Friday, 17 August 2012

A Wedding Ode to Gyles Brandreth

If it weren't for Gyles
With his wide grinning smiles
And his 1994 Marriage Act,
Many brides and grooms
Would be without rooms
To get wed, but for church, that's a fact!

Earlier this month TV presenter, broadcaster and author Gyles Brandreth made a scheduled stop at Holdsworth House to film a feature for the BBC's One Show. We're not allowed to divulge any information just yet, but are hoping to be featured on the program around October time.

During his visit Brandreth was interested to hear how wedding business was at Holdsworth House, and to expose his penchant for wedding cake, which brides and grooms have sent him in the past. Why - you might ask...

Well, in 1994 Brandreth was also a Conservative MP for Chester. Following a call from one of his constituents, questioning why couples couldn't get married in venues other than a church or registry office, Brandreth pushed a Private Member's Bill through Parliament. The drawn-out, single handed effort by Brandreth was successful in amending the Marriage Act of 1949 to allow marriages to be officially recognised in approved premises. The consequences for venues and couples has been immense.

Since 1994 many venues, including hotels such as Holdsworth House, have seen their business model transform. Those that were once accommodation, food and beverage providers have become fully fledged licensed wedding venues - a change that has breathed new life into the local economy, provided vast employment and has found new purpose for many historic buildings.

It's not just the venues that are winners out of Brandreth's Act, couples who have chosen not to marry in a church and couples opting for a civil partnership, have now been able to tie the knot and celebrate with family and friends in stunning surroundings, gaining married couple status in the eyes of the law and society.

So we say raise a toast to Gyles! And if you have a spare slice of cake, send it to him - we know he loves it!

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