Vaimoana Tapaleao

Vaimoana Tapaleao is the New Zealand Herald's Pacific Affairs and People reporter.

An intimate wedding at the Volvo Ocean Race

Groupama skipper Franck Cammas (centre) with Matt Playne and Ashleigh Kimber. Photo / Steven McNicholl
Groupama skipper Franck Cammas (centre) with Matt Playne and Ashleigh Kimber. Photo / Steven McNicholl

An Auckland couple who planned an intimate wedding with close family and friends are unlikely to get their wish.

Instead, thousands of people could be there share their special day down at the Viaduct today.

North Shore couple Matt Playne and Ashleigh Kimber, of Torbay, will tie the knot this morning in front of 90 guests.

Their reception is being held at the Floating Pavilion down at the Viaduct Harbour.

With only a few close friends and family invited, the couple, for the past year, have been planning a somewhat intimate affair.

But they didn't realise their wedding was during the Volvo Ocean Race stopover in Auckland and on St Patrick's Day.

Miss Kimber said: "When we first considered a date we didn't know about what today was or what was happening this weekend.

"This will be our one year anniversary, so that's why we wanted this date," she said.

The couple, who met at church, have been friends for about three years and have been dating for the past year.

Mr Playne said yesterday they were looking forward to a fun day.

"We've got 90 people coming so it's going to be a big party - but now it looks like it's going to be a really big party," he laughed.

Asked how it would feel to have thousands of people wandering outside and who might well catch a glimpse of their first dance, the couple laughed. Mr Playne said: "Yeah it's kind of weird."

Organisers of the Volvo Ocean Race found out about the couple's wedding reception taking place on what is tipped to be one of the busiest weekends in Auckland.

As some consolation and as a thank you for having to put up with thousands of people at their wedding reception, the couple were invited to join the Groupama Sailing Team on the Pro-Am Race yesterday.

Miss Kimber was given a small bouquet by skipper Franck Cammas, to practice walking down the aisle - in this case the yacht.

Miss Kimber said: "They didn't have to do this ... but this is just amazing. We are just so happy to be getting married."

- NZ Herald

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