A populare seaside horse race has been pipped at the post by a couple who booked the picturesque beach venue for their wedding.
The Karekare Horse Race is in its 27th year and was scheduled to take place at the West Auckland beach on March 23.
However, when event organisers began to publicise the date, they were told Albany couple Amy Speck and Greg Cramond had already secured the sands for their nuptials.
Race representatives approached the couple to ask about sharing the beach for a few hours but were politely turned down, bride-to-be Speck, 34, told the Herald on Sunday.
"The organisers were very nice about it and offered us to have the horses in our wedding pictures," she said. "Unfortunately, it would be just too noisy and we have 60 guests coming."
The fundraising race day has been shifted to April 6. There are only limited days in the year with the low tide at midday.
Speck, an administrator at her fiance's electrical business, booked the beach for the 3pm ceremony in July through Auckland Council. She said Karekare Beach was special to the couple, who met on an internet chat site and have been together for 3 years. Speck's father Bruce used to be a surf lifesaver at the beach and her future husband used to walk the area as a youngster, she explained.
"I spent a lot of time at Karekare when I was growing up.
"I am hoping our celebrant can marry us at an old stone building my dad used to tell me was a witch's house. My only worry is the creek there might be high so I won't be wearing a long dress in case I have to wade through water to get my pictures taken. We have also told our guests to dress casually."
Race organiser Caroline Grove insisted there were no hard feelings about the date switch.
"Wires got crossed and we discovered a wedding was booked on the beach the same day as the horse race and beach carnival," Grove said.
"We didn't want to risk ruining a bride's dream event so we whipped out the tide tables and shifted the date to the next weekend with high tide at an appropriate time."