It all began on bended knee in the snow

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Gia-Dene and Jason Gardiner and their wedding party, Hector Gardiner, Sharmaine Hepi, Tipene Murray, Maia Bratton, Richard Still, Lana Smith, Rangi Lewis, Lisa Busby, Lyson Murray and Ariana Laing.
Gia-Dene and Jason Gardiner and their wedding party, Hector Gardiner, Sharmaine Hepi, Tipene Murray, Maia Bratton, Richard Still, Lana Smith, Rangi Lewis, Lisa Busby, Lyson Murray and Ariana Laing.

Jason Gardiner is obviously a traditional sort of bloke, so when it came time to propose to Gia-Dene Laing he did it properly, on bended knee - and in unparalleled style.

The Kaitaia couple now live in Perth where Jason, son of Stephen Gardiner and Viki Murray, works in the mines at Roy Hill, and Gia-Dene, a one-time employee at the Northland Age and daughter of Hongi and Georgina Laing, is a real estate property manager.

The pair were on holiday in France when he popped the question, having "smuggled" the ring through Dubai, Amsterdam and Italy.

They were at their favourite snowboarding spot, Serre Chevalier in the French Alps, with friends, and Jason rallied everyone for a ski lift to the top of Col Du Prorel.

"Under the ruse of a group photo we walked up to the lookout and took selfies, and on this sunny day, while it was snowing, he got down on one knee, at the top of a mountain in France and proposed in front of my closest friends and famz," Gia-Dene said.

"It was awesome!

"We then snowboarded down to the nearest bar and ordered French champagne and lamb cutlets. We ate and laughed and drank for the rest of the afternoon and partied into the night. It was absolutely perfect."

They were married a little closer to home, at the Copthorne Hokianga at Omapere.

"Whales in the bay, two bands, a DJ, fireworks, the meanest staff, amazing venue and the coolest guests on the planet," Gia-Dene said.

"The entire experience, from engagement in France to wedding at Omapere, was truly magical."

The couple are now looking forward to honeymooning in Hawaii, or maybe Las Vegas, in the next year, but in the meantime are busy at work and playing touch rugby. They formed Team Nook six years ago, now boasting more than 35 members with two teams playing in two social competitions in Perth, while Jason coaches an open mixed state team and Gia-Dene coaches an under-18 women's team. Both also play at state level.

"Getting a bit older and slower but still loving the sport," she added.

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