It wasn't your normal love story - with a series of "unexpected events" leading to the wedding of Hastings councillor Kevin Watkins and Carina Lai on Saturday.

With Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule as Mr Watkins' best man and Carina's sister Tammy Lai as her maid of honour, the couple were married at St Matthew's Anglican Church with the reception at Elephant Hill.

The wedding was lovely but small, Mr Watkins said, with just 50 guests who came from China, Singapore, Malaysia and all around New Zealand.

The couple were engaged in October, after meeting three years ago.


Mr Watkins said their relationship "started through a chapter of unexpected events which ended in a really happy way".

"Or rather, it was the ending of the beginning," he said.

Three and a half years ago, a communication mishap meant a busload of Chinese tourists from Auckland found themselves in Hawke's Bay with no accommodation or events planned.

Through his council portfolio, Mr Watkins has ties with the Chinese community and is actively involved with Hastings' sister city in China, Guilin.

Because of this, the group's organiser got in touch with Mr Watkins and he became their tour guide for the weekend, showing them "the highlights of Hastings District".

Six months later, he was scheduled to fly to China but had to postpone the trip after a "medical hiccup".

The night he was originally meant to fly out, the same organiser rang him and asked him to act as tour guide again for her and her three friends - one of whom was Mr Watkin's future wife. "It was like it was meant to be," he said.

It would be back to work for the newlyweds today, with their honeymoon postponed until things quietened down around Christmas time, Mr Watkins said.