Manchester Pride’s 18th birthday in August will begin with two group civil ceremonies for same-sex couples, it has been announced.

The ceremonies will take place on the eve of Pride’s Big Weekend, Thursday 21st August, at two of the city’s top hotels, the Marriott Victoria & Albert and the Renaissance Manchester.

Individual services will be conducted by Manchester Registrar Office followed by a group blessing by a local reverend.

Jackie Crozier, festival manager of Manchester Pride, said:

“Yet again, Manchester Pride is leading where others will follow. The group civil ceremony will be a highlight of the festival and a fantastic start to the ‘Big Weekend’, not to mention a very memorable day for the ten couples actually taking part.”

After the ceremony and group blessing, there will be an evening celebration for the couples, their family and friends.

Couples interested in taking part in the ceremony should contact Elissa Baker, special events manager at the Marriott Victoria & Albert Hotel on 0161 838 4127.