Same-sex wedding joy for Heanor couple

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Two Marlpool women are set to become one of the first gay couples to marry in Derbyshire when they tie the knot next month.

Sarah Sibley, 36, and Debbie Hallam, 42, of Buxton Avenue, pictured, will say their vows in front of Sarah’s daughter Ebbie, 17, and 25 family and friends.

Laws have recently changed, meaning same-sex couples can be legally wed rather than having a civil partnership service.

Machinist Sarah said: “We’re really excited and can’t wait for the day.

“We were going to have a civil partnership service so were thrilled when we found out the law change was coming in in time for us to be able to have a proper wedding. It will mean so much to have the service in front of our family and friends.”

The pair, who met in Ripley, will marry at Ilkeston Register Office - the town’s first same-sex marriage

They have chosen the start of May for their wedding day as that was when they started dating.

Sarah has picked out her perfect dress for the day, while Debbie will walk down the aisle in a trouser suit.

They’ve been planning their nuptials since factory supervisor Debbie proposed to Sarah. Family and friends are thrilled about the upcoming service, they said.

“Ebbie will be ring bearer and witness and she’s delighted for us. She absolutely loves Deb and can’t wait.”

Differences between a civil partnership and marriage include financial rights and legal issues for couples

Sarah added: “It will be a day to remember anyway but to be the first same sex couple to get married in Ilkeston will be something extra special.”

After a short ceremony at the Lord Haddon Road venue, the bride and bride will have photographs in the gardens before moving on to be greeted by 200 guests at an evening reception at Heanor Miners’ Welfare.

The first same-sex wedding in the UK took place just after midnight on March 29, when the law changed.

Legislation legalising gay marriage was passed last summer.

Sarah added: “We’re really happy that our marriage will be the same as others, although we would have been happy to have a civil partnership, marriage means more to us.”