Northern Ireland news

Couple look forward to making history with first same-sex wedding in Northern Ireland

Robyn Peoples, from Belfast, and Sharni Edwards, from Brighton, will be the first same-sex couple in Northern Ireland to get married next week. Picture by Mal McCann
Marie Louise McConville

A senior care worker and waiter will make history next week when they become the first same-sex couple to be married in Northern Ireland.

Robyn Peoples from Belfast and Sharni Edwards, who is originally from Brighton, will tie the knot on Tuesday.

The wedding will take place in Carrickfergus, one day after same-sex marriages become legal in Northern Ireland for the first time.

The couple, who met in the Kremlin nightclub in Belfast, revealed they had initially planned a civil partnership ceremony but were able to change their paperwork to make it a marriage after MPs at Westminster moved to bring the law into line with Britain.

"We are getting married on our six-year anniversary," said 26-year-old Robyn.

"We had gone ahead with the civil partnership papers and the bill was passed in September. We were able to get our papers changed and that was us".

Robyn said the pair had been getting "frustrated" waiting for the law to change and had been part of the Love Equality campaign, taking part in marches.

"We have been engaged for five years," said Robyn.

"It was just getting to the point we had been waiting so long, we just wanted to go for it."

Robyn said being the first same-sex couple to get married means "everything".

"Having been able to grow up in Northern Ireland... you are not equal, you are not seen as equal, you do not have the same rights as a straight person and now we do. It's incredible."

The pair got engaged in Paris after Sharni (27) booked the couple tickets to see singer Ariana Grande perform.

Robyn proposed to Sharni on a bridge in the city where they left a lock engraved with their initials and the date they met.

One year later, Sharni proposed to Robyn.

The couple, who live in the Woodvale area of Belfast, said their families have been "so supportive", adding that after the wedding and two-week honeymoon to Cyprus they hope to buy their first home and have children.

They said the ceremony would be "small and intimate" with a "bit more" to the reception.

Sharni said she hoped their wedding would show that "it's okay to be in love and celebrate that".

Patrick Corrigan of the Love Equality campaign said it had secured the historic change in law at Westminster thanks to the support of tens of thousands of people.

"It was a much longer campaign than it needed to be. People in Northern Ireland, the LGBT community in Northern Ireland, has had to fight longer and harder for these rights than anywhere in the UK and Ireland and we are so happy to bring this to a successful conclusion," he said.

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