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Weddings & Honeymoons TTG Features


Marriage on the rise I


For clients in search of a quirky wedding venue, consider Brighton’s BAi360 – it’ll leave them on a high. Debbie Ward looks to the sky for inspiration


t may not be cloud nine, but it’s near enough – 138 metres up on the new BAi360 at Brighton is one of the highest places in the


UK couples can take their vows. Designed by the same team behind


the London Eye, the i360 is a tower with a large, doughnut-shaped rising capsule. Bride, groom, or ordinary visitor, you feel like a mini-celebrity when you take off, with people on the seafront waving and snapping pictures on their phones. The view itself is a slow reveal: beach, sea and ruins of the West Pier, then a bird’s eye look at the Palace Pier and across the city, and finally out towards the South Downs as you sip on bubbly from the onboard bar. The sleek doughnut


capsule is 10 times larger than those on the


London Eye and there’s plenty of room to stroll around or relax on padded seats at the centre. Ceremonies can take place onboard, with the pod pausing at full height. It holds up to 198 for weddings (compared with the London Eye’s 28) and has a sound system and screens. A restaurant and function rooms are situated at the


Looking east from the tower


base, meaning a seamless, covered transfer to a reception. For those who like the idea of i360


flights for their party but want a more traditional ceremony, “I do’s” can be said in the restored 1866 West Pier toll booth beside the structure (a cafe at other times),


CAPSULE THE MOMENT


■An hour’s hire of the i360 capsule is £2,500. Reception packages start from £70pp for a barbecue, bowl food or buffet reception with sparkling wine and £80 for a three-course meal. It’s £125 a head for four courses and a canape reception, or, for £150, couples can have their meal


overseen by executive chef Steven Edwards (pictured right), winner of MasterChef: the Professionals2013. ■All packages include a wedding coordinator; room hire; use of a private beachfront terrace; cash bar; waiters and bartenders and a complimentary flight for the couple’s first anniversary. A local registrar


Restaurant at the base


which holds up to 38, or in the beachside event space, where partitions move to accommodate ceremonies with 50-202 people. Both have their own terrace. Two grooms were the first to wed


up the tower – they commissioned an i360-shaped wedding cake. Brighton


is famously gay-friendly, so it’s worth suggesting i360 weddings to same- sex couples in the south-east. Locally sourced ingredients are championed at the site, so the bars in the pod and restaurant feature award-winning Sussex tipples such as Nyetimber sparkling wine and Brighton Gin, while food comes from farms within the county. The Toll Booth suits standing


Inside the rising capsule of the BAi360 tower


receptions for up to 58, or seated dinner for around 20, but most receptions take place in the two beachfront function rooms, with one-way glass windows for privacy, which can be booked separately or opened up together. The terrace in front can be used for barbecues, and a MasterChefwinner is on hand for more formal catering. It’s not only weddings themselves


for which the i360 offers potential – how about a proposal worked into a weekend break? There were four in the first three days after opening. One would-be groom spelled out “Abi will you marry me?” in fabric on the beach, the question revealed to his girlfriend only when they rose into the air. Staff are happy to help by lending a microphone or queuing music for the big moment. And It’s probably only a matter of time before a proposer fills the capsule with a flash-mob choir.


must be arranged to conduct the ceremony. ■There is currently good availability for wedding bookings. ■Agents receive 8% commission. For more information, contact weddings@britishairwaysi360.com ■Attraction World offers bookings for an i360 flight alone (adults from £17.50, children from £8.50). ■attractionworld.com


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