Words Of Wedding Wisdom: ELOPEMENT WEDDINGS

Welcome to this series of articles based on my popular book, “The A to Z of Wedding Wisdom” … a few juicy extracts that you might like, to give you a taster of what the book can do to help make your wedding (or a friend or relative’s wedding) superbly successful.

This time, we look at…


Although here in the UK we no longer see many cases of passionate teenage couples racing to Gretna Green hotly pursued by their furious families, there are reasons why you might want to elope.

Family disapproval can still be an issue and often the thought of dealing with antagonistic parents and other family members can make you decide to disappear and tie the knot – then tell them afterwards, stand back and watch the explosions, knowing there’s nothing they can do about it. Whatever the disapproval is about – personalities, social backgrounds, religions, cultures, ethnic backgrounds, etc – elopement sometimes seems to be the only way forward, if discussion and communication fail.

It’s not just antagonism that can cause a desire to elope, either. It can also be the thought of having your families climb all over the wedding plans, guest lists and reception arrangements, running the whole event without giving you the chance to do more than choose your dress and get your hair done, and claiming ownership of the whole thing so you feel you’re merely a second-division participant.

My parents eloped for exactly that reason. Although I wasn’t there at the time I know from their recollections how it feels to do it, and how it feels to have to clean up the hurt and hostility afterwards. Whatever the reasons for eloping, you know you will see some fireworks on your return and genuinely will have upset a number of people you care about – even if they have opposed your marriage. That’s the price you pay. However once some time has passed and you have, perhaps, held one or two post-wedding celebrations, in many cases things get better – especially when the first grandchild comes along.

The regulations, England and Wales

Both parties must be over 16. If under 18 you must have written permission to marry from an appropriate parent or guardian. Obviously you must not be closely related; you must be acting of your own free will, and be able to understand the full implications of the ceremony.

The regulations, Scotland

As above but in Scotland you do not need to have written permission if one or both of you is under 18. This is why Scotland has always been the favored place for teen elopements. Another reason why it’s popular for all elopements is that it’s the only country in the UK where you do not need to be “resident” in the district for a given time prior to getting married there.

For the full range of up-to-date information on the regulations about marriage in the UK, go to www.Google.co.uk or other UK search engine and key in marriage+legalities, or look up “Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages” in your local telephone directory.

Regulations in other countries

If you’re outside the UK, Google “elopement” and check out the circumstances and legal issues in your country.

In the USA, there is some useful information about elopement here.

If you’re in Canada, there’s an interesting discussion about elopement here.

In Australia, take a look at this.

Good luck!

For all 174 pages of helpful tips and advice, grab your copy of “The A to Z of Wedding Wisdom” from Amazon (USA), Amazon (Canada), Amazon (UK) and all other Amazons.