Gretna Green Wedding History

The History of Gretna Green Weddings

History Of Gretna Green Weddings

Many couples have chosen to runaway to Gretna Green for their wedding. Here we look at how this tradition started

In 1754 Lord Hardwicke introduced an act Parliament which basically prevented anyone in England marrying under the age of 18 without their parent's approval. Nothing would stand in the way of young love, so when the brides and grooms learnt they could marry in Scotland provided they were over 16 they flocked to the nearest Scottish wedding venue, which more often than not was Gretna Green

In the early days the most important person in the village was the blacksmith and he also doubled as the local minister. Such was the volume of weddings taking place, he soon got tired of constantly having to change before conducting a wedding. Instead he took the couples into his workshop and performed a religious wedding ceremony over the anvil which is where the history of anvil weddings comes from

Gretna Green Wedding History

1857 brought another change to the law when Lord Brougham introduced a three week cooling off period. Couples must reside in the parish of Gretna Green for the three weeks and to fund their stay they usually worked on local farms for a minimal fee

The next change to the law occurred in 1940 when all "irregular marriages" were stopped. However in 1994 the ministers once again started performing weddings outside of churches and in 2002 a change in Scottish law meant that registrar's could perform a civil wedding ceremony at an approved venue. The first such wedding in Scotland took place at The Mill Forge near Gretna Green on the 6th of August 2002

The tradition of Gretna Green weddings holds strong to this day, with as many as 5000 couples choosing to get married in Gretna Green each year. So why not runaway to Gretna Green and be on the receiving end of some marvellous Scottish hospitality as you become part of our history. There are many places in Gretna Green to choose from for your wedding ceremony venue, your ensuite accommodation and also your wedding reception

The History of Gretna Green Weddings