After Lord Hardwick's marriage act in 1754 outlawed marriage in England without paternal consent before the age of 21, young couples started to elope 'over the border' to Gretna Green, where they could be married at 16 years of age.
Many an infamous 'chase' has taken place along that old coaching route to Gretna Green, and there are many legendry tales of furious fathers in pursuit throughout the night, always reaching Gretna Green just a little too late; a scene famously immortalized in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
The residents of the small village of Gretna were well know for helping run-away couples and many an inn and watering station along the route could be counted on to, 'accidentally' delay any pursuers, allowing the couples to safely reach Gretna.
In popular folklore, the local blacksmith and his anvil have become the lasting symbols of Gretna Green weddings.
Scottish law allowed for, 'irregular marriages', meaning that, so long as a declaration was made, in front of two witnesses, almost anybody had the authority to conduct the marriage ceremony.
The local blacksmiths in Gretna became known as 'anvil priests'. As a "forger", the blacksmith marries hot metal to metal over the anvil, in the same way the anvil priests forged a union between couples who had eloped in love.
Gretna Hall Blacksmiths and countless Inns and smallholding became the backdrops for hundreds of thousands of weddings. Today, Gretna Green remains one of the most popular and romantic wedding venues in the world, and thousands of couples still come from all over the world to be married 'over the anvil' at Gretna Green.
Today, Gretna has lots to offer its visitors. The excellent Gretna Gateway Outlet Village sits in the heart of the area, which hosts over 50 famous stores and 5 cafes, open every day until 6pm. Sitting on the border, Gretna Green is only 9 miles from the historic City of Carlisle.
As the longest established wedding planners in the area, The Gretna Green Wedding Bureau guarantee you the best service. All of our suppliers are the best at what they do and our long standing relationships with them allow us to offer you the very best prices along with complete peace of mind.