Ten years ago today, my beloved and I ran off to Gretna Green, Scotland, and eloped.
It wasn’t our first plan, not by far. We’d gotten handfasted in California as an engagement ceremony before we moved to Wales, and intended to move back in a year and plan a big SCA wedding. But the British government had other plans. Apparently my plan to stimulate their economy by being supported by my husband and spending lots of money on tourist travel and antiques and whatnot was only feasible to them if we had this particular piece of paper.
(They lied, by the way. We didn’t have to be married for me to get that damned visa. They lied and took away my lavish ceremony. Two husbands, three ceremonies [four if you count the handfasting], and I still haven’t had what I’d consider the perfect ceremony. I’ve come to terms with that. Goodness knows two of the ceremonies are such great stories, nobody would believe them if I wrote it in a book. Large ceramic ALFs. A drunken Scotsman trying to beat down his new bride's door. That's just the tip of the iceberg.)
But I digress. The point is, if we had to get married, in Britain, this was the place to do it.
Our attendants were Elizabeth and Chris Flagge, SCAdians we’d met only twice before. When they heard at our second meeting that we were running off to elope, they asked who our witness were, and we said, “Erm, we were just going to grab someone out of the chip shop across the street…” They brought something old, etc., as well as a bouquet for me, which was so unexpected and sweet (I still have the pence for my shoe). They also brought Elizabeth’s (I think) mother, who took pictures and was just lovely. (Sadly, we’ve lost touch—if you’re reading this, guys, send me an address or phone number!)
We were married in the Registry Office in the room for 20 people (remember, there were only 5 of us, and 4 of us were standing up) because the room for 8 was already booked. Our Registrar, Donna, had a delightful Scottish accent.
Afterwards, we had our picture taken over the historic anvil, took our entourage out to lunch, then hopped on the bike and spent the weekend in the southwest of Scotland.
It’s strange…we don’t usually celebrate this anniversary, because it’s just not the important one for us. The day we moved in together (February 25, 1996) was really the day we made our commitment to each other. Our handfasting (March 14, 1998) comes a close second. This one, not so much.
Today is our 10th, though, and we have to celebrate it apart, and that’s making me feel maudlin and droopy.
So I’m looking at pictures of that day (except I can’t find the one of us and the anvil), and quietly celebrating that even if we can’t be together, we are together. 983 miles means nothing to the heart.
So tell me something about the person (or persons) of your heart. About your ceremony (any kind) or your favorite memory. Help me celebrate this day….