Gibraltar is a beautiful country, it has so much history, great weather and is basically a little bit of Britain on the Mediterranean coast……. Gibraltar has stunning views, friendly people and it its a great option for UK nationals living in Spain, as a legal wedding option.
You can get married in Gibraltar without having to do lots of paperwork. As long as you spend the night before of after your wedding in Gibraltar, your wedding is legal. You do have to arrive in Gibraltar at least 24 hours before the wedding to file the paperwork at the registry office.
We had been engaged for 8 years and had planned on getting married 5 years previously but in the end we just couldn’t finance the wedding we wanted, so sadly decided to put our getting married on hold. After moving to Spain we soon realised that being married would make life a lot easier, especially when applying for residency, as my husband Sim would be able to piggyback on my autonomo, so as unromantic as it sounds, we decided now was the right time.
We had already planned a wedding when we were due to get married in 2015, including buying THE dress, but as we were now in Spain it opened up a whole world of new options. We found the perfect wedding venue locally in Spain and fell in love with it straight away but to get married legally in Spain we would have needed to have lived in Spain for 2 years post residency and we had only been here 6 months..
We started looking into options, we contemplated going back to UK to get married, but we really didn’t want to do that, we wanted to get married in , Spain, our new home. Whilst searching on the internet we found that we could get married easily and quickly in Gibraltar, there were not any direct flights from Alicante to Gibraltar but we would be able to drive there within a few hours. We decided that we would keep our wedding in Gibraltar small and informal, just Sim, me and the kids. We would treat our wedding in Gibraltar as a legal need before coming home to Spain and having our dream wedding at the gorgeous wedding casa we had found in Delores.
We were both happy, we would get to enjoy 2 special wedding days and I would get to wear 2 wedding dresses, after 16 years of waiting this was win, win situation!!!
Making Arrangements….its getting real!
We decided to use a wedding planner, just for the ease of getting the paperwork completed, even though its an English speaking country, we just thought using a specialist would simplify things, also they will provide you with witnesses if you don’t have anyone over 18 attending the wedding with you.
We chose Sweet Gibraltar Weddings and Charmaine really looked after us, she was very helpful, it only cost us £210 for the ceremony package and they acted our witnesses too. We had to send copies of our passports and birth certificates to her before hand, then take the originals with us. We also had to provide evidence of staying in Gibraltar for the wedding night.
We arrived in Gibraltar on the Thursday afternoon and we had to meet with Charmaine at 10am the next morning, outside the registry office where we would be getting married. We weren’t actually getting married till the Monday but the paperwork would need completing on the Friday as the last working day before the wedding.
After meeting Charmaine at the Registry office, we headed to the solicitors offices opposite, whilst here we had to sign the wedding paperwork which took about 20 minutes then we all headed back to the registry office to hand the paperwork in. We paid extra to have the apostle stamp on our wedding certificate, as we knew we would need it living it Spain. Our certificates would be posted to us after the ceremony.
We spent the weekend enjoying the sights of Gibraltar, checking out the monkeys, castles and tunnels and getting ourselves organised for the big day.
The Big Day
Monday came round quickly and it was time to get ready for the wedding. We were all heading to the ceremony together, we had decided that this wasn’t “our big day” just the legal bit, so there was no need to avoid each other before the wedding but I had kept mine and Keira’s wedding outfits secret so Keira and I spent the morning getting ready together and Harvey and Sim did the same. I had decided not to have a proper wedding dress for Gibraltar but I still wanted it to feel like a wedding outfit. I chose similar outfits for me and Keira, we both had long tulle skirts and Keira was in her element getting to be a bridesmaid twice. It felt like a real family event, not just about me and Sim which was exactly what we wanted, a special day for just the 4 of us.
We had to check out of our Air b&b that we had been staying in and into our hotel before the wedding ceremony, so after getting ready and being presented a beautiful present from Sim, a rose quartz necklace and bracelet that I had spotted in a jewellery shop in the old town a few days before (Sim had secretly sneaked out to buy it for me) after popping it on and shedding a few tears, we headed to the Elliot hotel in the old town, which would be our home for the night where we had a family room booked.
Walking from the hotel, through the bustling streets, dressed for a wedding was a very surreal experience but as there are a lot of weddings in Gibraltar, most of the locals didn’t bat an eyelid, we did have a few smiles and congratulations from people walking by though.
We arrived at the registry office and were to be the first wedding that day, we had to wait about 15 minutes for the registrar to arrive so we took a few photos whilst we waited.
Once the registrar arrived we were taken into the ceremony room, the room was lovley and so was the registrar, he really put us at ease. I was so very nervous, which was strange as there were only us 4 there plus the two witnesses but I was absolutely petrified of saying my vows. We had chosen the simplified vows as me and Sim just aren’t very good at being serious and I was worried I’d laugh all the way though…..which I unfortunately did haha
The ceremony itself only took 20 minutes and we were then declared Husband & Wife, we signed the certificate and were free to go, as a married couple….finally!
We didn’t have a professional photographer as we still had our dream Spanish wedding to come, we wanted to keep our professional photos for then. We decided to give the photography job to Harvey and Keira. I must say they did very well and really enjoyed being given an important job on such a special day.
After the wedding ceremony we walked back though the town to our hotel and ordered a taxi to the marina area where we were going for our wedding lunch on a super yacht.
We arrived at the Sunbeam yacht and were not disappointed, it definitely had the wow factor.
The food was amazing and we were well looked after, we were actually the only guests in the restaurant when we first arrived and had the whole place to ourselves.
After we had finished our wedding meal on the Sunbeam we headed back to our hotel, got changed out of our wedding clothes and went for drinks and candyfloss in the town. Some people recognised us from this morning walking to the registry office and congratulated us on getting married, which was really nice.
And that was that, wedding number one was done and dusted. When we arrived back home, we took off our wedding rings and pretended it hadn’t happened, we were getting ready for the next wedding, the big one, our dream wedding with our friends and family, we had 2 months to get everything planned and in place, it was about to be the most hectic 2 months of our lives.
Thank you for reading about our special day in Gibraltar, we really did enjoy our time staying there and our small informal wedding was just perfect for us.
Jess @Happy New Life In The Sun xxx