Groom's anguish after bride dies in wedding tragedy

By Lincoln Tan

As they prepared to leave their wedding reception, Quiong Mao should have been in the car with his bride.

Instead, he offered to drive home a guest who had had too much to drink, saying he would meet his new wife, Yan Liu, at their home. It is a decision Mr Mao says he will regret for the rest of his life.

Ms Liu never made it home - killed in a car crash on Thursday night hours after she walked down the aisle.

Mr Mao broke down in tears last night as he told the Weekend Herald: "I should have been in the same car with my wife, but the car already had four people so I said I would take another friend home first. I wish things could be different ... "

The couple were married at Beach Haven Anglican Church in front of about 40 friends. The party then went to a reception dinner at the Jade Terrace restaurant in East Tamaki.

When he arrived home and found his bride not there, Mr Mao tried to phone her.

When he finally got through to one of the wedding guests, he was given the shattering news that his wife of barely a day had been killed in a crash.

Ms Liu died when the 2003 BMW in which she was a passenger crashed about 11.15pm.

Last night, the two other passengers were still in hospital. The driver was treated for minor injuries.

"I was told my friends are in hospital, but why is it that it is my wife who lost her life?" Mr Mao said.

He will not even have pictures of the last night he shared with his wife, because the camera that contained the wedding images was destroyed in the crash.

Rescue workers arriving at the accident scene - at the intersection of Carbine Rd and Southeastern Highway in Mt Wellington - found the passenger side of the BMW entirely torn off.

Ms Liu, who was sitting behind the driver, died in the vehicle.

Friends say Mr Mao, 28, has been inconsolable since receiving the news.

"Quiong hasn't stop crying ... and no matter what we do, I don't think it will be enough to comfort him," said Bin Li, a friend of the couple, who was also a guest at their wedding dinner.

He said Mr Mao and Ms Liu were from different parts of China - he from Hunan and she from Xian.

They met in New Zealand and had dated for a year before deciding to get married.

Ms Liu, a childcare worker, wanted a typical New Zealand wedding.

But the couple had also planned to return to China for a "grand wedding celebration" next year - which was why their parents did not come to the New Zealand ceremony.

Beach Haven Anglican Church vicar Lorraine Lloyd said the bubbly 26-year-old bride telephoned out of the blue, wanting to be married within a week.

"I came and met her with her brothers, then I met her fiance. Then they came back a couple of times and we did a couple of rehearsals together.

"I would say to my husband when I came in after being with them what a real little honey she was."

Mrs Lloyd said Ms Liu had been eager to experience a New Zealand-style wedding. She had worn a white dress.

"They wanted to do everything that was European ... even to walking down the aisle and using the Here Comes the Bride music. Then they were going to go home to China and get married again with her family.

"They loved being here. They were just a really, really nice couple."

- additional reporting David Eames and Elizabeth Binning

- NZ Herald

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