A GROUP of women tied the knot with themselves in a powerful and symbolic stand against the pressures and expectations of society.

The emotional Wedding of the Year event was organised by Common Wealth Theatre and saw nearly 40 women, from diverse backgrounds, ages and cultures, walk down the aisle at Bradford City Hall and make vows to themselves.

Those taking part could choose their own outfit and music - ranging from pop and punk to Qawwali - before taking part in a first dance and karaoke at the reception celebration at the Speakers' Corner creative space in Ivegate.

Latifa Bari, 73, who lives in the Manchester Road area of Bradford came up with the idea and said: “I think it’s very, very important for a woman - in her life she does everything for other people, but she neglects herself.

“At first it was very emotional, but after that, when you’re married, you feel very happy inside.

“Everybody was so happy.”

Mariam Nisa, 20, from Heaton, added: “I thought it was a really positive idea, just to come together and celebrate women to be themselves, love themselves and it was a really positive experience.

“It was about loving yourself unconditionally, putting yourself first, knowing that you can stand on your own two feet.

“I think women have a lot of pressure put on them in society to be a certain way, to look a certain way and to fit in.

“You’re saying ‘I’m accepting who I am, I’m doing what I want to do and I’m doing it for myself’. It was amazing, I was really, really glad I was a part of it.”

Mehmoona Parvez, 17, from Manningham, said the event was particularly symbolic for young women.

“Especially in a society where there is so much pressure on young girls to fit in to a certain image or a certain kind of mould that they should be,” she said.

“Especially with so many standards of beauty rising and so much pressure on the internet, especially on social media, I think it was just a beautiful experience to have, just to promise ‘sometimes I’m going to forget about all of that and just remember that I am perfect as I am and I don’t really need to give into pressures in society'."

Nasreen Awan, 64, from Odsal added: “I was so pleased I was part of this.

“It was something special, something different. I felt proud my family was there. It was very emotional.”

Touching messages were also left to the brides from guests.

One read: “This is the most radical, empowering event. Thank you to the amazing women who made it happen. Here’s to us women loving, feeling ourselves in our rainbow diverse, beautiful ways.”