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Saturday, 20 July, 2002, 19:37 GMT 20:37 UK
Sun shines on Kennedys
The Kennedys pose for pictures
The couple were 'deliriously happy'

It was a lovely, sunny day and the threatened rain did not materialise.

Charles Kennedy arrived at the House of Commons in good time, accompanied by his best man, the Liberal Democrat peer Lord Razzall.

He described himself as "constructively nervous" before his wedding to his partner of four years Sarah Gurling.

But that did not stop him from pausing to shake hands and chat to well-wishers gathered outside the Commons.

The new Mrs Kennedy will certainly have to get used to a greater level of scrutiny now

It was a private wedding, but given the identity of the groom, it is no surprise there were high profile guests.

Prime Minister Tony Blair arrived - without Cherie or the children - just seconds before the bride herself.

The Liberal Democrats were keen to stress he was there in a private capacity, as a friend of the bride and groom and not as a party leader.

But alongside the PM were grandees of the Liberal Democrats including Roy Jenkins, Shirley Williams, former Liberal leader Sir David Steele and his wife, and the deputy first minister of the Scottish Parliament Jim Wallace.

Ecumenical service

But there were many more people who were simply family and friends, emphasising the private nature of this wedding.

All were greeted by a single piper, an old friend of Mr Kennedy's who comes from near the Lib Dem leader's home in Fort William.

An ecumenical service had been arranged to reflect the fact that Mr Kennedy is Catholic and his bride Anglican.

The service was conducted by Canon Robert Wright and the couple were later blessed by Father Michael Seed, from Westminster Cathedral.
The bride and groom after marrying
The crowds applauded the public kiss

Other touches to reflect the couple's backgrounds included English roses combined with Scottish thistles in the bridesmaids' bouquets.

The service itself was described as traditional and the bride wore a full length off the shoulder white satin dress.

In keeping with tradition, the groom had not seen the dress before the wedding.

The service ended with the hymn "I vow to thee my country."

Applause

The newly-weds were both beaming when they came out after the ceremony.

Mr Kennedy pronounced himself "delirious" with happiness as he posed outside the Commons with his bride.

The groom gave his new wife a peck on the cheek but then, urged on by the gathered crowd, gave her a proper kiss on the lips.

There was a roar of approval and applause.

The guests were entertained at a reception this afternoon by Mr Kennedy's father Ian, playing the fiddle.

The couple released a statement after the wedding saying they hoped to find a balance between their public and private life.

The new Mrs Kennedy will certainly have to get used to a greater level of scrutiny now that she is married to a party leader.

But before that happens the couple will enjoy a very private honeymoon.

After an evening reception at a Commons dining room, they are off to an undisclosed location in the Far East.

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Judith Moloney
"The couple are delighted"
See also:

20 Jul 02 | Politics
18 Jul 02 | Politics
20 Jul 02 | Politics
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