Kingdom of Scotland
County of Dumfries – Parish of Gretna
These are to certify to all whom they may concern…
“The hammering of the anvil soon became a notorious sound; romantically it is said that like the metals he forged, the Blacksmith would join couples together in the heat of the moment but bind them for eternity.”
I always thought there was something wildly romantic about running away to Gretna Green to get married. I am sure if you are a reader of Historical Romance than at some point the protagonists would have run away together, to that famous little Blacksmith Shop, hotly pursued, of course, by relations who wanted to stop the wedding from taking place.
The tradition of eloping to Gretna goes back to the 18th Century. English Law Lords tightened the laws on marriage ~ you had to be 21 years of age or over before you could marry without your parent's consent and you had to get married in a church. But…English Law did not apply in Scotland. Scotland was the Vegas of its time ~ you could marry on the spot, either by a simple declaration or, by the act of handfasting. You didn’t have to wait until you were 21, but could marry at 16, and as long as there were two witnesses, then everything was legal. And that was that.
I was one of those lucky people, who met the love of my life very early on. In fact, I was still a teenager. Too young, many said, for us to know each other's minds, let alone marry. What did they know?!
We ignored everyone's opinion and married at a crazy young age anyway.
As the years rolled by we often talked about renewing our vows, privately, where it wouldn’t be about other people's opinions because that really isn't what marriage is about. It is about love between two people and if it isn’t, then, what is the point?
Not so long ago, I was talking to my daughter about our marriage, and I said, if I could do it again I would run away to Gretna Green. My husband was listening in, and when all our children had gone to bed, he said, “Why don’t we run away to Gretna and renew our vows?”
I thought he was jesting to start with, but he was deadly serious, and he asked me to marry him, again!
I said, “I’ll think about it. I'll let you know in the morning.” Actually, no I didn’t say that, I said, “I am game if you are.” I guess a yes would have probably sufficed! But he seemed content enough with my answer.
So that was the real reason we went to Scotland. Not to visit all these amazing places ~ they were just a bonus ~ but to pledge our love to each other. No one knew, except for our children. Most still don’t. So if anyone is reading this, who think they should have been told, then I am sorry about that!
We chose to marry at The Blacksmith Shop, which was incredibly easy to arrange. In fact, I just let these people organise it all!
We decided to have a traditional Scottish Wedding, complete with Scottish Piper. I can honestly say I have never laughed so much in my life. The whole experience was surreal. It was the most incredible, wonderfully ridiculous thing that I have ever done. It was absolutely perfect.
|I so loved my flowers!|
The, um, coach load of tourists that had just arrived added an extra touch as we came out of the Blacksmiths Shop ~ married, again ~ they clapped and got their phones out. No doubt, somewhere, there are photo’s plastered all over Facebook of us!
And to top it all, we went back to the Smiths Hotel and had Champagne and Fish and Chips. What a wedding reception, it was so much fun. That is the way to do it! I am so glad we did.
So yeah, that one has got ticked off the Bucket List. I ran away to Gretna Green, with the man I love, and got married!
*All Photos taken by Bill Black Photography
If you are getting married at Gretna, and want a photographer, then Bill is your man!*