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  • Writer's pictureGlynis Woodhead

Eloping to Scotland


magine yourself back in time a little bit. It’s the year 1784 and the young star-crossed lovers are fleeing the restrictions of the new English laws to elope north of the border. With her father following in hot pursuit, the couple know that if their horses can outrun his, they can get to Gretna Green before him and one of the enterprising blacksmiths, or anvil-priests as they came to be known, would legally marry them simply by declaration.

Times have indeed changed and, thankfully, so have the laws which allow such impulse marriages, but the concept of eloping for a quiet wedding is something which remains popular. Perhaps the spiralling cost of a large celebration plays a contributing factor in that with the average cost of a wedding is around the equivalent of a 10% deposit on a house. For some couples, however, the cost isn’t the main factor and they simply want to have a small, private affair, where the focus is just on the two of you and the intimacy of the vows you’re about to make to each other.

Scotland remains a popular place to elope and the reasons for this are not difficult to find. In England, you can only be married legally by a Registrar or a member of the Clergy in a specially designated room in a hotel or building. In Scotland, however, the marriage laws give you far more flexibility and you can be married anywhere – up a mountain, beside a loch or the sea, or in one of Scotland’s many beautiful castles.

I’ve carried out ceremonies for couples who’ve eloped here from as far away as the USA and Australia, and the wild beauty of the landscape is what draws them to this beautiful part of the world. Of course, you don’t have to brave the elements and there are plenty of stunning venues which will keep your wedding hairstyle in one piece should the heavens open unexpectedly! It can be just the two of you, with your witnesses, and then you can head off back home and have a party with all your family of friends, and still be able to put that deposit on your new home together …

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