. That’s right: in Barcolona, there’s no need to choose between a beach wedding or a city wedding…you can have it all!

> Written By: Bob Curley