Same-sex marriages were made legal today.
The Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act came into force in July last year, but it was not until 13 March that couples were able to register their intention to marry under the Act for the first time.
Civil partnerships were introduced in England and Wales in 2005 to provide gay couples with the same legal rights as heterosexual partners, but campaigners continued fighting to have their marriages recognised by law.
The first gay weddings happened at midnight in Brighton, where lavish celebrations continued late into the night.
A number of couples were hoping to claim the title of being the first ever to be married in Britain by trying to time it perfectly so their vows were said at 12.01am.
Peter McGraith and David Cabreza, who have been together for 17 years, said they wanted to wed as soon as the marriage laws changed.
Mr McGraith said: “We are thrilled to be getting married. It is a mark of significant social progress in the UK that the legal distinction between gay and straight relationships has been removed.”
Ruth Hunt, acting chief executive of gay rights charity Stonewall, said: “Saturday is a momentous day for England and Wales, as the first same-sex marriages mark full legal equality for lesbian, gay and bisexual people.
“The first weddings will send a powerful message to every person in Britain and around the world that you can live and love as you choose, regardless of your sexual orientation.”
Legally, there is very little difference between a Civil Partnership and a same-sex marriage. It is hoped that couples currently in civil partnerships will be able to convert them into a marriage by the end of the year. The government has not yet clarified a date when this conversion will be possible.