WHAT do you do if your idea of a ‘happy ever after’ doesn’t include catering for everyone else’s expectations of a ‘grand day out’?
Elope, that’s what. And for one Castletownshend couple, that’s exactly what they did. They packed their bags and headed for Gretna Green in Scotland.
‘We’ve been together for 22 years,’ Diana Morrison told The Southern Star. ‘And while we often spoke about marriage, the expense, not only for us, but for all those who would have to travel and so on, was, as far as we were concerned, ridiculous.’
Gretna Green has long been synonymous with stories of romantic runaways heading to Scotland to tie the knot. Since 1754 love-struck couples from across the UK would race to the blacksmiths in Gretna because under Scottish law blacksmiths had the power to conduct marriages.
Once there, normally with angry fathers in hot pursuit, the blacksmith would ask just three questions, strike the anvil and pronounce the couple married.
So one afternoon, while planning a few days away in the UK, Diana broached the subject of married bliss to her then partner, Jonathan Harvey.
‘I said “why don’t we get married at the same time … in Gretna Green?” Jonathan said okay, and off we went,’ Diana said.
The happy couple told their grown-up children of their plan, but didn’t tell anyone else that they were about to elope.
‘We had to give Gretna Green 29 days’ notice and so we got the ball rolling,’ Diana said.
‘When we arrived at Gretna Green, everything was arranged and we got married “over the anvil” with our witnesses, an unknown couple from Blackpool in the UK, with their granddaughter and their dog.’
Diana and Jonathan would recommend eloping to Gretna Green to anyone seeking a more couple-centred ceremony.
‘It was great, and a really romantic time for us,’ Diana said. ‘We were together for 22 years and engaged since 2010, but after the ceremony in Gretna, it feels like we’re starting out all over again. I’m still buzzing, it was a very special day for us.’