UK Gay Marriage
Gay couple Andrew Wale and Neil Allard hold each other after marrying in the first same-sex wedding at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, southern England March 29, 2014.Reuters

The first same-sex marriages have taken place in the UK after the government legalised the formal union of gay couples in England and Wales in July last year.

The weddings took place in the early hours of Saturday in Brighton and London.

Andrew Wale and Neil Allard from Brighton became the country's first same-sex couple to get married legally in England.

"When we were born, it was illegal to be gay, let alone get married," Wale told CNN ahead of the wedding. "I didn't think about the possibility for most of my life. It is only really recently that suddenly the option seemed to be on its way.

"I want the wedding day to be a fully celebratory experience but at the same time, I don't want to forget that it's a relative freedom. We haven't reached the end of the line. There is still a long way to go," he added.

Peter McGraith and David Cabreza from Islington were UK's second gay couple to tie the knot after the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill received Royal Assent to make it an Act of Parliament, despite being voted against by 128 MPs.

Their wedding took place at Islington Town Hall in London.

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 enables gay couples to marry in civil ceremonies.

Prime Minister David Cameron hailed Britain's first gay marriages, saying marriage should not be denied to anyone because of their sexuality.

"Congratulations to the gay couples who have already been married and my best wishes to those about to be on this historic day," he wrote on Twitter.

Meet England's first gay marriages in pictures below.

UK Gay Marriage
Gay couple Andrew Wale (L) and Neil Allard take their vows.Reuters
UK Gay Marriage
Exchanging rings: Wale and Allard are the first of five same-sex couples tying the knot in Brighton on Saturday.Reuters
UK Gay Marriage
Saturday is the first day gay couples will be allowed to marry in England and Wales after the government legalised same-sex marriage last July.Reuters
UK Gay Marriage
British couple Peter McGraith (L) and David Cabreza hold up their marriage certificate for a crowd of well-wishers after their wedding at Islington Town Hall in London March 29, 2014.Reuters
UK Gay Marriage
McGraith and Cabreza, who have been a couple for 17 years, married shortly after midnight on Friday, marking the culmination of a campaign to end a distinction many British gay couples say made them feel like second class citizens.Reuters
UK Gay Marriage
Peter McGraith and David Cabreza show their wedding rings after their marriage in London.Reuters