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Weddings in Romantic Gretna Green …
Romantic lovers have fled to Gretna Green for over 250 years, and for some of the couples arriving today the reason why remains the same.
Gretna Green has become the world’s number on marriage venue.
Traditionally, in Scotland, a man and woman over the age of sixteen could be legally married simply by declaring themselves husband and wife in front of witnesses. In England, such marriages were banned by Parliament in 1753, the result was that young eloping couples fled north to Scotland to make their vows. Gretna Green was the first village across the border for stagecoaches to stop on the main London to Edinburgh route, and so began its long association with the romance of the runaways.
The ceremonies were often carried out over the anvil with the Blacksmith priest officiating. This remained the position for over a hundred years.
In 1857 Parliament imposed another law imposing fleeing lovers to reside in gretna Green. Local people took these runaways to their hearts and homes as they lived out the compulsory 21 days in the area before they could marry.
Parliament stepped in again in 1940 to outlaw the Blacksmiths Priests and their anvil marriages. Ministers of Religion or an authorised Registrar were then the only ones to conduct legal marriages.
No residential qualification for marriage is now needed in Scotland, unlike many other countries and no parental consent is required for couples over 16. So couples continue to run away – albeit with the need to serve notice to the Registrar.
So the legend lives on and still the local people, like in the past, take the romantic loving couples to their hearts.