Image via Wikipedia

No, this is not an invitation to the Menorca TechTalk. Those went out already. Nina and I are looking forward to seeing our friends next week. This post instead is about an idea to radically improve the economy of the island of Minorca converting it not into a tax haven but into a wedding heaven.

If you are American you probably don´t know that in Europe, it is very complex to get married. In the USA, where Nina Wiegand my fiancee and I, will get married in December, you just show your ID, sign an affidavit in which you swear that you are fit to be married and you get married. In Europe there are waiting lists to get married and even in places where there aren´t, it is unbelievably bureaucratic to get married. Moreover getting married itself is a rigidly structured event with little opportunity to make it your own as people do in the States. And if the bride and groom come from two different European nationalities, something that is more and more common every year since in the EU, as opposed to NAFTA, citizens can freely migrate from country to country, the request for translated paperwork can be endless.

So my proposal is to combine the beauty of the island of Menorca with a new regime that would be unique in Europe and that would make it very easy, and truly special, for people to get married in this beautiful island. A set of rules about marriage similar to those that exist in USA.

First of all, for this new regime there is already the advantage that Spain allows Gay marriage. That in itself should be of help to attract more tourists who want to get married there. But what Menorca should do is to make it easy and fun to get married there. It should make it very simple to get married through affidavit and not this absurd certificates in which people must prove that they are single as if they had to prove they don´t have a “lien” on them. It should also make it simple for anyone, after a day course, to be allowed to officiate weddings – so Menorca would be the only place in Europe where people can get married by their friends. Getting married by your peer is what the Facebook generation wants. Menorca can change the rules to allow that. This is also important because getting married is a very cultural experience and people prefer to get married by somebody akin to them or close to them.

If Minorca created this new “wedding friendly regime” it would do something similar yet distant to what other islands do. The Canary Islands for example have created a tax haven regime. So have Bermuda and many other fiscal havens. But I find an island of florists, bakers and musician somehow nicer than an island of dodgy bankers. If Menorca did become the marriage capital of Europe – celebrating say 1000 weddings a week – the island´s GDP could grow by half a billion euros per year, something huge in an island of only 60,000 people. Let French Polynesia and Maldives do the honeymoons. Menorca should do the weddings!

And the slogan would of course be “Come to Menorca and live happily ever after.” But as it is right now, so beaurocratic and complicated, Nina and I will marry on another island, Manhattan, away from dodgy bankers, and enjoying the close company of our friends and family.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

No Comments

Oscar Barber on June 11, 2009  · 

Nice idea Martin, and i’m sure this idea would help Menorca to innovate in new markets, and not only wedding related markets. May increase websites, photographers, rentacars, hotels, restaurants, flights, etc etc

Lovely idea, sure! 😉

See you at Techtalk, this is going to be the third year I come.

I’m so glad to live in Menorca and have the opportunity to come year after year. 🙂


3.0 rating

Ian on June 11, 2009  · 


It’s an interesting idea and I support you. I am definitely no expert, but I’m English and I did marry my Brazilian wife in Puigcerda a few years ago. The legal hoops we had to jump through were enormous, including notarised translation of all documents, several visits to the registry office (each with a three-week lead time) and, perhaps most complex for what you are suggesting, we also had to post a public notice at the British Embassy for 21 days telling the world of our intention to marry.

I have no idea if this was unique to us because I’m English or because I was resident in Barcelona but it may be that other countries would need to be involved in the changes as well as Catalunya. But I imagine that under EU law it must be possible to have a relaxed law for marriage, so you might well be onto something.

Good luck – I’ll back your cause!

3.0 rating

Martin Varsavsky on June 11, 2009  · 

Indeed Ian, compare that to getting married in NYC. It´s 30 minutes to get your license and then either they marry you there in 10 minutes or you take the license and give it to one of the many religious or non religious people authorized to conduct weddings and plan your own dream event. If that system was brought to Europe, in a beautiful island it could convert Minorca into the prime wedding destination of the Continent.

Leave a Comment

Español / English

Subscribe to e-mail bulletin:
Recent Tweets