Suiting up in black for a special day

By Teuila Fuatai

Cruden suits up in familiar colours to marry his long-time sweetheart

Aaron Cruden and his groomsmen get ready for the big occasion.
Aaron Cruden and his groomsmen get ready for the big occasion.

Suiting up in black isn't unusual for All Black Aaron Cruden, but yesterday's occasion was special for a different reason.

The first-five made it official with his sweetheart Grace King in front of a congregation of family and friends, including a host of All Blacks and Chiefs players.

The Manawatu couple met when they were 18. A year later Cruden was diagnosed with aggressive testicular cancer.

King, a sports teacher, supported him through a recovery that culminated in his starring role in New Zealand's Rugby World Cup victory.

Cruden turned 25 this week, and celebrated with a white wedding under a blue sky.

Aaron Cruden and Grace King exchange rings during their wedding ceremony.
Aaron Cruden and Grace King exchange rings during their wedding ceremony.

The couple invited about 200 guests to their wedding on a rural property on the outskirts of Palmerston North.

The groom was flanked by four black-clad groomsmen wearing bow ties.

His bride, wearing a mid-length veil off her face, chose dark lavender gowns with low-cut backs for her bridesmaids.

Among the guests were All Blacks Aaron Smith, Sam Cane, Owen Franks and Brodie Retallick.

Cruden's Chiefs teammates Gareth Anscombe and Robbie Robinson also attended, as did Hurricanes flanker Victor Vito.

Security staff, said to have been flown in from Auckland, tried to keep onlookers away.

Most guests were bussed in on chartered coaches.

Those who arrived in private cars were all checked through by security guards.

For the service, they were seated on covered haybales.

Cruden and King, who now live in Hamilton, have reportedly signed a cash deal with a New Zealand women's magazine to publish photos of their special day, but those pictures will not run for at least another week.

Last night, the couple hosted a reception for their guests at a marquee further up on the property, catered by local chef Ruth Pretty.

- Herald on Sunday

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