As Coronavirus restrictions limit weddings to 15 people, it’s becoming more and more popular for couples to elope instead of having a big wedding day. There are many reasons why couples decide to elope – saving money, less stress and family politics are just some of them. 2021 will see lots more couples make the decision to elope in the UK and abroad.
If you’re only allowed a small wedding, eloping is the perfect way to still say I do and then save your money for a bigger celebration when the restrictions are lifted. It can also save you from the difficult choice of deciding on which family members or friends to uninvite – an elopement with just the two of you (and 2 witnesses) and a later celebration with loved ones might actually save their feelings.
I spoke to my lovely friend Mel about her romantic elopement at Gretna Green.
Why did you decide to elope?
The main reason we chose to elope was to have a simple, intimate and romantic wedding. We did all the planning in more or less one evening and so the run up to the big day was pretty stress free.
Did you book a photographer and did you do your own hair and make up?
I was planning to do my own hair and make up (apparently Kate Middleton did her own wedding make up!), however a friend of mine persuaded me to have this done professionally and I am really glad I did. There was a salon on site at our hotel so it was easy to go down on the morning of the wedding. Everything was perfect and it gave me a chance to calm my nerves before the ceremony, plus it meant that Rob and I got ready separately and he could have the ‘wow’ moment when he first saw me in my dress with hair and make up done.
We arranged a photographer through the venue and this is something I probably should have put more thought into! The photos are lovely but all quite generic and I think with hindsight I would have put more research in to find a photographer whose work I loved. Some of my favourite photos are selfies that we took ourselves just after we were married!
Did you arrive at the wedding venue together or separately?
Our venue, the original Blacksmiths Shop in Gretna, was across the road from our hotel, and we walked across together hand in hand on the morning of the wedding and I loved that we were able to do that. Despite it being autumn in Scotland the weather was kind!
Was your ceremony performed by a registrar or a celebrant, and did you write your own vows?
We were married by a registrar plus a celebrant who conducted the ‘handfasting’ part of the ceremony where two pieces of metal are hammered on the anvil to represent two people joined together in marriage. The ceremony was around 30 minutes altogether. I love the traditional wedding vows and so those were definitely the ones we wanted to use. Gretna has a lot of tradition and romance around weddings so it was pleasing to think of all the couples before us saying those words as they stood by the anvil at the Blacksmiths Shop.
Were your families supportive with your decision to Elope?
Our families were really supportive. Rob’s mum had eloped herself and so understood completely! My mum had already been mother of the bride three times previously and it didn’t occur to me that she or my dad would mind, as for most of my life I was adamant I wouldn’t be getting married! I had a small wobble about my dad not walking me down the aisle, but because of his dementia that may have not been possible anyway, so to take that out of the equation altogether actually took an extra worry off of my mind. Our main concern was Rob’s girls feeling left out, but after we sat them down and explained that we were having a special wedding that was just the two of us they didn’t appear to give it another thought…the promise of a family trip to EuroDisney to look forward to just before the wedding definitely helped and they were way more excited about that!
Looking back, would you of done anything differently?
Apart from the photos as mentioned above I think I would do everything exactly the same. I loved my wedding day!
Photo by the wonderful Sassy at assassynation.co.uk