Dignitaries and drag queens are all busy selecting outfits and big hats as Brighton gears up to celebrate the first anniversary of civil partnerships on December 21st at one of the most flamboyant weddings the city has seen.
The Mayor of Brighton and Hove, senior Councillors and faces from the world of gay business will join Brighton couple Jamie Hakim and Graeme Youngs as they tie the knot in style at Brighton Town Hall. Rumour has it the ceremony will feature a drag queen bridesmaid, a gay men’s choir and even a boxer dog – Humphrey – getting in on the act.
The pair will become the 680th couple to celebrate a civil partnership in the city, completing a busy and memorable year for the council’s register office team.
Jamie, 36, who is co-owner of gay magazine 3SIXTY, and his partner Graeme, 41, who runs gardening business Gorgeous Gardens, will be greeted by City Mayor David Smith after arriving at the Town Hall in a ‘stretch Mini Cooper.’ They will then attend a special reception in the Mayor’s Parlour before the ceremony at 4pm.
Attended by best-girl Sue Bamford, who is flying in from New Zealand, and best-man Tim Thrower, the pair will also be joined by bridesmaid, friend and drag queen Joan Bond – famous for leading the Brighton pride parade over the past three years. The couple’s pet white boxer dog Humphrey will be joining the wedding party, dressed especially for the occasion.
Among the guests will also be Gino Meriano and Mike Ullett who were one of the first three couples to participate in a civil partnership ceremony in Brighton Hove and will be celebrating their first anniversary.
After a ceremony conducted by friend and city registrar Trevor Love, the pair will be serenaded by Brighton Hove (actually) Gay Mens’ Chorus as they leave the Town Hall. Guests will board a specially decorated 1953 London Routemaster bus to be transported to a reception at Brighton’s Metropole Hotel attended by over 100 of the couple’s family and friends.
“It’s going to be a fantastic day, and it really means a lot to have our relationship of 12 years formally recognised in a council building,” said Jamie. “I have obviously followed the progress of the civil partnership legislation through my magazine, and to be taking part personally is such an honour.
“It’s great that Brighton Hove is leading the way in civil partnerships and we are so proud to call this city our home.”
Brighton Hove made history on 21st December last year by hosting three civil partnership registrations simultaneously, which were among the first in the country.
Council Leader Simon Burgess said: “We are immensely proud and privileged to have carried out 680 ceremonies in our first year and that we continue to lead the way with the highest number of services in the country.
“This is a huge achievement and we are thrilled that so many couples are choosing Brighton Hove as the place they want to tie the knot.
“We feel honoured to be able to play a part in a couple’s special day, many who have waited a lifetime for legal recognition of their relationship.”
We wish the happy couple all the best!
Humphrey will be looking forward to doing the time warp in the Mayor’s Parlour