Cabinet minister Paula Bennett may be partial to leopard-skin and shocking pink shoes but she toned it down for her wedding on Saturday at Piha beach.

She wore a white dress - just above the ankle - and white shoes, with a mauve chiffon shawl, but kicked off her shoes afterwards for photos.

"Yesterday in Piha, Alan and I got hitched. Spectacular day, Piha at its best," she said on her Facebook page yesterday. "I'm so happy, my wedding was amazing."

She and her staff are being coy about confirming the name of the groom but he is thought to be an old flame. She is friends with Alan Philps on Facebook.


Caucus colleague and Associate Justice Minister Chester Borrows was the celebrant. Her daughter, granddaughter and stepdaughter were the attendants, wearing purple frocks and canvas sneakers.

A picture of the big event appeared online at Piha Village Voice yesterday. A spokeswoman from the site said about 70 to 80 people attended the ceremony which was on the beach with a "lovely rainbow" in the background.

The rest of the party was at a private property on Piha and went on past midnight.

Ms Bennett posted a picture of herself and her new husband walking into the sunset on her Facebook page, prompting hundreds of "likes" and dozens of congratulatory comments within the space of a few hours - including several which questioned whether she'd be taking on a new surname or if the groom would instead become Mr Bennett.

Her daughter Ana Lee Bennett said: "LOVE U lots was such an awesome perfect day".

It is the first marriage for the 43-year-old Social Development Minister who was a solo parent at age 17.

She went on to study at Massey University and worked as Murray McCully's electorate secretary. She worked in recruiting before getting into Parliament in 2005, and being appointed a minister when National came to power in 2008.

National has had a rash of marriages since returning to government. Lockwood Smith and Nick Smith married last term and Tau Henare last month.


-Staff reporters