Gibraltar became the wedding hot spot of Europe during the pandemic because of its lack of restrictions and its open border.
The British Overseas Territory shares a border with Spain and is famous for being home to the Rock of Gibraltar, a monolithic limestone promontory, which towers over the peninsula.
When the world shut up shop to stop the spread of COVID-19 by imposing travel restrictions and limiting the number of people allowed to gather publicly, many couples that hoped to get married had their plans delayed indefinitely.
Enter Gibraltar, which was exempted from the list of countries the UK advised against non-essential travel to and, and whose government lifted many of the restrictions on personal movement and recreation that were implemented at the start of the pandemic.
Following the easing of these restrictions, the Gibraltar Tourist Board began to actively encourage wedding tourism. Their website, Visit Gibraltar, reads: “Follow in the footsteps of John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and Sir Sean Connery – get married on the Rock. Marriages and civil partnerships in Gibraltar are easy and visitors can choose from a variety of locations for the ceremony.”
It also boasts that hundreds of couples travel to Gibraltar to exchange vows and that local legislation does not require any form of residence from prospective newlyweds, the ‘simple’ procedure merely requires valid identification and one night’s stay in the territory.
One of the facilitators of Gibraltarian weddings, Chairmaine Cruz, the owner of Sweet Gibraltar Weddings, told The New York Times: “We were just expecting people to cancel or postpone, but as soon as the travel restrictions were lifted in July the phones wouldn’t stop ringing.
“It makes sense as it’s easy to get married here. It’s cheap, there are many direct flights and the marriage certificate provided is recognized worldwide.”
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