Foreigners flock to Gibraltar to wed during pandemic

Gibraltar was never on Bruno Miani's list of places to visit, but that all changed when the pandemic upended his plans to marry his girlfriend in Dublin where they live.

With government offices closed due to virus restrictions, the 40-year-old photographer and his partner struggled to get the documents they needed for a wedding license and faced a long wait for an available time slot for the ceremony.

So the Brazilian couple took a low-cost flight to Malaga and then traveled by bus to Gibraltar, a tiny British territory at the southernmost tip of Spain where they tied the knot at the local Registry Office before a portrait of Queen Elizabeth.
"The fastest way to get married now is to go to Gibraltar," said Miani, whose eyes welled with tears when the registrar declared that he and Natalia Senna Alves de Lima were now legally husband and wife.

"We love each other a lot. We already live together as a married couple. This makes it official."
Gibraltar requires minimum bureaucracy to get married and there are no virus border restrictions, which has helped turn it into a wedding hotspot during the pandemic.

Couples just need to present their passports and birth certificates, and stay in the territory overnight either before or after their wedding.

They then just need to have their marriage registered by the authorities in their home country.
Wedding planners report huge demand from couples from outside the territory.
"It is absolutely insane. We just can't get enough slots and spaces," said Leanne Hindle, the director of wedding events company Marry Abroad Simply.

Many marriages being celebrated in Gibraltar involve couples of different nationalities in long-distance relationships who could not travel to...

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