Spain has raised the minimum age of marriage from 14 to 16 in a move human rights groups hope will crack down on forced marriage and exploitation.
Over-16s still need parental consent or judicial authorisation to wed as the legal marrying age in most cases is still 18.
The change comes months after the government raised the age of consent for sexual relations from 13 to 16.
The United Nations and children’s charities had urged Spain to bring the figures in line with other European countries, arguing that the law left children vulnerable to abuse.
Ana Sastre, from Save the Children from Spain, previously said: “Fundamentally it's a measure of protection to avert possible forced marriages, sexual exploitation or offences against children, especially girls.”
Unicef also welcomed the change after years of campaigning, raising concerns over interrupted education and abuse alongside the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and Council of Europe.
Until Thursday, 14-year-olds were permitted to marry with permission from a judge, while those aged 16 or over needed parental consent.