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Shaking up the wedding sector with Elvis vows

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By Amanda Kennedy
Annan and Eskdale
Shaking up the wedding sector with Elvis vows

A ROCK ‘n’ roll fan is hoping to shake up the wedding industry in Gretna by offering Elvis themed weddings.

Jackie Hampson, who owns The Chapel and Anvil Hall in the town, has been a big fan of ‘the King’ since she was a youngster and thinks it is the perfect way to add another element to the marriages already on offer.
She said: “When people come to Gretna they think you only get married in one place so we want to try and bring a bit of variety to the town.
“I’ve been to Vegas and have seen the weddings there, but they are quite tacky, so I thought I could marry the two together as an Elvis fan and a wedding organiser to do Vegas-style weddings.
“We know there are big followers who are passionate about Elvis so why should they go to Vegas when we are the wedding capital? We’re ready to go; we just need our first couple.”
And Jackie and her twin sister Pamela Blakeman, who is also a huge fan, are looking to continue the theme even further by hosting their first Elvis in the Chapel festival this month.
Leading tribute acts Dean Mack, Mike Nova and Juan Lozana will perform in the border town on May 16 and 17 – offering another date for fans who already attend similar events in Porthcawl, Blackpool, Birmingham and London each year.
The festival weekend will kick off withacharity social night in Gretna Social Club on the Saturday, where all three tribute acts will perform and there will also bearaffle to win an Elvis wedding at The Chapel or Anvil Hall.
And on the Sunday there will a gospel afternoon in Anvil Hall, which will feature a mock wedding, Elvis through the ages and a bridal Priscilla.
Jackie added: “The weddings have dropped a bit at the moment so we need to look at different ways of attracting visitors and this has great potential.
“We’d love to make it an annual event and it could fill the hotels and B&Bs so they would not just have to rely on weddings.
“The festival in Porthcawl has developed over the years – it started very small but that weekend now sustains Porthcawl for the rest of the year.”

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