7 January 2014

Wedding history to be made in Brighton’s Royal Pavilion

The law to allow same-sex marriage ceremonies comes into effect on Saturday 29 March 2014.

To celebrate this historic event Brighton & Hove City Council’s Register Office, in partnership with the Royal Pavilion, can announce applications are being accepted from same-sex couples wishing to be the first couple to be wed in the city.

The selected couple will be wed, free of charge, in the magnificent setting of the Royal Pavilion’s Music Room at what will be both Brighton & Hove’s first same-sex marriage and first late night wedding.

At one minute past midnight on the day same-sex marriage ceremonies become legal, the city’s registrars will conduct the first wedding in the Music Room of the Royal Pavilion. This will be the first marriage to take place in the beautiful Music Room which has only recently been licensed for evening weddings.

Councillor Leo Littman, lead councillor for City Services, said: “We warmly welcome the change in the law allowing people of the same sex to marry one another.

“Brighton and Hove is a very popular place for both weddings and civil partnerships. We are now seeing a high level of interest from same-sex couples wanting to get married here. You can feel the excitement build towards the city’s first same-sex wedding in March.

“Holding the first ceremony in our grand, historic Royal Pavilion gives the city the chance to show itself for what it is; egalitarian, forward looking and also with a real respect for our history. It’s a venue close to my heart as I was married at the Royal Pavilion in 2007.

“We hope and expect that in the years ahead many more happy couples will choose to hold their weddings in our city.”

This opportunity is open to any same-sex couple planning to be married in Brighton & Hove. Both parties must be legally able to be married on 29 March 2014. The couple must also be willing for the media to be present at their ceremony and to appear in publicity about this historic moment. (Couples in existing civil partnerships cannot apply as the legislation to convert a civil partnership to a marriage has not yet been announced.)

Senior Ceremonies Registrar, Trevor Love, is part of the team organising the celebrations for the day. Trevor said: “We’ve been taking enquiries for over a year from couples wanting to know when we will be able to offer same-sex weddings. Even before the government announced the official date, we were inundated with people wanting to be married as soon as the law allowed and asking to go on a waiting list. We hope to share this sense of excitement. The ceremony we have planned is going to be a wonderful celebration for the happy couple and the city.”

The selected couple will be able to invite 80 guests to join them for their wedding in the Royal Pavilion Music Room. There will be no charge for the registration services or room hire for the ceremony. All other costs associated with the wedding must be met by the couple (e.g. accommodation, transport, catering, reception or other room hire, etc).

Couples are invited to write or email Brighton & Hove City Council Register Office explaining why the Royal Pavilion is special for them and what it would mean to be married there on 29 March 2014. The closing date for applications to be received is Friday 31 January 2014. The lucky couple will be announced on Friday 14 February.

The Register Office is already taking bookings for Saturday 29. Many same-sex couples are choosing to be wed on the very first day the law allows.

More information:

To apply for the special Royal Pavilion ceremony, couples can e-mail: register.office@brighton-hove.gov.uk
In the “subject box” please mark your e-mail First Wedding 29 March

If you do not have access to e-mail please write to:

First Wedding 29 March
Linda Holm Superintendent Registrar
Brighton & Hove Register Office
Town Hall

The closing date for entries is Friday 31 January 2014. The lucky couple will be notified by Friday 14 February.

Additional information for applicants:

  • The ceremony will only be available for the selected couple
  • The time and venue is not transferable
  • There is no charge for notice of marriage, registrars’ attendance and one marriage certificate
  • There is no charge for hire of the Royal Pavilion Music Room for the duration of the ceremony
  • The use of the Music Room or any other room in the Royal Pavilion outside of the duration of the ceremony is chargeable
  • The couple must adhere to the standard terms & conditions of hire for the Royal Pavilion which will be provided nearer the time
  • All other wedding costs must be met by the couple
  • All guests must have arrived and be in the Music Room by 11.30pm on Friday 28 March
  • A maximum of 80 guests will be permitted
  • A number of officials and civic dignitaries may also be in attendance (the couple will be informed of who is attending in advance)
  • The couple must agree to be named publicly and have their photos published in order to share news of this historic event. Advance publicity will also be required.
  • The press will be present at the ceremony
  • The press and the council will take photos and film at the ceremony.
  • Photos and filming will be used by the council for future publicity after the ceremony.
  • All media queries will be handled by Brighton & Hove City Council press office
  • Brighton & Hove Register Office and the Royal Pavilion are not liable to any costs if the ceremony can not go ahead due to circumstances beyond their control