Two Gaywood men finally achieved their dream of legally marrying each other in front of family and friends when they held their “totes amaze” wedding at Lynn’s Town Hall last week.
Jamie, 35, and Matthew Whiley, 23, joined the loved-up couples who have been rushing down the altar to tie the knot since same-sex marriage was legalised back in March.
The couple met two years ago on a dating website and have been together ever since, with Matt even moving from his home in Brighton to live with Jamie.
Jamie, who works as a hairdresser, said: “I always wanted to be married, but it was all Matt’s idea. He sent me flowers and a balloon when he went home to visit family, he sent a card with them asking me to marry him – I wasn’t expecting it at all.”
Matt said: “I knew automatically that he was the one. I’d been on Plenty of Fish for 24 hours when I saw Jamie and we spoke for an hour that night, two months later we met and I ended up staying for three weeks. I moved in last March and proposed in August.”
The couple were determined to have a wedding instead of a civil partnership, and chose to wait until same-sex marriage was legalised, then giving them just three months to plan the big day.
Jamie said: “It was really important to Matt that we were able to have a real marriage because it means more commitment, security and makes it so much more special for us. It was an amazing day, ‘totes amaze’ as they say. And there was around 80 of us despite only giving three months notice.”
Matt said: “Because I’m from the gay capital of the UK, it’s always been a big part of my life, I’ve grown up going to Gay Pride events. To make our marriage a part of history is very special and for me a wedding was very important.
“It was a beautiful day. It was more than we could have ever imagined and it was lovely to have our families there. My nan has been very ill and last year we thought we might lose her, so it was very special to have her there on our special day.”
The couple were married in The Stone Hall, at the Town Hall, surrounded by family and friends last Tuesday.
Verne Lee, registration services manager, said: “It wasn’t the first same-sex wedding we have had, but it was certainly one of the biggest, and they had a ball doing it.
“It’s been wonderful to see what it means to people to be able to get married. In terms of the rights and responsibilities, marriage and civil partnerships are actually the same, but the difference it makes to people is huge, it means a lot and brings great joy into their lives.”
She added: “The couples who have made the decision to get married have been so happy, but interestingly several couples are still choosing to have a civil partnership instead.
“It doesn’t matter to me what you call it, it just matters to me how the couple look at each other and how they feel about each other. As long as they are happy and doing it for the right reasons.”