April 20, 2003 - Elkin Tribune: El Salvador Peace Corps Volunteers elope in ‘traditional’ style

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By Admin1 (admin) on Sunday, April 20, 2003 - 10:51 am: Edit Post

El Salvador Peace Corps Volunteers elope in ‘traditional’ style

El Salvador Peace Corps Volunteers elope in ‘traditional’ style

Local woman elopes in ‘traditional’ style

By Ben Silvester

Staff Reporter

Sealing the love for her new husband in a manner consistent with her globetrotting lifestyle, an Elkin woman was recently married at Scotland’s internationally renowned marriage site for eloping couples, Gretna Green.

Following an old English tradition, Julie Faulk and Jim McLaughlin, both 27, eloped with the blessings of their parents, Jan. 18, to the small Scottish town of Gretna Green.

For hundreds of years, young couples, some too young to marry without parental consent, couples who did not want to deal with the pomp and circumstance of a traditional wedding and even those who did not want their union to be known to others have eloped to Gretna Green.

The marriages were first conducted by the town’s blacksmith, but now can be conducted by a justice of the peace.

After hearing of the famed marriage spot while in school in England, Julie Faulk and Jim McLaughlin decided it would be a romantic and economical way for two students to tie the knot.

Following the ceremony, the two returned to Manchester’s School of Business where Jim McLaughlin was taking classes and attended a ball which substituted for their wedding reception.

"Because we are students we can’t afford a lot, but this way it has been special," said Jim McLaughlin, according to a news release from his school.

Born in Germany – due to her father’s military posting – to Elkin native, Helen and Woody Faulk, but raised and schooled in Elkin, Julie McLaughlin graduated from Elkin High School in 1993, and from Davidson College in 1997 with a bachelor’s of science degree in economic studies. Helen Faulk is the daughter of former Elkin town attorney of 50 years, Lewis Alexander.

She then joined the Peace Corps in 1998 where she worked on small business development at the grassroots level in El Salvador, Central America, for about two years.

Shortly before her departure to work with Latino Economic Development, a non-profit economic development agency in Washington D.C., Julie McLaughlin’s future husband arrived in El Salvador with the Peace Corps, but they would not meet for about another two years.

After 18 months of developing a neighborhood near Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C., the Peace Corps contacted Julie McLaughlin and asked she return to El Salvador to help deal with earthquake relief.

Living in San Salvador and accessing money to go to the local communities for the relief effort which could have otherwise ended up in the hands of the country’s elite, Julie met Jim McLaughlin who was then living in Tacuba, El Salvador, and teaching new trades to workers on a then-dying coffee plantation.

"The only way she knew him was as ‘Tacuba Jim,’" Helen Faulk remarked Thursday. "She didn’t even know his last name."

According to Helen Faulk, the two had a short courtship where they traveled across South America for two to three weeks with other Peace Corps members.

By March 2002, Julie McLaughlin was home in Elkin, followed by Jim McLaughlin in June.

Julie McLaughlin then went to become better acquainted with Jim McLaughlin’s family in Washington for a few weeks.

Following that, the two made their way back to the East Coast and toured the seaboard until the fateful decision was made.

"We were in a bar in Washington, D.C., when I asked Jim how many days it was going to be before we got married," Julie McLaughlin said. "He didn’t hesitate for a second. He just said ‘164,’ so that meant it would be January 18. I knew we would be in Manchester so we spoke to our parents and they were happy. Then when we came here (Manchester) we heard about Gretna Green and thought it was a romantic idea."

Helen Faulk said each wrote letters to the other’s parents, asking for their blessings.

"It wasn’t the most romantic proposal, but that’s the way it happened," said Helen Faulk.

The couple resides in Manchester. Julie McLaughlin is pursuing a master’s degree in international conflict resolution at Bradford University in Yorkshire and Jim McLaughlin is earning an international master’s degree with a concentration in economic development.

The two have plans to be blessed in America when they complete their course studies.

"My closest friends were all in the states, but everyone here has been so good about making it feel special," Julie McLaughlin. "We went on stag and hen nights last week and some of Jim’s friends got us a cake. It has been lovely and so relaxed."

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Story Source: Elkin Tribune

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - El Salvador; Married Couples



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