Same-sex marriage: Today is a big day for Tania and Nic – and a big day for Britain

We always knew our fathers would walk us down the aisle, by first female couple to marry in Brighton

Tania Ward and Nic Pettit always knew their fathers wanted to walk them down the aisle when they got married. So when they become the first female couple to wed in Brighton on Saturday, both their dads will be right beside them.

Afterwards, they will be joined by 50 friends and family at Brighton Town Hall before heading to what is believed to be Britain’s first same-sex Jewish wedding reception.

The couple, who have been together for six-and-a-half years, say they are “absolutely delighted” to be marrying on the first day that same-sex couples can tie the knot.

“This weekend is an important moment for our country,” David Cameron told the LGBT news website PinkNews. “Put simply, in Britain it will no longer matter whether you are straight or gay – the state will recognise your relationship as equal.”

Pettit and Ward, who met when a friend set them up on a blind-date, have been planning their big day for months. Pettit will wear a dress (she won’t reveal details, to preserve the surprise) while Ward will wear black trousers, a shirt and a cravat. They will have spent the last 24 hours before the ceremony apart. In married life, they will be known as Tania and Nic Pettit-Ward.

Neither wanted to get a civil partnership. Ward, a 28-year-old bakery chef, and Pettit, a 29-year-old nursery manager, felt it “emphasised being different”. Both are from traditional families and wanted to say their vows to the person they love in a wedding ceremony.

“The being different bit causes the problems and misunderstanding,” said Pettit. “It shouldn’t be seen as difference. With this coming in now, eventually we’ll be able to look back on this day and think, ‘What was that all about?’ It’s just a day. Hopefully it will become the norm, exactly as it always should have been.”

Pettit, who is Jewish, always wanted to have a religious ceremony, and is thrilled that a female rabbi from the South London Liberal Synagogue will perform blessings at the reception. As is traditional at Jewish weddings, they will break a glass, light the Havdalah candle and conclude the ceremony with a Kiddush blessing.

This is important for Ward too, even though she is not religious. “Nic’s family have welcomed me and our relationship with open arms. This is about showing I appreciate their faith and thanking them for their warmth and kindness.”

Their rabbi, Janet Darley says she is “privileged” to conduct the blessing. “It says something about how society regards them, placing their love and commitment on par with the love and commitment of a mixed-sex couple. Before it didn’t; it was a second-best thing,” she said.

The couple want their day to be traditional, but have also punctuated the day with personal touches. Both fathers will give a speech, but the best-man speech will be given by a male maid of honour. “He’s my best friend,” said Ward. “We’ve known each other since secondary school and he has always said: ‘When you get married, I want to be your maid of honour’.”

Other things, such as the proposal, did not follow tradition. “I had big plans. We were taking a road trip to the States and I had every intention of doing it on the edge of the Grand Canyon,” said Ward. “But this didn’t go so well. We were in our local pub [before the trip] and I’d had quite a lot to drink and found a bit of confidence.”

The couple hope to have children and are looking forward to sharing their lives. “We’ve been together for a fair few years, so I don’t think it will change our relationship at all,” said Pettit. “It will affirm it.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Recruitment Genius: Production Operative

£13000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to a period of sustained an...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there