Weddings are not the easiest to organise, which is why I’ve discussed the temptation of eloping on here previously.
I totally understand why some couples decide just to run away and just make the wedding about the two of them, or have a tiny handful of guests they choose to spend their special day with.
So it only seemed fitting to discuss where the idea of eloping started: Gretna Green. As much as I’d heard of Gretna Green, I didn’t really understand where the history and idea of marrying there came from.
So i’ve done my research so you don’t have to.
It turns out in the 18th century, marriage laws were changed so that you couldn’t get married before the age of 21 without parents permission. Aside from this, you also had to marry within a church.
Scottish law, however, was different and only required two witnesses and a declaration from the couple that they were both free to marry. This led to an increase in couples eloping to Scotland so that they were allowed to marry without their parents permission.
The reason Gretna Green was so popular is because Gretna was the first village you would reach in Scotland when you crossed the border, meaning that couples didn’t have to venture too far out of England before they could legally tie the knot. It was also conveniently located on the main route from London to Scotland so thousands made the journey just so they could marry.
Often the family of the bride to be would be in hot pursuit of the couple to try and stop the marriage happening, so by getting married as soon as they crossed the border at Gretna Green, would avoid being caught and stopped before they married.
So there you have it, if any of you are considering eloping, now you know where the history of eloping to Gretna Green came from!
If you’re a traditionalist yourself, rather than eloping abroad somewhere, maybe consider Gretna and enjoy the rich history it offers.