When we took a family trip to Britain, one of the places I insisted upon visiting was Gretna Green. I wanted to see the famous marriage anvil, to step inside the old blacksmith’s shop I’d read about so many times in historical novels.
I thought it would just be a quick stop.
I soon discovered Gretna Green had become a bit of a marriage Mecca. Rather than arriving unannounced and tying the knot with ridiculous ease, brides were now planning months in advance to wed the man of their dreams, with the blacksmith’s shop one of the most popular locations of them all.
And our itinerary had us arriving in Gretna Green on a Saturday.
My heart sunk. There was no chance of slipping in, not even for five minutes.
But my own hero found a way around the problem. Vow renewals. For a fee, we could step inside for a small thirty minute ceremony. My husband booked the one remaining time slot – nearly a year in advance. We would be renewing our vows in the Original Marriage Room, in the building that had stood since 1712.
We arrived to find not one, but three different bridal parties and their guests. All dressed in their finest. And we were in jeans and fleece. Our only ‘guests’ were our boys, ages seven and eleven at the time, the eldest doubling as our photographer. The only preparations we’d made were to select new rings.
Though the ceremony was brief, and I’m hard-pressed to remember the words, it was beautiful – and delivered with a lovely Scottish brogue. The rings were blessed and vows were exchanged as the boys did their best not to roll their eyes.
Though my only goal was to soak in the atmosphere, to wander about the blacksmith shop, I have to admit it was a touching moment. And should you meet me in person, the claddagh ring I wear is the one blessed over this very anvil.
Though USA TODAY bestselling author Anne Renwick holds a Ph.D. in biology and greatly enjoyed tormenting the overburdened undergraduates who were her students, fiction has always been her first love. Today, she writes steampunk romance, placing a new kind of biotech in the hands of mad scientists, proper young ladies and determined villains.
Anne brings an unusual perspective to steampunk. A number of years spent locked inside the bowels of a biological research facility left her permanently altered. In her steampunk world, the Victorian fascination with all things anatomical led to a number of alarming biotechnological advances. Ones that the enemies of Britain would dearly love to possess.
To chat with Anne, stop by on Facebook or join the Department of Cryptobiology Facebook group. You can also join her newsletter list to have cover reveals, sneak peaks, sales and giveaways delivered straight to your inbox.