“I was wondering if you would be able to cover a Gretna Green wedding, I am having a double wedding with my sister“
I’ll be honest, at the time Dani first got in touch and told me about the double wedding I didn’t really give the ‘double’ aspect too much thought.
After-all I was mostly just excited about a trip up to Scotland.
It was only when I started processing the differences that I really started to wonder how it would work.
If you’re getting married in Gretna Green, or anywhere else for that matter, and are looking for a photographer have a look at my How Much page to find out about my services.
Dani’s sister Lisa had already arranged her own photographer, meaning I didn’t have to worry about trying to capture two simultaneous cake cuttings.
Still, the logistics had me a little concerned.
A Gretna Green Wedding
I am a little ashamed to admit that I had never heard of Gretna Green as a wedding destination.
For those who share my ignorance, The Marriage Act 1753 meant parents of children under 21 could put a stop to those children getting married if they didn’t approve. This act did not apply in Scotland, so if you were based in England and wanted to marry without your parents’ permission you had to cross the border.
What’s the first place you come to as you cross the border into Scotland?
Greens at Gretna
So now that we are all up to speed on the story behind Gretna Green weddings we can get started with the story of the double wedding.
When I arrived at Greens at Gretna on the Sunday morning I happened upon Spoogy, aka Daniel, Dani’s husband to be.
Daniel showed me to the room where both brides were getting ready.
It was a calm room. Makeup was being applied, hair was being curled, all was well.
To be honest it carried on being cool and calm until the time came to get Dani into her dress.
By this point Lisa had disappeared into her own room so we just had one bride and one dress to deal with. Still, these things are rarely simple.
Nevertheless the party managed to get Dani into her dress just in time to be 20 minutes late.
Turns out that wasn’t much of a problem because Lisa and her team of bridesmaids were equally behind schedule.
So, into the cars they went, off to the next destination.
Gretna Green being a popular wedding destination there is no shortage of dedicated nondenominational wedding venues to choose from.
Having only experienced one of them so far, I can still heartily vouch for Anvil Hall as a really nice place to get married in Gretna Green.
It has the church atmosphere without actually being a church.
It is surprisingly well lit considering how dark it seems to be.
My favourite part about Anvil Hall, when I arrived and had my usual chat with the officiant, all he said to me was:
“Rules are, there are no rules.”
Now, I’m not going to start prancing about making a spectacle of myself whilst taking photos of someone’s wedding ceremony. Still it is nice to be given the freedom to get the photos I wanted and not be told to stand in a certain place like other venues are prone to do.
The Double Wedding
For those contemplating a double wedding, this is how you do it.
Dani and Lisa seemed to really enjoy being both bride and sister of the bride.
Both grooms stood either side of the Anvil (something else I wasn’t expecting but really should have known about).
The brides took their turns walking down the aisle with their bridal parties, filtering off to the left and right respectively.
Each couple was given time to breathe whilst the other was reciting vows and taking making their promises. To their credit, Anvil Hall and the officiant handled the extra couple as if it were the way weddings always happen, which impressed me.
After the service we gathered all the guests together inside the hall whilst I clambered my way up to the rear balcony to get a group photo.
After that it was back into the cars and back to Greens at Gretna.
Back to Greens
Back at Greens and most of the extra logistics involved in a double wedding were pretty much taken care of.
Yes there were two cakes to cut, two sets of speeches and two first dances. None of this is a bad thing.
Everything went really well. Both couples seemed to have a great time and I very much enjoyed my first Gretna Green wedding experience.
The first of many, I hope.
About JLM Wedding Photography
I'm a wedding photographer based in Sheffield and I pride myself on taking beautiful, natural photos of things that really happen. If you're looking for someone to photograph your wedding, why not have a look at the services I offer.
Don't worry, you won't lose your place in this article if you click, it will open in a new tab.