Page last updated at 23:05 GMT, Thursday, 7 August 2008 00:05 UK

Eight's great for a wedding date

Wedding ring
A total of 69 couples have arranged to get married in Gretna

Dozens of couples have been heading to Gretna to get married on the eighth day of the eighth month of 2008.

A total of 69 weddings were expected to take place in the south of Scotland town on the special date.

The number eight is considered lucky by many people, particularly in China because it sounds like the Mandarin and Cantonese word for prosperity.

However, although many nationalities were getting married in Gretna on the day, none of them was Chinese.

The Dumfries and Galloway town is the site of thousands of weddings each year.

Special dates regularly produce a surge in the number of ceremonies.

Last year there were 78 weddings on 7 July.

Exotic locations

This year, 8 August has proved to be the busiest day with demand from right around the world.

Senior Registrar Jane Chandler said: "We have 69 weddings taking place in and around the Gretna district.

"They are from all over the UK as well as abroad with exotic locations such as Australia, South Africa, even Mauritius.

"We have two couples from Germany, we have Belgians and Spaniards - all nationalities."

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.

Town retains huge wedding appeal
27 Jul 07 |  South of Scotland
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30 Jul 04 |  Scotland
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19 Aug 03 |  Asia-Pacific

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