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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 December 2005, 18:13 GMT
Hundreds attend gay wedding show
Wedding cake display
Lavish wedding cakes were on display at the exhibition
Hundreds of couples descended on the Gay Wedding Show in Brighton on Sunday - the day before same-sex civil partnerships become legal.

The show at Hilton Metropole Hotel played host to 70 exhibitors offering anything from gay and lesbian cake toppers to legal and financial advice.

More than 1,300 people passed through the doors - double that of last year.

Organiser Ben Spence put its success down to couples finally being allowed to legalise relationships.

His 'n' his towels

Mr Spence, whose company Pink Products organises the show, said the most popular merchandise had been the specially designed congratulations cards.

"It's the sort of thing you can't get in the shops because they only sell cards with a male and female bear on."

His 'n' his towels, Hers 'n' hers bathrobes and chocolate fountains were also in high demand.

As were the services of two registrars, from Brighton and Cornwall, who had come to offer advice.

A gay couple during a mock "wedding"
Mock ceremonies were staged by couples

For a chance to see what their big day will be like, four mock ceremonies were staged.

Similar events have been held across the UK, but Mr Spence said the Brighton show had been by far the "resounding success".

Mayor Bob Carden opened the proceedings, with Ben Summerskill, chief executive of gay campaign group Stonewall, giving the opening speech.

On Monday, couples will be able to officially register their intention to sign up for civil partnerships.

The first "wedding" ceremonies will take place 15 days later on 21 December, starting in Brighton at 0800 GMT.

Brighton and Hove Council has already announced plans to expand its register office to cope with demand from gay couples.

Gay partners line up to tie knot
03 Dec 05 |  Southern Counties
Priest set to wed in gay marriage
24 May 05 |  Southern Counties

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