It's a wedding circus for a couple from Hove

Posted On 11 Nov 2010 at 6:01 am

Two charity fundraisers from Brighton and Hove are holding their wedding reception at a circus-themed ball.

Steven Sparks, 41, and Carolyn Payne, 30, have booked five tables for family and friends at the Rockinghorse ball in just over a week’s time.

The unusual reception follows an unusual proposal.

Steven asked Carolyn to marry him during a tour of Brighton’s Victorian sewers.

The couple are due to tie the knot at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton on Saturday 20 November.

They will go on to the Rockinghorse ball for their reception, at the Hilton Brighton Metropole, where this year’s extravaganza has a circus setting.

They have asked their guests to make a donation to Rockinghorse, which is based in Brighton, instead of buying wedding presents.

Steven said: “It’s a win-win situation, really, because we have everything that a conventional wedding reception would include – dinner, drinks, band, DJ – with the added bonus of the dodgems that are fantastic fun.”

Steven, who works as a property developer, is a member of the organising committee for the ball and added: “Being on the committee means that I have a personal input with both the event and the charity.

“We really appreciate the Rockinghorse team for welcoming our idea. It’s going to a fun day.”

Steven is a longstanding volunteer for the charity which helps children who have life-threatening conditions, profound physical or learning disabilities, mental health problems or complex medical needs.

He said: “Two of my very close friends had a son with a degenerative condition who sadly passed away.

“Being so close to them made me realise that a lot of children and parents need help.

“I have always lived in Brighton and so Rockinghorse was the obvious choice when I wanted to help and get involved.”

Allie Preiss, Rockinghorse marketing and events manager, said: “Steven and Carolyn are two of our most devoted volunteers.

“We are so grateful to them for going so far as to hold their wedding reception at the ball.”

To buy tickets for this year’s Rockinghorse ball, call 01273 730286 or visit

Steven Sparks proposed to Carolyn Payne in Brighton's Victorian sewers

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