Kilburn couple wed in the first gay marriage in Brent
PUBLISHED: 20:31 31 March 2014 | UPDATED: 20:31 31 March 2014
Colin Smith, 46, and Eric Craig, 48 tied the knot in a high brow ceremony in the wedding suite and marriage garden at the Civic Centre on Engineers Way, Wembley.
The pair even hired out a traditional double-decker route master bus to transport a party of more than 50 guests to the reception venue in Kensal Rise.
They joined a host of homosexual couples in England and Wales who got hitched on Saturday, as legislation allowing them to marry comes into force at 12.01am.
Mr Smith, a tax manager, said: “It was a great and very emotional affair.”
“We were not planning on being the first ones. Being part of history is flattering and a little bit exciting.”
As I said in my wedding speech, although it has taken a long time, and after many years of hard campaigning, the government has finally recognised equal marriage.”
“Today, I feel very proud to be British.”
Mr Craig, a manager for mental health services, added: “I did not think a day like this will ever come to pass, because I grew up in a time when being gay was a crime.”
“I never thought I would get married. It was such an amazing thing.”
The happy couple have been together for 12 years before deciding to take the plunge into married life.
Recalling the proposal, Mr Craig said: “It wasn’t particularly a romantic affair. I was fast asleep but awoke when I heard him stumbling in drunk. He came into the room and said ‘I think we should get married,’ to which I replied ‘yes, we should. Thank you very much but I think I will fall back to sleep now.’”
“The next morning I woke up thinking wait a minute, did that just happen?”
Gay couples were previously only permitted to enter a partnership following changes to the law in 2005.
Mr Craig, a manager for mental health services, said: “To be quite honest, both of us worked in organisations where same-sex partnerships are recognised, so a civil partnership didn’t give us much more than the acknowledgment of our relationship.
“In the future I’m going to be able to tick a box to say I’m married - that official recognition is important.”
Cllr. James Denselow, Brent Council’s lead member for customers and citizens, said: “On behalf of everyone at Brent Council, I want to congratulate Colin and Eric and wish them all the best for a very happy life together.
“Marriage is an important institution and I am pleased that it is now open to people of the same sex, as well as those of the opposite sex.”