In the middle of a global pandemic, one mum is trying to help her daughter get married.

Ariah-Bella Peters planned her wedding two years in advance and set the date for April 11 this year.

Without knowing it, she'd chosen to tie the knot on the same date both sets of her great-grandparents had wed.

But New Zealand's self-isolation rules made it difficult for her Perth-based family to travel to Auckland for the wedding.

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Kiwi-born mum Naomi Peters said she anticipated Australia would follow suit with self-isolation directives.

"We were only coming back to New Zealand for nine days, so I said to my husband, "The only way we can do this is if we leave 14 days before the wedding".

"I expected Australia would impose a self-isolation, so that would mean we'd be off work for another 14 days when we returned - work commitments were limiting that."

She feared her husband and three children would get stuck in New Zealand if the situation worsened.

"It was all getting a bit uncomfortable, so I just made the call that we weren't going. I had to make the call to daughter and tell her. It was very upsetting for everyone.

"The next day Australia imposed isolation for travellers."


After giving her daughter some time to process it all, Peters told her to go through ahead with the ceremony on the planned date if she wanted to.

"I said, "If you still want to get married then, get married. We know that excitement, it's a lovely thing and we don't wanna stop you doing that'.

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"I know how excited I was to marry her dad," she said. "I know what it's like, that excitement to marry the love of your life, and I just wanted that for my daughter."

Ariah-Bella and her fiancee spoke to a celebrant about their options. With two flatmates in their bubble that could act as witnesses, it seemed possible.

Christchurch central MP Duncan Webb told Peters that - as he read the Marriage Act - only the formalities of the wedding ceremony needed to be in the presence of the celebrant, the couple could technically wed while observing social distancing.

The couple could even hold a brief, if unromantic, ceremony in their driveway, as long as the witnesses and celebrant could witness and communicate it.

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But their celebrant was then told weddings couldn't be performed under the lockdown, Peters said.

She hopes an online ceremony of sorts could happen, with the celebrant tuning in to watch the couple sign the official documents.

"Because we've all had the sadness of knowing we wouldn't be there in person, any silver lining would mean a lot."

"They understand the circumstances and are willing to do what they have to, to support the lock down. If it's a no, then that's the situation.

"But if they can get married, then maybe it'll have a ripple effect of happiness."

One mum hopes her daughter's big day can still go ahead. Photo / 123RF
One mum hopes her daughter's big day can still go ahead. Photo / 123RF

With the pandemic taking a toll on the physical and mental wellbeing of everyone, it would brighten the day of those in a similar situation, Peters said.

"If you strip it back and remember what a marriage is about, it's about two people coming together because they love each other.

"And if you can make that happen in any way, as a mum your gonna make it happen."

The Department of Internal Affairs has been contacted for comment.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website