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
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Assistant

£25,000 - £30,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you looking for a fantastic opportunity...

Neil Pavier: Commercial Analyst

£50,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you a professionally qualified commercial ...

Loren Hughes: Financial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Loren Hughes: Are you looking for a new opportunity that wi...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer - Professional Services Firm - Oxford

£21000 - £24000 per annum + 21 days holidays: Ashdown Group: Technical Support...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor