A gay couple who claim they were turned down 31 times for a church wedding have finally married.
Shane Yerrell, 39, and David Sparrey, 30, tied the knot in Wanstead, East London, last month after struggling to find a church that would marry them.
The pair had initially planned to wait to marry but a family health issue prompted them to push ahead.
But despite both being Christian and always wanting a church wedding, they say they were knocked back 31 times by various places before finally somewhere that would agree to marry them.
The couple married in front of friends and family at Wanstead United Reformed Church on 21 October.
Yerrell said: "Honestly, I'd all but given up. But when I spoke to [Reverend] Tessa I was literally shouting with joy and jumping round the room. David didn't believe me.
"When we met Tessa she said, 'I can see you love each other, love is love'. It was the most amazing feeling. She said, 'Everyone deserves to marry the person they love' - and she's right.
"The day was so special. That church was a light at the end of a tunnel. They are so brave and we will always be so grateful to them.
"It really wasn't easy but it was more than worth it all. We thought it would never happen. It was like [the churches] were all reading a script - 'We'd love to, but no'."
The couple, from Waltham Abbey, Essex, met through a mutual friend in 2014 and were an item by 2016.
Electrical engineer Sparrey proposed on a beach on a family holiday in Crete, and they decided to wed two years earlier than planned.
Both are Christians who attend church every six weeks and were set on the traditions of a church wedding.
But Yerrell, who is deputy mayor for Waltham Abbey and a councillor for Epping Forest, said he spent up to 15 hours on the phone trying to find a venue before finally landing on Wanstead United Reformed Church.
More than 100 guests piled into the church to witness their marriage, with an extra 40 joining the party at Waltham Abbey Town Hall.
Sparrey said: "We were over the moon when the church agreed to marry us. Everything felt complete. I had hoped Shane's patience and determination would pay off and it did."
His partner added: "It was so moving, overwhelming - I could hardly believe it. It really was the most special moment.
"We had done it and we hadn't had to settle for something we wanted less. I'm delighted we're part of that church's history, we've made friends for life.
"Gay people just don't think it is possible, but if you are a same-sex couple and you want to get married in a church just don't give up.
"I think a lot of churches are frightened of a backlash - people saying it isn't what the bible says.
"But I think they could find a way of interpreting that for themselves and making it possible, after all, love is love no matter whether you're gay or straight."
Reverend Tessa Henry-Robinson told MyLondon: "It is a proud moment for us at Wanstead United Reformed Church to be the first to bring this good news to its community."