Chloe Rolleston never imagined she'd be wearing gumboots when her partner popped the question.
After shaking off her unusual choice of footwear, Chloe joined almost 700 people who wed in the Bay last year during a surge of ceremonies.
According to new data from Statistics New Zealand, 685 couples married in Tauranga/Western Bay of Plenty in 2014, an increase on marriages in 2013 though fewer than five years ago.
Chloe said she had always thought about marriage - but the proposal took her by surprise.
"We were both each other's first serious relationship," she said. "We'd talked about marriage, but I wasn't expecting him to propose on that particular day.
"If I'd known he was going to propose, I wouldn't have worn gumboots!"
Chloe, 21, a social work student, and Elisha, 23, an alternative education teacher, were married on December 20 last year.
Nationally, there were 20,125 marriages last year - 888 more than in 2013.
There were 19,639 opposite-sex marriages and 486 same-sex marriages.
A further 2507 opposite-sex marriages and 391 same-sex marriages were registered to overseas residents.
It was the first full year of same-sex marriage registrations since the Marriage Amendment Act came into effect in August 2013.
Members certainly noticed fewer civil unions taking place. There was quite a number of couples who came from Australia to get married here because same-sex legislation hasn't passed there yet.
The number of same-sex civil unions dropped significantly in 2014, with couples opting to marry instead.
Only 19 same-sex civil unions were registered to New Zealanders in 2014, down from 121 in 2013, while there were 277 more same-sex marriages last year than in 2013.
Meanwhile, 8171 married and 63 civil union couples divorced in 2014. Just over one-third of couples who married in 1989 had divorced before their 25th wedding anniversary.
Couples must be separated for more than two years before they can divorce, therefore no same-sex marriages have formally dissolved.
Celebrants Association president Elizabeth Bennett said several factors affected the number of marriages.
"If you compare the rate of marriage 20 years ago to now, it's decreased," she said.
"A lot of people are delaying when they get married. Women are having a more prominent role in the workforce, people travel more than they used to and so on."
The association had noticed the uptake in same-sex marriages, she said.
"Members certainly noticed fewer civil unions taking place. There was quite a number of couples who came from Australia to get married here because same-sex legislation hasn't passed there yet."