A South Taranaki couple have a wedding tale to tell the grandkids after ferocious weather destroyed their wedding marquee at the weekend.
Despite the marquee being "ragdolled like a piece of paper in the wind" on Saturday night, some tipsy men were able to rescue the bride's wedding dress and "what beer they could" before the whole thing came down.
Brendon and Claire Walsh said "I do" on a beautiful, sunny Friday, but the extended reception was continuing at their Kaponga property on Saturday night when the weather hit.
About 30 people were in the marquee at the time.
"It didn't come until about 10.30 at night," Brendon said.
"We were all just enjoying ourselves ... out of nowhere a big gust of wind came out."
Poles and pegs were ripped out of the ground and the marquee started to lift. The men present threw themselves on the pegs, trying to hold the marquee down, but were getting lifted metres into the air and thrown up, Brendon said.
They soon realised there was nothing they could do, and evacuated, but they remembered Claire's dress was being displayed in the marquee.
"One of the boys braved up and ran back in there, saved the dress, which was the most important thing I think."
Some of the other men took the opportunity to dash back in a rescue "a bit of grog" before the marquee was totally pulled apart by the wind.
"Luckily no one got hurt."
The couple had hired the marquee, and said the owner's insurance covered the destruction.
"The marquee owner, he reckons in his 25 years he's never seen nothing like it."
The marquee was designed to withstand wind gusts up to 120km/h, he said.
Parts of the marquee came close to blowing into the house as well.
All the women had "played it safe" by retreating to the house, while the men, who were "a little bit tipsy" tried to secure it, but in the end, the marquee "just go ragdolled like a piece of paper in the wind".
Everything inside the marquee had been blown around as well, but most of the clean-up had been taken care of. All that was left was broken glass in the paddock, which would take a while to absorb into the ground, Brendon said.
Despite the drama, the couple are making the most of it.
"Definitely something I'll be able to tell the grandkids," Brendon said.