Sleep eluded me. It must’ve been hair-related anxiety, fear of oversleeping, worrying about not being able to find witnesses, and stressing over the possibility of our photographer being delayed in the border queue. gibraltar destination wedding
On this of all days, the kitchen screwed up my veggie omelet, sending out an oily mess stuffed with whole mushrooms and nothing else. My morning was saved when a sweet elderly lady stopped by our table to tell me that my £15 travel insurance maxi dress was beautiful on me… I’ll always remember her.
Too many cups of coffee later, I left Robert on his own and submitted to round two at Orlando’s Salon. I wanted my hair as I usually wear it, backcombed at the crown and flipped on the ends, and I could’ve easily done it myself, but I was afraid it would go limp in the humidity.
The first stylist hadn’t a clue about how to backcomb, so Orlando took over. Luckily Orlando was doing hair in the ’60s, so he was a master with the teasing comb. My hair looked great, however, he’d quoted me £15 on the phone for a wash/style, but charged me £40. It seems people get greedy when a wedding is involved, but I “Pope Frances-ed” it and was happy that it had gone a lot better than the manicure.
By then, my bouquet had been delivered, and it was exactly what I wanted… except for the 6 pins with plastic heart-shaped heads they’d used to pin the ribbon around the stems. So cutesy, so tacky, and so not appropriate for this Gucci and Louboutin dressed bride! But it could’ve been so much worse. My first wedding bouquet was gigantic, it was wider than my body and cascaded nearly to my knees. I’ve often joked that they slapped a handle on a leftover casket spray and called it “good.”
Getting ready is a complete blur. A combination of nerves, too much caffeine, and not enough food meant that my hands were shaking so much that I could barely fasten my stockings or do my make-up. As we were leaving the hotel, I noticed that one of my french tips had a huge chip in it… despite all of my planning, I was a hot mess!
I barely remember the taxi ride to the Registry Office. We were about twenty minutes early and I just wanted needed it to be 1:00! As is the custom with eloping couples, I went next door at about 12:55 to the office where we’d applied for our marriage license and asked if anyone wanted to come to a wedding. There were no takers!
As usual, Robert provided, finding a witness outside the Registry Office who was there with a friend and their fiancés applying for marriage licenses. And so the Gibraltar wedding between a English man and an American woman who met in Denmark was attended and witnessed by four Germans!
The Gibraltar Wedding Ceremony
The ceremony itself was brief, legal, and not very romantic. The Registrar first read a statement defining marriage under Gibraltar law, Robert and I each repeated a statement saying that we were legally free to marry, then we each repeated a very short vow:
“I call upon these persons here present to witness that I Robert/Sage do take thee Sage/Robert to be my lawful wedded wife/husband.”
Robert looked so handsome and I could barely believe that this brilliant, loving, beautiful man was in his sexy Oxbridge accent making me his wife, I nearly came undone.
By the time it was my turn, I was trying so hard not to cry that I flubbed my lines, but it was close enough and before I knew it, we were being pronounced husband and wife and Robert was kissing me. I barely remember all of it, but he keeps telling me how sweet I was :)
In Gibraltar, the rings come after the kiss and without any fanfare. It figures that I couldn’t get Robert’s ring to go on! I was nearly dislocating his finger and the Germans were saying, “twist it, twist it!” I took their advice and it finally went on, we signed the Marriage Register and we were officially married!
Happily Ever After
For the next couple of hours, our photographer shot photos of us all over Gibraltar (coming up soon!). Shooting on a yacht looking like James Bond and his Girl, someone asked which magazine we were with, and I felt smug ;-)
After the shoot, we walked to Morrison’s supermarket (again!) for a bottle of Moët & Chandon and a Mr. Kipling’s Bakewell Tart. On the walk back, Robert was nearly mugged by a Barbary Ape with a penchant for expensive champagne and cheap cakes!
We spent the rest of the afternoon on our balcony overlooking the Strait, watched the sunset, and eventually ordered an Indian takeaway.
I look back on that day and the whole trip in all of its imperfection with so much joy and love. Robert had said that all he wanted was a ring on his finger and me as his wife, and really, isn’t that what the whole thing is about?
I didn’t get my flawless wedding day, but I’m so happy and proud to be married to such a wonderful man, and I’m so grateful for how completely his family has welcomed me. I got everything right this time and now I really know what it is to be joined to another person and another family.
The next afternoon, we attended our German witness’ double wedding…