James Matthew Atkinson

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24th July 2014 at Gretna Green

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Main » 2014 » August » 4 » Say Hello to Mr & Mrs J Atkinson
10:24 PM
Say Hello to Mr & Mrs J Atkinson

Julia and I were wed at Gretna Green on Thursday 24th July 2014. We have been together for 13 years and thought it was about time we made the right commitment. I am not sure why we have not got married in the past. I think you tend to feel it is not the most necessary part of the relationship, not when you can ride the waves of turbulent waters and have proved your commitment without any ceremony. We felt it would be hypocritical to be wed in a church so that was out of the question to start with. We do not have high principals about it but felt that option would not be correct for us. That led us onto which venue. The original blacksmiths shop at Gretna was just right.


Ready for a toast in the hotel

Lets get it poured!


Strawberries too

I can not say that my side of the family were as open to the idea as Julia’s were but at the end of the day it is what we wanted and, although it may sound selfish, that is all that counted. Thank fully we brought most of my family on side before setting off and I was grateful of that. Julia’s family was very supportive from the beginning and that helped a great deal. It certainly made us feel better.


Having a look around the day before


Just wait till tomorrow!


We decided that both our siblings have had lovely family weddings. A great family gathering cannot be beaten. When we were thinking about this we came to the conclusion the expense was not needed, as both of us did not want a large event. No matter how you try planning a family wedding you are bound to upset someone. I have seen it happen a few times. A small wedding tends to turn into a large reception. We just wanted to avoid it from the start and so decided that the pair of us going to Gretna was what we both wanted. It did not take any real planning and was very much stress free. I found out it is one of the most policed wedding venues in the UK. Gretna has every wedding scrutinised. They have had 250 years to get it right and the crew makes it a lovely event. Gone have the days of youngster’s eloping but it is a romantic thought to think it is where all that drama happened! We thought, ‘yes lets just have a quiet wedding’ but were surprised when we got there just what a tourist stop off it is.

Because we wanted to be wed in the original blacksmith shop we booked the main hotel a few yards away. We drove up to Scotland with all the traffic on their way to the Glasgow games and the weather was incredible. We gave ourselves three days, which were Wednesday to get settled, and then Thursday for the wedding. Friday we would come back. We were pleased to get the air conditioning on in the hotel as the heat was over powering while taking the luggage in. Champagne was waiting and we had taken strawberries. That was just great to sit and contemplate while enjoying the view. After a while we decided to go look at the blacksmiths. This is where the shock of what an attraction it has become sank in. Those old photographs with youngsters on motorbikes sat on the green after getting married vanished when I saw the busloads of tourists. I remember seeing one such photograph with an eloping pair. It may have been from the 1950’s as you could only see a green and the little shop. With it being just over the boarder it was the perfect venue back then. Now, going by the wedding books in the hotel, there are large weddings that take place nowadays. I must admit I got slightly nervous and wasn’t expecting that. It was not until I spoke to another couple that was also on their own that I began to relax. We had a meal in a local pub but the walk back was incredibly hot. It felt like being abroad due to the temperature. We were so glad to get back into the hotel.


Julia getting prepared on the morning of our big day

Looking radiant


We woke on the Thursday to a lovely cooked breakfast and were very excited and nervous all in one. Wine helped us get over some of the nerves. Julia looked radiant and as our wedding came closer we relaxed and the excitement took over. I had not seen her dress until that moment and it was perfect. Julia looks lovely at all times but that dress brought out a crescendo of beauty. It was hard to take in so I had another glass of wine! We walked up to the Blacksmiths in the sun and met with Andrew our guide. He was charming and went to search for two witnesses. It did not take long and they were a brilliant couple, Emma and Rob, who had just turned up! It was perfect for them to see behind the scenes. Most of the building is a museum and the wedding rooms are private while events are taking place. After a while we went into the anvil room while Scottish wedding music played. The registrar, Ian, did a grand job and Julia could not stop laughing through my vows. She was holding my hand very tightly as we continued by taking the rings from the anvil and exchanging them. Morris the photographer was constantly taking pictures and was a top gentleman. I am glad he captured our witnesses, as we could not have asked for such a relaxed couple.


Our fantastic witnesses

After the ceremony it was into the museum for more photographs as Morris gave us some of the history and then it was outside into the heat. There were quite a few tourists but it was roped off and we felt very blissful. After saying bye and thank you to everyone involved we went back to the hotel to cool off. It was such an incredible experience that we were on cloud nine. We made a few calls and then headed out to look around the Gretna shops. It is such a well-developed site now that it even has its own food hall. After sitting in the sun for drinks we went back to the hotel for a meal. As we sat there we knew that it was the right decision. It was so relaxing and the romance seeped through the whole area. Driving home we did not feel too different as 13 years means you know everything about each other but we now had the memory of our adventure. Thank you Gretna for throwing your magic on our relationship. Let it forever shine from that aged hammer and anvil.


​Hubble our cat was being looked after by Jo and Neale. When we got home they brought him back. Jo made us a lovely cake and it was a great surprise. If anyone needs a professional cake making then contact me and I will endeavor to get you in touch with her. Yes it tasted as good as it looked.


Here you can find 44 photographs from our wedding 
Category: Wedding | Views: 1465 | Added by: James | Tags: Scotland, wedding, harrogate, Ring, Gretna Green | Rating: 0.0/0
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