With the alert level 4 lockdown banning us to our homes for more than three weeks now and event restrictions prior to that, many weddings across the region had to be canned or postponed.
New Zealand Registrar-General Jeff Montgomery advised last week that people should only get married if they stay in their bubble and that all Ministry of Health guidelines prevail.
Celebrants should not travel to marry a couple and are not legally obliged to do so.
Montgomery also dismissed the idea of virtual weddings as the couple, a celebrant and at least two witnesses have to be physically present for a legally binding ceremony.
But now were are moving to level 3 next week, weddings can only have 10 people attend.
For Kamo couple Francesca Taylor and Nicolas Smith getting married before or during the lockdown wasn't an option.
The pair were meant to have their big day on April 11 but had to call off the celebrations.
"We made the decision a couple of weeks before the lockdown. My partner's family and my best friend wouldn't have been able to come because they live overseas. It certainly wasn't easy for us," Taylor said.
The couple had planned a budget wedding at Matapōuri Beach and had even prepared all the food themselves.
"We are currently working our way through the soft drinks. Luckily the food we made is frozen."
Both had a drink together that Saturday, calling it their "almost wedding day".
"Once we get married, we can celebrate two wedding anniversaries."
Annaliese White and Daniel Barber from Whangārei found themselves in a similar situation with 120 wedding guests on their list.
When Covid-19 started to impact life in New Zealand, the couple scaled the celebration down to 30 people with only family and the closest of their friends.
"We got excited again and replanned a whole new wedding," White said.
However, when the lockdown announcement came, both knew even those plans would fall through.
"It was really hard to watch (Prime Minister) Jacinda's announcement. There were definitely a few tears."
Yet, it was the right call to make: "If any of our guests had fallen ill, we would have never forgiven ourselves."
She said both their photographer and celebrant were incredibly supportive and luckily most of their arrangements with vendors could be postponed until next March without much trouble.
On their planned wedding day, the first Saturday of the lockdown, White put on her dress – without revealing it to her husband-to-be – and had a glass of wine.
Fiance Daniel Barber said it was sobering and disappointing to see months of planning going up in smoke. However, he was looking forward to their wedding next year and, most of all, married life.
But it's not only engaged couples who are affected by the lockdown rules – for many wedding vendors the season ended prematurely.
Evelyn Laybourn is a wedding planner and said even though we are approaching the end of the wedding season, March and April were still busy.
"I had four weddings cancelled. Wedding planners, celebrants and florists have to deal with the emotional side of things – some brides are really upset and cry on the phone."
She said even before the lockdown came into place, everyone was walking on eggshells with some vendors not wanting to expose themselves to any risks.
"Even if you start the wedding with everyone keeping their distance … by the end of the night it's a contagious germ environment," Laybourn said.
The challenge for the next season will be juggling appointments from postponed and newly registered weddings.
"The new season starts in October, and it will be busy. It's hard to schedule these all weddings, but we're trying our best to honour them all – especially those who have already paid their deposit. We are in a bit of a limbo at the moment because we get all these queries, but few want to commit because no one knows when this is over and when the overseas travel restrictions will be lifted."
Dave Hookway and AJ Kopa, from the Far North, had their wedding planned for Easter Saturday but had to call off the ceremony and their honeymoon to Cambodia and Thailand.
While many postponed their plans, some couples couldn't be stopped by the pandemic and exchanged vows against all odds.
"Me and my lovely wife got married in the driveway," Chris Nahi from Whangārei said.
Pastor Aaron Halvorson from the Arise Church wed Nahi and his now-wife Judyanne Kerrigan with plenty of distancing from the other side of the garden fence.
Initially, the couple had set their date for April 18 and considered cancelling their wedding. But Nahi said it wasn't the Lord's will to let the coronavirus get in the way of their marriage.
"It was just us in our bubble with our five kids. Judyanne's oldest son walked her down the aisle," Nahi said.
Nahi streamed the ceremony live on Facebook to share the moment with friends and family from New Zealand, Australia, England and Thailand who couldn't attend. The video has more than 1300 views.
Once travel restrictions are more relaxed, the newlyweds will go to Thailand for their honeymoon.
Monique and Jasher Drake will also have to wait to go on their honeymoon but married life has also started for them.
The couple rescheduled their entire wedding – initially planned for April – after the Government announced the lockdown.
"We got married seven hours before lockdown," Monique Drake said.
Initially, they were set out to exchange vows in the Bay of Islands in front of 120 guests from here and overseas.
The couple didn't want to wait another year or so to get married and downsized their wedding to about 10 guests with Jasher Drake's father being the celebrant.
"We even managed to convince our grandma's rest home to let me see her in my wedding dress – at a distance of course – which was so special."