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At common law, a “Gretna Green marriage” generally refers to a marriage solemnized in a jurisdiction that is not the domicile of the married parties, in order to avoid restrictions or procedures imposed by the parties` home court. [4] A notable marriage of “Gretna” was Edward Gibbon Wakefield`s second marriage to the young heiress Ellen Turner in 1826, which was called Shrigley`s abduction (his first marriage was also to an heiress, but the parents wanted to avoid a public scandal). [Citation needed] Other cities where quick, often secret, weddings could be made became known as “Gretna Greens”. [5] In the United States, these were Elkton, Maryland,[6] Reno, and later Las Vegas. [6]. Elkton developed a very factual attitude towards these marriages. Taxi drivers and rental cars met all the trains and were ready to take the lovers to the wedding salon which paid them for the delivery of customers. A license was available on site and the ceremony followed quickly. There was only one requirement – that the marriage had to be performed by a clergyman. A local newspaper reported that Elkton had a wedding every 15 minutes, about 12,000 a year. The original Gretna Green is a town of this name, famous for out-of-control weddings and just across the border in southern Scotland. When English laws banned marriage before the age of 21, some younger couples crossed the Scottish border and the first town on the street was Gretna Green.

[1] In popular tradition, blacksmiths and anvils have become symbols associated with such marriages. Scottish law allowed anyone to marry when a statement was made in front of two witnesses. The forges of Gretna were called “anvil priests”. [1] Gretna`s “out-of-control marriages” began in 1754 when Lord Hardwicke`s Marriage Act came into force in England. According to the law, if one of the parents objects to the marriage of the minor to a person under 21 years of age, the parent can legally veto the union. The law tightened the conditions of marriage in England and Wales, but did not apply in Scotland, where it was possible for boys to marry at 14 and girls at 12 with or without parental consent (see Marriage in Scotland). But it wasn`t until the 1770s, with the construction of a toll road that ran through the hitherto obscure village of Graitney, that Gretna Green became the first easily accessible village across the Scottish border. [2] Not surprisingly, “Gretna Green” has become a buzzword for runaways and quick weddings in America. Without Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada, which came later, two of the best-known places for these weddings were Aberdeen, Ohio, and Elkton, Maryland.

In the first half of the 18th century, there had been significant problems in England, where irregular marriages, often led by unauthorized celebrants, had allowed fortune hunters, bigamists, and others to marry young heiresses in order to take control of their wealth. To solve the problem of these marriages, Lord Hardwicke introduced in 1754 a law prohibiting people under the age of 21 – almost without exception the young woman – from marrying in England without parental consent. The arrival of the railway at Gretna Green in 1848 simply served to increase Ambossehen`s popularity. In 1857, however, in response to overtures from conservative interests such as the Church of England, Lord Brougham`s Cooling Off Act came into force, which stipulated that couples had to reside in Scotland for three weeks before they could marry. Not surprisingly, Gretna Green and the anvil wedding industry have suffered a lot. Scottish marriages were even more attractive because of Scottish law allowing “irregular marriages”, with almost everyone having the power to perform the marriage, provided there were two witnesses. Gretna Green`s blacksmiths have earned the title of “anvil priest” – and their place in Scottish history! – how they made the rings and performed the wedding ceremony for couples fleeing their parents` veto. In 1940, “anvil marriages” were banned. Only the registrar could legally marry couples, and the role of the local blacksmith was limited to creating only objects instead of objects and conjugal unions.