Choosing Gibraltar as a wedding destination means following in the footsteps of many Hollywood celebs and ‘A’ list stars. Sean Connery famously married twice on the island and Prince Charles and Princess Diana spent the first night of their honeymoon on the beautiful rock. But it is perhaps the wedding of John Lennon and Yoko One which truly captures the romance of getting married in Gibraltar.
The courtship of John Lennon and Yoko Ono is one of the most enduring images of 20th Century popular culture. The pair were married in the British Consulate Office in Gibraltar on March 16th 1969 and the tale of their big day has gone down in wedding folklore.
The couple had decided to marry two days after Paul McCartney had tied the knot to Linda Eastman. Whether Lennon had been inspired to propose in response to his band mate’s wedding remains a topic of debate. Lennon’s divorce from wife Cynthia had been finalised the previous November.
How they came to be married in Gibraltar
Lennon had investigated whether he could marry Ono at sea, on the cross-channel ferry to France but his bride-to-be was denied the opportunity to do so because she couldn’t secure a day visa to make the crossing.
Instead, the pair chartered a plane to Paris but again their plans to marry were thwarted. As they hadn’t been on French soil for long enough, their request to be married was declined by the authorities. At the time, couples-to-be were required to live in France for two weeks before tying the knot. The couple could not wait that long.
Lennon was advised he could marry Ono in Gibraltar as it was a British protectorate. The Beatles legend would later recount that he had chosen the island because it was “quiet, British and friendly” and because they could go ahead at short notice.
The rock was the foundation
The happy groom would go on to say, “we went there, and it was beautiful…we liked it in the symbolic sense, as the rock was the foundation of our relationship.”
Both wore white for the ceremony, but their wedding attire was far from traditional. Ono wore a white miniskirt, knee socks and a wide-brimmed floppy hat while her husband had chosen a white suit with a turtleneck jumper beneath.
To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the wedding, Gibraltar issued postage stamps featuring an image of the couple standing in front of the famous rock at the island’s airport.