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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Commercial Manager / New Product Manager

£33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company mission is to be th...

Recruitment Genius: Software Tester

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Software Tester is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Developer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: The Company sells mobile video advertising sol...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have a vacancy within our ra...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project