When all you want to do is marry the love of your life, why let an imminent nationwide lockdown stop you? Journalist Kelly Makiha finds out how a Rotorua couple dropped their plans for a dream wedding to experience something even more special.
Clutching roses from Countdown, Kate Badcock-Coutts walked down the hallway arm-in-arm with her father towards the love of her life, James Coutts.
Not even a world pandemic and imminent lockdown of our country could keep the besotted Rotorua couple from cementing their love and becoming husband and wife.
Kate, a lawyer, and James, who works in the financial department at Rotorua Lakes Council, were supposed to marry on April 18 before 135 friends and family from all over the world.
But as Kate heard Jacinda Ardern's words on the radio announcing today's
lockdown , tears flowed down her cheeks knowing her dream wedding was no longer a reality.
She messaged James and the couple decided then and there, "let's do this".
Kate ducked into Countdown and grabbed a cake, two bunches of cheap roses and some wine and with a few hours their wedding was all on.
"I just wanted to call him my husband. If I was going to be in lockdown, I wanted to be in lockdown with my husband."
The couple used Zoom, an online meeting programme, to link with family and friends.
About 20 people sat in their own lounges, some holding their own glasses of champagne, and watched the wedding unfold in their couple's Rotorua lounge.
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Kate said she was thrilled James' 8-year-old son, Liam, who was to be the "best boy", could still take part via Zoom.
He attended the ceremony online wearing his St John cadet uniform with a buttonhole corsage.
"I said a vow to Liam as well that I will always love him like my own because when I
got together with James they came as a team."
Kate's wedding dress was still with the seamstress so she borrowed her sister's blush pink and navy Marchesa Notte gown and James already had his wedding suit.
They already had their rings and marriage licence so they were good to go.
"It was very ad hoc. We'd quickly strung up some lights and moved some furniture but it was so filled with love," Kate said.
She said they had planned a dream wedding and it would still go ahead at Rydges once the Covid-19 crisis was over.
"It was really special. I am just so pleased that I woke up this morning and he was my husband ... This is definitely something we will tell our grandchildren."
James described it as a "whirlwind".
"I just wanted to marry Kate, she is the love of my life."
Postponing their "familymoon" to Disneyland, which they had planned with Liam, was hard.
"When I broke the news to him and saw his bottom lip drop, that made me a bit teary and I was thinking nothing was going our way. But then everything just fell into place and aligned."
Wedding celebrant Peter Duncan said he was happy to take care of the nuptials at the last minute.
"I thought it was the most romantic thing I'd ever heard of - these two beautiful people willing to forego everything... just so they could say 'I do'".