Those who wed must live as husband and wife for five weeks before choosing to stay together or divorce.

A British bride who stole hundreds of thousands of pounds from her employers to pay for her extravagant wedding and a wealth of luxury goods was jailed for 20 months on Wednesday.

Kirsty Lane, 30, a part-time accounts assistant, laid on a fireworks display, two bands, a magician and a free bar on her big day near Blackpool, north-west England.

But within days of marrying Graham Lane, 36, in January 2011, her fraud at electronics company Pure Audio Visual Ltd was discovered.

Over a two-year period Lane had siphoned off around £200 000 (R2.56 million) from the business into her bank account and that of her future husband, creating fake invoices to cover up her crimes.

Sentencing her at Preston Crown Court, Judge Pamela Badley said Lane's behaviour was “fraudulent from the outset”.

“This was a cynical exploitation of the small company for which you worked,” the judge told Lane.

As well as funding her dream wedding, the fraud paid for luxuries including car keys covered in Swarovski crystals, a designer watch and personalised car registration plates.

Prosecutor Kirsten McAteer told the court: “Once she started stealing money, she couldn't stop. She was afraid Mr Lane would leave her when he found out the truth.”

Lane pleaded guilty last October to 10 counts of fraud by abuse of position and asked for another 112 similar offences to be taken into consideration.

Her husband was cleared of any wrongdoing after a trial in May. - Sapa-AFP