Page last updated at 23:40 GMT, Tuesday, 8 September 2009 00:40 UK

9/9/9 sparks wedding 'emergency'

Wedding ring
A total of 47 weddings were planned in Gretna on the memorable date

A rush of weddings has taken place in Gretna as couples looked to secure the "emergency" date of 9 September 2009.

A total of 47 marriage ceremonies were scheduled to take place in the south of Scotland town throughout the day.

Gretna enjoyed a similar wedding boom on both 8 August last year and 7 July, 2007, as people looked to ensure a memorable anniversary date.

The date had been predicted to prove particularly popular with emergency service workers around the UK.

There were 69 weddings in the area on 8 August, 2008, and 78 on 7 July, 2007.

Romantic destination

Senior Registrar Jane Chandler said this year's "emergency" date had also proved popular.

"It is well up on what it would normally be midweek on a Wednesday even in the summertime," she said.

However, she said she was not aware of particular interest from ambulance, police or fire service staff.

"As far as the emergency services are concerned, we have one paramedic," she added.

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.

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