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Tuesday, 25 November 2014

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43 couples have Valentine's Day weddings at Gretna

Love was certainly in the air as couples from all over the country battled the elements to tie the knot in one of the most romantic of destinations.

Romance went into overdrive as 43 couples made the pilgrimage to the marriage meccas of Gretna and Gretna Green to exchange wedding vows. Streets, hotels and wedding venues were crammed with romantic runaways tying the knot on the most loved-up date of the year.

Florists were also rushed off their feet as they prepared for the busiest single day of the year.

Shops across the region were delivering thousands of roses to romantics, with some staff working 16-hour days in preparation for the big day.

One of the most popular wedding venues was the traditional venue of the Famous Blacksmiths Shop in Gretna Green, where couples clamoured to get married over the anvil.

Michelle Hall, weddings manager at the world-renowned attraction, said: “The anvil is supposed to bring luck to the marrying couples and we have had 16 marrying here.”

A couple that literally battled through Britain’s storm were Chris Watts, 48, and Jo King, 50.

From Maids Moreton in Buckinghamshire, they managed to travel the length of the country despite a series of train cancellations and road closures.

“We thought it might be a lost cause when we saw trains cancelled everywhere and roads closed in the north,” said Chris, an IT specialist.

Their wedding week couldn’t have got off to a worse start as the day before travelling, the future Mrs Watts broke her arm while out walking her dog.

“It was no laughing matter even though my fiance is called Jo King. When we got to Milton Keynes in the morning we were hoping against hope that the train to Carlisle would be running,” said Chris.

Luckily after seeing Jo, arm in sling, struggling to carry her wedding luggage, the couple were upgraded to first class.

“The south has been so battered with wind and rain that we were relieved to be travelling north to Gretna Green where the weather seemed much quieter. Then we saw on the news how the north was getting battered by 100mph winds,” he added.

Jo, a health practitioner, said that she was just relieved to have finally got married.

“I never thought I’d get here on Wednesday so I’m just so happy. It’s just so romantic here, we got engaged last Valentine’s Day and we were both ill so we wanted to make up for it.”

Sticking to the traditional spirit of running away to get married were retired psychotherapist Kim, 56, and butcher Russell West, 59, from Nottinghamshire.

The newlyweds told none of their family that they were making the long journey up north to get married!

“We were going to come here to get married 39 years ago when we originally got engaged and we have just got around to it now.

“We chose to come to Gretna because of the romance and tradition about it,” said Kim.

“We didn’t want a lot of fuss so we didn’t tell anybody. When everyone finds out I’m sure they will be happy for us, they will probably tell us it’s about time.”

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