My Big Gay Wedding (BBC TV) with Tom Allen, Oti Mabuse and Sophie Ellis-Bextor 8.4.2024

It was a typical English summer’s day last August (yes, it was raining) and we were well into our 2023 wedding season, when the lovely Adam and Dan screeched to a halt at Trading Boundaries.

Like many couples they were looking for a wedding venue, but not just any venue. It had to have lots of character, not pigeon-hole them into a standard, boring package and have plenty of scope to let their imaginations run wild, oh - and also it had to have availability within the following 8 weeks! As it transpired, ceramicist Adam Johnson and graphic designer Daniel Mackey had just been selected by the BBC to feature in a show called ‘My Big Gay Wedding’ to mark the 10th anniversary of same sex marriage being legalised in England and Wales. They had been together for 10 years , engaged for 8 and this had given them the nudge they needed to finally take their vows. Adam and Dan had been given a guided tour of our venue by wedding co-ordinator Jenny Ross. Jenny is very experienced in helping couples achieve their dreams for their special day and it’s fair to say that the three of them really hit it off. Luckily we still had one Saturday available before our stunning, hand block printed wedding marquees were due to be taken down for the season and before we knew it, it was all systems go! Trading Boundaries has been hosting country weddings in our famous Sussex Coach House since 2021.

Our venue is set in 13 acres of beautiful countryside and features sweeping lawns, a stunning Indian arbour, cocktail decking and pretty Courtyard complete with it’s own fountain. The focal point is our pair of breathtakingly elegant marquees from Rajasthan, with their hand block printed cotton linings and delicate ivory voile curtains. Adam and Dan are hugely creative individuals, and they had an amazing vision of how they wanted the venue to look and their day to unfold.

Comedian Tom Allen had been brought on board by the BBC to host the show and also help arrange the day and, as you’ll see from watching the show, he didn’t hesitate to call in some celebrity favours! Trading Boundaries is a very versatile space for weddings and there are several places that lend themselves perfectly for the wedding ceremony itself. Adam and Dan had chosen the lawn (which filled us with terror given the weather last summer) and had created a wonderful backdrop with a very clever use of antique stained glass doors. We didn’t need to worry about the weather - the sun shone as the guys walked hand in hand down an aisle surrounded by opulent floral displays all the way to the ‘alter’ (Mahal Kita Flowers), embellished by the imaginative bouquets and button holes from Caley Brothers. Last but not least were the ring bearers, Tom Allen and Egg the Pug. The grooms both wore outfits they created themselves, tailored by Molly Rouge. The ceremony was conducted by celebrant Chloe Green who had been especially selected by the couple for her wicked sense of humour, compassion and importantly because she is also a member of the gay community.

Whilst writing this blog we’ve realised that Chloe was trained by celebrant Jacqui Cale who is very much part of our TB family. Jacqui spent several years working on and off in our showroom and cafe, and three of her children have also worked in the TB team at various times, so it really is a small world. Disco queen Sophie Ellis-Bextor had agreed to perform for Adam and Dan’s first dance and this needed to be filmed just outside the marquees. Our wonderful maintenance team of Zyggie and Slawek found themselves having to build an outdoor stage, which looked stunning on the day.

Adam and Dan did themselves proud with their first dance, ably choreographed and coached by Strictly’s Oti Mabuse. It was very much a feel good moment with everyone joining in (even TB staff and production crew off camera!) and absolutely set the theme for the rest of the day. Guests then had a chance to recover from the impromptu afternoon boogie on the lawns by enjoying signature cocktails that we had created especially for the couple. Before long it was time for the big reveal - how would the wedding tents look inside? The side panels from our versatile marquees were removed and this is where the photos really speak for themselves - wow! Adam and Dan had chosen a theme of pastel colours that they then ‘camped up’ to a level that only they could pull off. Flamingos were grazing amongst disco balls, retro style trolls had pride of place in table centres alongside Easter Bunnies and Godzilla could be seen amidst a sea of iced gems. The boys had gone into creative overdrive and managed to pull off something that was a treat for the eyes and truly joyous.

Guests enjoyed a delicious wedding breakfast freshly cooked on site by Thai Angle with drinks from the Trading Boundaries free-flowing ‘Jodhpur’ wine package, one of several we offer. The piéce de résistance was the absolute genius ten tier wedding cake created by Bee May Baker that somehow pulled the whole look together, whilst doubling up as a delicious dessert. Trading Boundaries is also a very established, award winning live music venue, with theatre quality lighting and sound, so as the light began to fade the party moved through the fairly lit decking to The Elephant Café Bar where Brighton based DJ Bugaloo Stu took the night away. Adam and Dan danced a reprise of their wedding song ‘Yes Sir I Can Boogie’, this time dressed in head to toe gold sequins. Cocktails flowed and and fun was certainly had by all. Breakfast the next morning was a lovely opportunity to reflect on the day as Adam and Dan were joined by friends and family who had stayed in our wonderful Courtyard guest rooms. All photos courtesy of Sidey Clark Photography.

At TB we always enjoy the weddings we host, and become emotionally invested as each couple’s journey towards their wedding day progresses. It’s humbling when you realise that someone is putting that much trust in you to help deliver their dream day. Looking back on Adam and Dan’s wedding, as we are now since ‘My Big Gay Wedding’ was shown on BBC on Wednesday 27th March, that trust was particularly appreciated given the lack of time everyone had to prepare. It was inspiring to work with them and also a lot of fun. As an equal opportunities employer Trading Boundaries is very proud to have been a small part of the 10 year anniversary of the legalisation of same sex marriage. Over the years a notable percentage of our team have been (and still are) from the LBGTQ+ community. Let’s be grateful for where and when we live, and let’s keep striving for greater equality.


My Big Gay Wedding 25.3.2024

2023 marked the 10th anniversary of the legalization of same-sex marriage in England and Wales, and 2024 commemorates a decade since the first wedding under this law. To honor this significant milestone, comedian, presenter, and writer Tom Allen is orchestrating a spectacular wedding for a lucky gay couple, Adam and Dan, at our venue, Trading Boundaries, East Sussex. Renowned singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor is set to grace the event with a captivating performance, adding to the magical ambiance. In a special documentary for BBC One and iPlayer titled "My Big Gay Wedding", Tom Allen will not only assist the couple in curating the wedding of the year but also delve into the remarkable journey towards achieving marriage equality.

Through interviews with influential LGBTQ+ advocates, Tom will shed light on the struggles and triumphs that paved the way for this historic moment. Drawing from his own experiences as a gay individual, Tom will reflect on the progress of gay rights while introducing Adam and Dan to a host of celebrity friends eager to contribute to their special day. From entertainment to fashion, Tom's network of talented acquaintances will spare no effort in ensuring that the wedding at Trading Boundaries is a dazzling affair, symbolizing love, community, and hard-earned equality.

The program will air on BBC One at 9pm on Wednesday, 27th March 2024 - more details can be found here.

Watch again on BBC iPlayer


bbctomallenwithadamanddansophie ellis bextor with adam and dan

Photography by Sidey Clark ©2023


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