A Maids Moreton couple enjoyed a Valentine’s Day wedding in Gretna Green today, Friday, after overcoming cancelled trains, storms and a broken elbow in order to tie the knot on time!
Chris Watts, aged 48, and Jo King, aged 50, booked their romantic getaway a year ago, planning to travel up to Scotland by train on Thursday with their best man and maid of honour, Steve and Jane Carr.
But their best-laid plans were thrown into chaos on Wednesday night when extreme weather conditions led to train services being cancelled across the country.
Added to that, the bride had her arm in a sling, having broken her elbow two days earlier after slipping on ice.
Mr Watts said: “It has been a bad week, with Jo breaking her arm.
“Then on Wednesday night all the Virgin trains were cancelled. They took the whole network down north of Preston and were emptying everyone off at Milton Keynes.
“We didn’t know on Wednesday night what we would have been doing. The last thing we wanted to do was drive up to Gretna Green from Buckingham.”
Time was tight as the couple had to be interviewed at Gretna Register Office before they could be married. “That was a massive worry,” said Chris. “If we couldn’t get up on Thursday, we couldn’t get married on Friday.
“On Wednesday night, Jo said: ‘We’re going to have to call it off.” Happily, when the wedding party got to Milton Keynes Station yesterday morning, not only were trains finally running but a kind-hearted staff member also got them upgraded.
Chris said: “We were waiting on the platform and the lady with the lollipop noticed all our cases and saw Jo had got a sling on.
“She said: ‘Wait there,’ and before you know it we were in first class.”
IT consultant Chris said he really appreciated the kindness to Jo, who is a community practice teacher.
He said: “Jo is always doing stuff for other people so it’s nice when somebody turns round and does something for her.
“It’s nice to put a smile on her face.”
On arrival at Carlisle Station, where they were due to change trains, they found the next train to Gretna Green was not for 90 minutes.
Chris said: “It was only supposed to be a 12-minute wait for the next train but, of course, no end had been cancelled.”
However, Virgin Trains volunteered to pay for a cab for them. Then, on checking into their hotel room, they found a bottle of champagne on ice, and a note saying ‘Glad you made it’.
“It’s unreal, really,” said Chris. “I’ve never had petals on my pillow before, and chocolates. But I could get used to it!
“They even left me some cuff links with ‘Groom’ on by my bed.
“After what we went through, it restores your faith in human nature. It looks like it’s all come good.
“I think it’s called a warm and fuzzy feeling.”
Chris attracted media attention by Tweeting during the whole journey on his Twitter feed, @spearcoach. The couple enjoyed their wedding with the groom wearing a kilt.
On their return, Chris and Jo are having a party for 130 guests at Buckingham Town Hall tomorrow, Saturday.