Thursday, 30 June 2011

Game of Love – "I do" in white and blue!

The Seagulls’ new home is nearing completion! On the edge of the city, nestled snugly into the Downs, is the shiny 22,500 seat AMEX Community Stadium. Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club now has a modern, stylish and huge new ground – this is a football stadium for the Twenty First century. It’s also an impressive facility for concerts, conferences and events, such as weddings.

The stadium is the latest venue in the city to be licensed for weddings and civil partnerships. The first ceremony takes place in less than a fortnight. So this week the Brighton and Hove Register Office team was invited to take a tour and find out how the happy couples will be catered for Albion-style.

The city has a range of fabulous ceremony venues, including quite a few with eccentric character, like the Sea Life Centre and the Brighton Pier. The stadium adds to the list of quality quirky places to tie the knot.

Two of us on the VisitBrighton team are also registrars. Ruth and I joined with our ceremony colleagues for the trip to the stadium. On arrival we were led into the home stand, through spacious corridors, to make our way to the pitch. First impressions are “Wow!”
Looking good - the view from the stands

Everyone dashed to the edge of the lush green pitch to look around at the smart stands with seagull motif. For added comfort, all seats are cushioned with the same padding as the VIP seats at the Olympic stadium.
My friend Ruth testing one of Albion team seats - very comfy!

There is an emphasis on community and making the fans feel at home. Local artwork will be featured throughout the public spaces. A photo montage has been created using pictures sent in by Albion supporters and is on display in the public bar. From a distance the image is a player looking at the new stadium and close up you can clearly see the individual photos.

This picture captures the essence of the new stadium - attention to detail, pride in the football community and a sense of there being more to see than first meets the eye.

Indeed, the pitch may be the focus for the game but there is so much more going on at the stadium. Inside, we were first shown the eight rooms licensed for ceremonies, some overlooking the pitch and others looking out to the Downs. The latest furnishing and technology has been fitted throughout the building, it oozes style.

This room accommodates 500 guests - can you hear me at the back?

We also wandered through a labyrinth of corridors passing by a wide range of rooms for all occasions - massage rooms, laundry, media area (complete with computer banks and private bar), kit area, dope testing, ice baths and private viewing boxes to name but a few.

Brighton and Hove Registrars (not footballers)

And finally we stopped for a rest in the Albion players’ changing room. The registrar team couldn’t resist posing for a photo.

Rather overwhelmed, we exited the stadium into the evening sunshine. There’s no doubt the Seagulls have truly built a beautiful home for the beautiful game.



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