Ex-Piper reporter eloped on Friday 13 to bring good fortune

Shoeless couple: Friday 13 was supposed to be fortuitous for them
Shoeless couple: Friday 13 was supposed to be fortuitous for them

Few brides plan to trawl charity shops for comfy shoes straight after their wedding, and much less while still wearing their wedding dress.

Former Piper reporter Andrew Douglas and his new wife Maggie Bayliss planned to elope - a small ceremony at the registry office in Banchory with two witnesses, then drive up to Ballater for a night at the Deeside Inn, before driving up to Skye for their honeymoon.

And Andrew’s chosen date of Friday 13 was supposed to be lucky, too. “The most successful marriage I know of happened one Friday 13,” he explained. “My mum and dad got married on Friday, October 13, 1978.”

But the plan started to unravel late on Thursday night. Racked with guilt that he was robbing Maggie’s father of attending his only child’s wedding, he made the classy move, calling to ask Mr Bayliss for permission to marry his daughter, and as soon as it was granted, Andrew told the shocked farmer: “Right, well we’re doing it tomorrow, do you think you can make it?”

Mr Bayliss was honoured to attend, and commended Andrew’s tactics in sneaking his only daughter into wedlock. “He’s given me no time to change my mind,” he said. “No time at all.”

But the ink wasn’t dry on the wedding certificate before Maggie realised she hadn’t packed any shoes for the honeymoon. And when she told Andrew, he realised that despite their car more resembling that of a family of four moving house than a couple of young honeymooners, he had no footwear but the ghillie shoes he’d said his vows in.

The conspicuously dressed newly weds hit every charity shop in Banchory before finding themselves comfortable shoes. On whether she felt self-conscious about her outfit, Maggie said: “Of course I do, I’m shopping in my wedding dress. But equally I just got married, so I don’t really care.”

The happy couple then made the trip up to Ballater, where they rang up close friends and family to break the good news. “The only call we were really worried about were my parents,” said Andrew. “There was the longest silence when I told my mum, but they were both really happy for us and understood why we did it this way.”

Their tyre popped owing to alignment issues 20 miles from Lochcarron in the pouring rain.

Andrew described it as a trying first day of marriage, but the rest of the honeymoon is reported to have gone ahead without incident.