It may not have been love at first sight but, after meeting at a dance in 1948, a Tauranga couple are celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary today.

Ray, 85, and Yvonne Mead, 86, wed on January 8, 1949, almost exactly a year after they met. Mr Mead proposed after two weeks.

"I laughed because I'd never gone out with anyone for more than three or four weeks and then I was off," Mrs Mead said.

She had a dress ring on her right hand and Mr Mead moved it to her left and said "I mean it" and she laughed again.


"I wasn't in love with him but something seemed to tell me that he was the right one."

They had a small wedding with about 60 guests.

Mr Mead said the room for the reception had skylights and the sun came in "making the sandwiches look like bananas - they were all curled up".

Mrs Mead's wedding dress was lace over white silk and her bridesmaids wore net over white taffeta and carried red roses.

Mr and Mrs Mead have three children, Jonnie, Peter and Michele, and 11 grandchildren. Their 16th great-grandchild is due in two weeks.

Mr Mead always took part in sport, including cycle racing, soccer and trap shooting. He said Mrs Mead supported him by watching, making lunches and trailing cycle races in the car.

Originally a printer, he worked at his father's business, Bonds. Later, he was a Hamilton used-car dealer for 30 years.

Mrs Mead was a secretary at law firm Tompkins Wake before taking 26 years off work. She went to fill in for three weeks as Waikato Hospital ward receptionist - and stayed nine years.

The secret to their long marriage was doing things together and having the same friends, she said: "We've been lucky with our family and friends."

Their advice to young married couples: "Remain good friends and be interested in each other's interests."