CULTURAL differences meant nothing when one East Lancashire couple met and fell in love at Blackburn Youth Zone.

Young romance conquered all as Aeman Afzal, 21, and Nicole Butterworth, 26, became the first staff members from different heritages to tie the knot.

Mr Afzal and his new wife declared their love for each other at an Islamic ceremony at Waheeds in Randall Street, Blackburn.


On Saturday the couple’s parents met for the first time and Mrs Afzal was accepted into her husband’s family.

The groom’s family originate from Pakistan while Mrs Afzal was born in Accrington.

Mr Afzal said that they are a perfect example of what the youth zone is all about, bringing people together from different backgrounds and cultures.

He said: “It’s a funny story really about how we got together, because when we first started working at the youth zone together we didn’t really like each other.

“But eventually, we went to another friend's wedding and got talking more and that started to change and really now as a couple, we reflect what the centre aims to do.

“It’s all about bringing new people together and getting to know each other no matter where you’re from.

“Our wedding day went really well and our two families seemed to really hit it off.”

Mr Afzal was part of the development group at the age of 15 – when the youth zone first came to Blackburn at the age of 15 – and so was an integral part of some of the decisions made about the look of the building and what activities should take place.

Their ceremony at the weekend was the first part of their wedding which will be followed by a civil ceremony with a bigger audience including more friends and colleagues from the youth zone.

Mr Afzal said: “In the Islamic ceremony we just expressed our love for each other with our two families and Nicole was accepted as an Afzal by my parents.

“We’re now planning the next part and then we’re hoping to go somewhere nice and hot for our honeymoon. We’re just going to have one despite having two weddings, it would be a bit cheeky to have two.”