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Couple told they can’t have wedding vows in Cornish feel ‘discriminated against’

A couple say they were ”discriminated” against after being told they can’t have their wedding vows in Cornish.

Steph Norman and Aaron Willoughby had hoped to have an authentic ceremony paying tribute to their Cornwall routes.

The big day is set to include pints of mead, Cornish kilts – and a giant Cornish pasty.

But they were told they will have to say their vows in English before any other language is spoken.

The couple from Truro later discovered there is an exemption for Welsh and Scottish speakers – who can use non English vows.

Steph, 32, AN NHS worker, said: “I was born in Cornwall and Aaron is from a long lineage of people from God knows what year – he’s proper, proper Cornish.

Their wedding plans include pints of mead, kilts and a giant Cornish pasty

Couple told they can't have wedding vows in Cornish feel 'discriminated against'

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“We wanted to embrace our ‘Cornishness’ and thought we’d make it a Cornish theme.

“I was very surprised, I just assumed we could do it, which is why I took to Twitter, and I was shocked by the response – the amount of people who didn’t know.

“I thought if Cornish people couldn’t do it, maybe Welsh people couldn’t do it.

”And then I found out that all these Welsh people said ‘no, no we did all ours in Welsh.’ I was really taken aback by it.”

The couple began learning Cornish around the time Steph got pregnant with their son Maban – meaning ‘little son’ in Cornish.

They had hoped to have the whole ceremony next November read in the Celtic language – and contacted the registrar to confirm it would be okay.

But Cornwall Council soon replied saying that although they will attempt to find a registrar who could speak Cornish.

They said unfortunately legally they would have to read the vows in English first and then repeat it in Cornish.

Steph told BBC Cornwall: “It feels like we’ve been a bit discriminated against because it’s not equal across the board.

“I feel that if everyone understands the language it should be up to them what language they speak, which is true in Scotland.

“We haven’t heard of anyone come back to us yet, but the council are looking for us which is very nice of them.”

The rules on wedding languages are written in the 1949 marriage act.

“We’ll just have to repeat the vows in Cornish,” Steph added. “We’d have to go to Westminster and change the legislation.”

The wedding will hopefully take place later this year at the idyllic Pengersick Castle between the villages of Germoe and Praa Sands.


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