THE reverend who is set to conduct the wedding ceremony of Ant McPartlin and Anne-Marie Corbett today said a special licence was granted by the Archbishop of Canterbury for the service to go ahead. 

Speaking to the Gazette this morning ahead of the television presenter’s nuptials, Reverend Canon Marion De Quidt, of St Michael’s Church in Heckfield, described the couple as "wonderful and beautiful".

She said: “It’s going to be wonderful. It’s going to be a fabulous service. They are a wonderful couple with a generous attitude. They are beautiful people.”

Preparations are already underway at the church with bouquets of purple and pink flowers arriving yesterday along with metal fencing to cordon off the area.

Basingstoke Gazette:

The couple are understood to be hosting their reception at nearby luxury hotel Heckfield Place, where they have reportedly spent £100,000 on hotel reservations.

Basingstoke Gazette:

Reverend De Quidt told the Gazette that the Archbishop of Canterbury had granted a special licence for the couple to marry at St Michael’s Church, because they live outside of the area in London.

She explained: “They wanted to experience Hampshire and have their wedding here and they chose this place where they can have some privacy.”

She said the service is set to be around an hour long, with around 160 guests expected at the church today, which has capacity for 200.

Guests includes the 45-year-old’s best man and co-presenter Declan Donnelley, with rumours that Holly Willoughby and Stephen Mulhern could also be attending.

Reverend De Quidt said the service is set to be “fun and happy” adding: “It’s bringing two families together. It’s a privilege and an honour to be conducting the service, which is going to be a private, family service.”

The traditional church, which dates back to the 13th century, features stained glass windows and is surrounded by an ancient burial site and garden of remembrance.

Inside there is capacity for 200, with rows of wooden pews and a high ceiling with exposed wooden beams.

Ant and Anne-Marie met in 2018 and the couple became engaged last Christmas.