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
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: Project Assistant

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...

Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...

Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

Day In a Page

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

RuPaul interview

The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head
Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

Secrets of comedy couples

What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

The best swimwear for men

From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer
Mark Hix recipes: Our chef tries his hand at a spot of summer foraging

Mark Hix goes summer foraging

 A dinner party doesn't have to mean a trip to the supermarket
Ashes 2015: With an audacious flourish, home hero Ian Bell ends all debate

With an audacious flourish, the home hero ends all debate

Ian Bell advances to Trent Bridge next week almost as undroppable as Alastair Cook and Joe Root, a cornerstone of England's new thinking, says Kevin Garside
Aaron Ramsey interview: Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season

Aaron Ramsey interview

Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season
Community Shield: Arsene Wenger needs to strike first blow in rivalry with Jose Mourinho

Community Shield gives Wenger chance to strike first blow in rivalry with Mourinho

As long as the Arsenal manager's run of games without a win over his Chelsea counterpart continues it will continue to dominate the narrative around the two men
The unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth - and what it says about English life

Unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth’s elevation to football’s top tier is one of the most improbable of recent times. But it’s illustrative of deeper and wider changes in English life
A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms