Catherine Gaffaney is a general reporter based in Auckland.

Vows and ows! NZ wedding-day injuries

Wedding accidents leave taxpayers with $1m ACC bill in past five years.
'The weddings that end up in trouble are the ones where people start drinking early.' Photo / Getty Images
'The weddings that end up in trouble are the ones where people start drinking early.' Photo / Getty Images

It's meant to be a joyous occasion but for some hapless wedding-goers, the big day is blighted by injury.

ACC figures show more than 1100 claims have been made for injuries suffered at weddings in the past five years, costing taxpayers more than $1 million.

Several claims were from the set-up, including a hurt shoulder from lifting a wedding cake and a sore back from lifting the wedding dress.

Others were from the celebrations, including a hurt knee from dancing, a hurt tailbone from missing the chair when going to sit down, and injuries from being knocked into a chair.

One high heel-wearing guest made it through the day injury-free, only to twist her ankle walking across a gravel carpark as she left.

Auckland wedding DJ Stephen Buckley said he occasionally saw people hurt themselves on the dance floor, fall off tables or crash into things.

He once saw a man fall while dancing and crash into a lolly bar. The jars smashed and cut the man, who had to be taken to hospital by ambulance.

"Ninety-five per cent of weddings go really well," he said. "There's just that 5 per cent where you've got a strange uncle doing something jazzy."

He advised soon-to-wed couples to hold the alcohol until after the ceremony, have plenty of food and be careful who they invite.

"The weddings that end up in trouble are the ones where people start drinking early. If you get to the pre-ceremony and people have beers in their pockets, that's when you know it's going to be a wild night."

Meanwhile, marriage celebrant Kay Gregory said although she had only seen one bridesmaid fall over, she'd witnessed several near-accidents.

"Wardrobe malfunctions and just wearing a long dress and high heels that you're not used to can be potential for disaster," she said. "Back in the day, everyone got married in a church and you just had the aisle to contend with. Now a lot of couples like to do something a bit different.

"I went to a wedding at a farm recently where everyone came on the back of a trailer. Things can obviously go wrong if you're on something moving, or walking down a big hill or steps."

ACC claims for injuries sustained at weddings have totalled $180,441 in the year to date after a bill of $269,449 last year.

- NZ Herald

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