70 couples take their vows at London mass wedding event

  • 04 August 2020
  • Reading time: 5 min

A total of 70 couples, including 15 same-sex couples, have taken part in a mass wedding at the Southbank Centre in central London.

The art centre's Festival of Love, which is culminating with the Big Wedding Weekend, hosted about 6,000 guests who were invited by the couples.

The weddings were held at the revamped Royal Festival Hall and registrars from Lambeth Council presided over them.

There were four sets of ceremonies on Saturday and two on Sunday.

The aim of the festivities was to mark the year in which same-sex marriage became legal in England and Wales.

Louise Reader and Paul Ryan were among the couples who took their vows at the event.

Ms Reader said: "I can't really imagine a better way of doing it, that was just fantastic."

Her husband said: "It's a completely unique experience. It's one of the reasons when we saw about it we wanted to do it."

Couples paid £1,000 for the ceremony, registrar, photography and a disco in the evening, and an additional £1,000 for up to 40 guests to join a communal banquet.

Jude Kelly, artistic director of Southbank Centre, said: "We were just thinking how do we celebrate love here... and so we came up with this notion that if we invited all couples, gay or straight, old or young, to celebrate their vows together that would be a wonderful symbolic act here."