South Scotland

Gretna maintains wedding capital crown

Couple at Gretna Image copyright Getty Images

The Gretna area remains unchallenged as Scotland's wedding capital, according to the latest figures.

It consistently sees a 12% share of all ceremonies in the country - more than even the Edinburgh or Glasgow local authority areas.

Last year alone there were more than 4,000 weddings in Dumfries and Galloway - about 80% of them in Gretna.

Gretna owes its popularity to its position just north of the Scotland-England border.

Image copyright Getty Images

The town became a destination for young lovers after the Marriage Act was passed in 1754 in England, which outlawed marriages without parental consent if either party was under 21.

A tradition developed of couples travelling over the border to Scotland, which had more lenient laws.

The latest report to Dumfries and Galloway Council on the trends and income from marriages said Gretna remained a venue chosen by thousands of couples every year.

Image copyright Getty Images

The report said it helped to fuel an economic impact from tourism in the area estimated at nearly £37m.

However, it said the volume of weddings tended to decrease in times of "economic uncertainty".

There was a decrease both nationally and locally in 2009 which was blamed on the impact of the recession and fears of a double-dip recession may also have had an impact in 2013.

Marriage totals
Year Gretna Dumfries and Galloway Scotland
2013 3,620 4,461 27,547
2014 3,499 4,385 29,069
2015 3,511 4,395 29,691
2016 3,671 4,575 29,229
2017 3,461 4,291 28,440
2018 3,182 4,007 n/a

Nonetheless, Dumfries and Galloway has consistently enjoyed a market share of 15-16% - meaning it hosts nearly one in six of all marriages in Scotland.

Gretna alone sees 12% of ceremonies with couples paying fees of between £125 and £476.

The council report said customer satisfaction with their wedding experience in the region was high.

A recent survey found 97% of those asked were "very satisfied" with the service.

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