Bournemouth beach hut chapel 'first' to host weddings

image captionTourism bosses are hoping Bournemouth beach will be an alternative to foreign wedding venues

A beach hut in Bournemouth is thought to be the first in England and Wales to be allowed to hold weddings and civil partnerships.

Ceremonies are set to be held in a cream-coloured "chapel" near the Dorset resort's West Cliff lift in 2012.

Rachel Hardy, from Bournemouth Tourism, said "a lot of interest" had been expressed by prospective couples.

The timber "chapel" needed planning permission, as English and Welsh law requires a permanent structure.

Head of tourism Mark Smith said the 11sq m (118sq ft) hut, which would have double-opening doors at the front, would be an alternative to expensive foreign weddings.

'Not done before'

"Bournemouth has always been a very popular resort for weddings and couples have always expressed interest with the hotels for a ceremony on the beach," Mr Smith said.

"With the increasing cost of foreign travel and weddings abroad, it's a good time to introduce our very own 'UK weddings on the beach' offer.

The beach hut is available for weddings and civil partnership ceremonies from April 2012.

Melanie Kiani, from Bellissimo Wedding Planners, which will organise the services, said: "We are very confident that no-one in the UK has done this.

"We have done extensive research... and it is well accepted that this has not been done before."

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