Gordon and Sarah marry at home

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Chancellor Gordon Brown and his new bride Sarah Macaulay today sealed their wedding with a kiss on the lawn of the Chancellor's constituency home after a ceremony inside the house.

Chancellor Gordon Brown and his new bride Sarah Macaulay today sealed their wedding with a kiss on the lawn of the Chancellor's constituency home after a ceremony inside the house.

Dressed in a smart ivory two-piece silk matching knee-length dress and jacket with pink and white flowers in her hair, Miss Macaulay posed with her new husband before dozens of photographers on the lawn at North Queensferry in his Dunfermline East constituency.

The 49-year-old Chancellor, who wore a sober blue suit with red tie and white carnation, smiled and put his arm around his bride after the ceremony presided over by Church of Scotland Minister Sheila Munro.

After keeping one of Westminster's best kept secrets for so long the couple surprised everyone again with the small private ceremony at his home.

Unlike England and Wales, where weddings can only take place at registered venues, couples in Scotland are free to marry where they choose, provided they have the approval of their local church minister.

Aides later declined to give details of the guest list but said the ceremony was a private family affair held in a downstairs room, attended by no members of the Government.

The couple emerged from the secluded detached property at 11.36am - the new Mrs Brown carrying a posy of white and cream roses.

Guests had started arriving from early this morning, including Mr Brown's mother Elizabeth, 82, and brother John, 51, who was the Chancellor's best man.

They were joined by more than 30 well-wishers including his economic adviser Ed Balls, his wife, health minister Yvette Cooper and their baby Meriel, aged 14-months. The couple, who have enjoyed a six-year courtship, finally announced their decision to tie the knot in a brief statement last night.

The news brought camera crews and journalists in force to capture the Chancellor and his PR executive bride's big day.

Guests at the service were restricted to close friends and family.

Prime Minister Tony Blair and wife Cherie, due to start their summer holiday in Tuscany this weekend, were not attending but a spokeswoman said: "The Prime Minister and Mrs Blair are very happy for the Chancellor and Sarah Macaulay."

After the ceremony the couple said in a statement: "We are overjoyed. It has been a wonderful day and a lovely ceremony."

They will leave for a honeymoon at an undisclosed destination this afternoon after a party for friends and family.

The newly-weds were expected to jet off to the upmarket New England resort of Cape Cod, on the United States east coast.

Mr Brown's best man, his brother, John, 51, chatted and joked after the couple had posed and spoke of his joy for the family.

The ceremony had clearly been an intimate affair as there had been no hint of it from the entrance to Mr Brown's driveway.

Curtains at his home remained firmly shut and there was no obvious sign of celebrations.

Minister Miss Munro spoke of her pleasure at conducting the service.

She said: "I am always pleased to conduct weddings. It is a special day and always a privilege to be part of someone's special day.

"I feel I am giving something to them involving God in their special day and hopefully they will involve God in their lives."

Neighbours had also arrived to catch their first view of the couple and shouted congratulations as they made their way into the house after the photo-call.

The huge interest in the wedding had clearly not come as a surprise to neighbours.

"We've been waiting for it for a long time," said one neighbour as she watched the couple posing.

"It's a great day for the village. We're all delighted for them."

After the newly-weds' photo call, minister Miss Munro posed briefly for photographs herself.

"It was lovely. I enjoyed it," said the minister, wearing a blue suit, who said she had known Mr Brown for five years.

The bride's father, who has recently been in hospital, was said to be unable to be present as he could not fly, but her mother, Pauline, was there.

The Chancellor had arrived yesterday.

It was not known when Miss Macaulay had arrived, but an aide said: "She did not stay here".

He said the Chancellor's younger brother, Andrew, gave one of the readings from the Beatitudes and Sarah's brother, Sean, gave another, from the First Letter to the Corinthians.

He said between 20 to 30 guests were present for the 30-minute ceremony.

The bride's dress was designed by Louise Kennedy, a London designer, and the Chancellor's suit by Timothy Everest.

The aide added: "He (the Chancellor) proposed in January, they fixed the date shortly afterwards, they have been working on proposals for a number of weeks."

And he said it had always been intended to have the ceremony at the house. "Local people have been aware of the fact the wedding was taking place.

"Clearly, like Gordon and Sarah, they have regarded it as a private family event and treated it accordingly," he said.

The aide said there would be a party in the constituency in September, and also in London.

"They are leaving for their honeymoon this afternoon. The reception is taking place at the house," he said.

Flowers began arriving at the house shortly before midday with a florist from Kirkcaldy, Fife, where Mr Brown spent some of his childhood, bringing the first bouquet.

She gave no clue as to who had sent the two foot-high tribute made up of lilies and roses.

Addressed simply to the Right Honourable Gordon Brown MP, it was taken by police to be handed to the bride and groom.

Friends described the couple as "made for each other" since both are known to be extremely hard-working and ambitious as well as successful in their chosen fields.

Good wishes came from all sides of the House of Commons, including Mr Brown's counterpart Shadow Chancellor, Michael Portillo and the Liberal Democrat leader, Charles Kennedy.

Mr Portillo said: "I would like to offer my congratulations to them both and wish them all the best for the future."

Mr Kennedy also expressed delight at the announcement, saying: "I wish them both a happy day and a wonderful life together."

Scottish First Minister Donald Dewar said: "I am delighted for Sarah and Gordon and wish them every happiness in their future life together."

The Chancellor's former adviser Charlie Whelan told GMTV earlier today: "I have always seen them as a very loving couple."

Labour peer Lord Murray Elder, who was a guest, paid tribute before the ceremony to the couple's friends and family for keeping the union secret.

The peer, a family friend who was at school with Mr Brown since the age of six, said the two wanted a private wedding.

"I think he and Sarah wanted it to be private and that's very much their privilege. They wanted both their families there and that required a degree of organisation to get everyone together.

"I think it's something of a tribute to Gordon and Sarah's friends and family that it was not leaked to the press," the peer told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

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