Elton John was one of the first Britons to take advantage of the country's new Civil Partnership Act. The pop star, 58, and his longtime boyfriend, Canadian filmmaker David Furnish, 43, tied the knot in a civil ceremony at the Guildhall in Windsor on Wednesday (December 21) morning, the first day that the new law took effect. The Act gives same-sex couples property and inheritance rights similar to those granted married straight couples, though the unions are not regarded as marriages by British law.

The pair, dressed in tuxedos, arrived in a black Rolls Royce with tinted windows and waved to the crowd gathered outside as they entered the hall. The ceremony — which took place in the same venue used by Prince Charles when he married Camilla Parker Bowles in April — was attended by John's mother and stepfather, Furnish's parents and a small group of friends (see "Elton John Plans To Marry Partner In December").

Following the ceremony, John and Furnish, who have been together for 12 years, emerged smiling and waved to the crowd outside. According to reports, the singer blew kisses and mouthed the words "thank you." The pair were showered with rice, and two young women broke through the police cordon to give the couple an apple ice-cream cake, according to a BBC News report.

Asked how the ceremony went, John said, "Great, thanks." British video artist Sam Taylor-Wood told the BBC News that it was a "very emotional service. Everyone clapped, and of course they kissed at the end." The couple will celebrate tonight with around 700 guests at a nearly $2 million party at John's London mansion; among those scheduled to attend are Sharon Osbourne, Elizabeth Hurley and Donatella Versace.