CAMPAIGNS: Wedding bells ring out Belfry qualities - Consumer PR

On Saturday 22 May this year, the UK’s first marriage in a shopping mall took place at the Belfry shopping centre in Redhill, Surrey.

On Saturday 22 May this year, the UK’s first marriage in a shopping

mall took place at the Belfry shopping centre in Redhill, Surrey.

The 50-shop mall obtained a special licence to stage weddings and

married local residents Deborah Lane and Damian Clapp in its management


The wedding dress, limousines and reception were all provided courtesy

of the Belfry mall. Additionally, 25 friends and family were given #50

Belfry vouchers with which to buy gifts for the couple.


To highlight the broad spectrum of shops within the Belfry shopping



Anthony Edwards Publicity dreamt up the idea of holding a wedding in the

Belfry shopping centre after seeing the mall’s bells, cathedral-like

stained glass windows and white marble walls.

The Belfry and the agency agreed the idea would also fit nicely with the

centre’s claim that its shops contain everything an average married

couple could want. The Belfry applied for a licence to conduct marriages

but had to wait eight months for it to be granted.

In the meantime, Anthony Edwards teamed up with Reigate-based Surrey

Mirror, which was planning a wedding supplement, to hold a competition

to find a couple to marry in the centre. The prize was a free wedding,

with all the extras provided by the mall.

Once the winning couple was found, the agency began planning the


It sent out gilt-edged wedding invitations to a host of media. On the

big day, Anthony Edwards co-ordinated photographers and TV crews and

lined up a dozen interviews with the bride and groom and Belfry manager

Jonathan Edwards.

The couple arrived at the main entrance and took the glass lift to the

management suite. After the wedding, the party went to the nearby Russ

Hill Hotel for the reception. The agency’s photographer took pictures at

the reception and sent them via ISDN to various publications.

Since then, Anthony Edwards PR has continued to liaise with the media,

especially women’s magazines.

Measurement and evaluation

Sky TV News, Channel 5 News and four other UK TV news programmes plus

two international TV crews ran a story on the day. PA News Syndication

issued a post-wedding story which appeared in the Observer and the

Sunday People. Radio coverage included Talk Radio, BBC Radio One,

Independent Radio News and BBC Southern Counties Radio.

The Belfry now plans to host at least two weddings a year.


Weddings, especially unusual ones, are real media winners, so in this

sense, Anthony Edwards had a guaranteed headline grabber.

However, the agency did well to make sure everything ran smoothly on the

day which, with 1,000 shoppers and half of Fleet Street in the mall,

could have been disastrous. ’A lot of planning meetings took place

before the event. The agency kept the media in check and made sure that

everyone was happy on the day,’ says Belfry manager Edwards.

Client: The Belfry Shopping Centre

PR Team: Anthony Edwards PR

Campaign: Marriage in the Mall

Timescale: August 1998 ongoing

Budget: #10,000

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