A COUPLE received the last paper marriage certificate in Dorset - and were married by the groom’s father.

Simon and Kirsty Millward, 32 and 34, married at the Bournemouth Town Hall on Friday, in the company of son Walter, mums Jo Loveday and Tina Millward and registrar and father of the groom, Graham Millward.

And the couple, who had been engaged for nearly four years, were the last couple in Dorset to receive a handwritten marriage certificate due to legislation changes, with certificates first issued in 1837.

Graham said: “It’s a privilege [to officiate my son’s wedding], one that you don’t imagine will ever land in your lap, and especially because it was the very last one.

“It’s the first change in legislation since 1837. It was supposed to be initiated last year but because of Covid it was delayed, it comes into force on May 4.

“From then, married couples will have a printed schedule rather than a register to sign, in a way it’s a shame because it’s not quite so romantic.

“I’ve been in this job for two years. They live in Salisbury and they may have got married in Salisbury, but it all fell into place.

“The ceremony was good, it was emotional, beautiful and intimate.”

The laws on marriage certificates had changed in Scotland and Wales previously and Graham said this brought England “into line”.

And the couple said they may frame the certificate, the last ever issued in Dorset.

Kirsty said: “We feel quite lucky to be able to have the last one, it’s been going for so long.

“It was quite intimate, we’ve been trying for so long, with everything like Covid putting a downer on it, but I think we’ve just been incredibly lucky.

“It was one of those things, we thought let’s just go for it now, and to have it done by Graham in such a lovely room and setting, it was just what we wanted.

“We’ve been together for about five years and engaged for most of that. The wedding was cancelled, we thought we’d try again in a few years, then thought let’s just do it or we’ll never do it.

“We just had parents and our eldest here. We’ll frame the certificate and put it up in the house.

“We’re lucky to have the last one, it’s a bit of history, it’s a shame it’s not carrying on.”

It was pure coincidence that the son of the registrar was the last to receive a paper certificate, the couple said.

Simon added: “We’re really lucky and even nicer that my dad was able to do the ceremony as well.”