Two women made history on Tuesday as the first same-sex couple to marry in Northern Ireland.

Robyn Peoples, 26, and Sharni Edwards, 27, tied the knot at the Loughshore Hotel in Carrickfergus, County Antrim.

The women had booked a civil partnership ceremony at the hotel to celebrate their sixth anniversary as a couple. But after years of stagnation, same-sex marriage abruptly became a reality over the summer.

In July, lawmakers in the UK overwhelmingly backed a plan to extend marriage equality to the region, bringing Northern Ireland into line on the issue with the rest of the UK. A similar vote was adopted on access to abortion. The changes took effect as the Northern Irish government remained at a standstill.

The brides changed their ceremony to a wedding as the law was set to take effect this week.

“We didn't expect to be the first couple, it's coincidental,” said Edwards. “Today is our six-year anniversary so we wanted to go ahead with a civil union partnership but when the bill was passed it was perfect timing and it was a complete coincidence, a happy coincidence.”

“[I]t means the absolute world” to be married, she added.