Text: What do you think about Gibraltar?
I google Gibraltar, having no current thoughts on it. Known for being more British than the baby monster child of Churchill and Eton, there’s some Nelson memorabilia, there’s a cave, huh. What’s behind this question.
Text: What do YOU think about Gibraltar?
Text: It’s really easy to get married there.
And this is what I love about Mister. He’s 300 miles away from me on a work assignment at a shipyard. (Shipyard assignments are pretty miserable.) He’s supposed to be enjoying himself at a bar, watching the game, and he’s googling Easiest Places To Get Married In Europe. Because he figured we’re going to Europe for our anniversary trip anyway, and we’re going to get married anyway, so why not kill a few birds with fewer stones than there are birds, or however that goes. I’m the one who’s supposed to have a wedding checklist and cake samples on the brain and I’m at home glued to yet another marathon of House Hunters International (oh my god these people will NEVER MAKE IT as ex-pats if they can’t live without a drier.)
Text: Well, we’re going there anyway. Sounds great!
And so the wedding planning commences. Or the eloping planning commences.
Mister found the Marriage and Civil Partnership Guidance Notes and this is what I’ve spent the day doing:
To get married for the first time in Gibraltar you must present your passport, your birth certificate, and proof of residence. So my first job was finding my birth certificate. I’ve moved 4 times in three years so the forensic sleuthing of “where would I have considered a safe and logical place to put this document at any given time in the last four years” was intense, and rewarded. Got it!
But Mister doesn’t have his. It’s a fairly straightforward, but not always intuitive process to have a birth certificate reissued. I went through it a few years ago.
Text: I’ll just call the hospital I was born in.
Text: No, I’m on this. Stay available for questions.
From the .gov website you’ll find if you scroll past the ads after you google Replacement Birth Certificate, you click on the link for Vital Records, which takes you to a list of states you could’ve been born in. Click on the appropriate states and follow the prompts to vitalchek.com, which all the .gov websites funnel you into. It took me about 45 minutes to order Mister’s birth certificate, including considerable drag while we texted questions and information back and forth. You’ll need to know your social security number, both of your parents’ full names, and be able to recognize places you have and haven’t lived, which doesn’t seem like such a problem unless you’ve lived the kinds of lives Mister and I have lived, where residences blur together and get fuzzy in the brain.
“So you never put Ketchikan as a residence when you lived on that shitty barge that winter?”
“I don’t think so. I think my address was officially my mom’s. But it was so long ago.”
“Okay. I’m putting none of the above. We’ll see what happens.”
$71 later there was a big checkmark next to a to-do on the Epich Hitched list, and on to the next: fretting until the birth certificate comes in the mail in 10-12 business days.
There are two ways to get hitched in Gibraltar: you can go to the registrar’s office for a courthouse wedding, or there is a list of approved venues where you can book a party and have a registrar come marry you, with some rules attached e.g.: can’t have the ceremony and the party in the same space. All this in the aforementioned Marriages and Civil Partnerships Guidance Notes .
We would like a no-fuss, no frills moment in front of a clerk to make us official, and then continue on with our plan to gain 400 pounds in Spain, Portugal and Morocco. We are also lucky (?) enough to have almost no family between us to whom we have obligations to provide entertaining and moving nuptials. So will we be able to book our dream courthouse wedding in Gibraltar with four months’ notice?
My anxious and uptight self sent the following message to Gibraltar:
To Whom It May Concern,
I am in the midst of planning our modest wedding and getting all of our paperwork squared away and tickety-boo. We are waiting on his birth certificate arriving before I submit all of our information to you. In the meantime I have a question regarding pre-booking. We would like to be married at the registrar’s office. Is there much of a wait? That is to say, this is last minute. I’m anxious about the timing. My fiancé has his heart set on March 2, and I’m worried that it’ll be booked. When is a good deadline for pre-booking a ceremony at the registrar’s office?
A side note to that, the form asks for a time of ceremony. Is “whenever you can squeeze us in” a good reply to this? We don’t want to be denied because we write “12:30” and 12:30 is taken.
Thank you in advance for your attention to my wedding nerves.