It could have been Rotorua's equivalent to a royal wedding, but popular politician Tania Tapsell and her new husband, Kanin Clancy, opted for exactly the opposite.
The couple have announced they eloped to Queenstown on December 1 last year.
With the bride dressed in a classic strapless white wedding gown, Tapsell and Clancy took a helicopter to the top of a mountain in Queenstown and got married. The pilot and a photographer were the only others there.
So why the secret?
"We wanted to do it our way with no fuss and just focus on what's important and that's our love for each other," a still beaming Tapsell told the Rotorua Daily Post.
Last year was an eventful one for the Rotorua Lakes councillor, who stood for National in the East Coast electorate. Tipped to take it out given the seat was a National stronghold, she fell victim to Labour's popularity and was beaten by Kiri Allan.
Tapsell said it was against her values to "use a wedding for any political gain" and tying the knot in private felt the right thing to do, despite many of their friends and supporters hoping for a big wedding and celebration.
"We are fortunate to have so many great friends and supporters but what made us happy was just being able to share a special moment together in private."
Tapsell, 28, described her 39-year-old husband, who works in biosecurity at the Port of Tauranga, as a "gentleman", who sought her hand in marriage by asking permission from her father. The couple then shared their plans with their immediate family members and got their stamp of approval.
"My parents were just over the moon, my family love him and both of our families understood that getting married like this was perfect for us and suited us.
"We are both quite humble people so felt uncomfortable having an extravagant wedding at a time when so many people are struggling to get by."
She said they had made plans to get married at the end of last year but Covid threw everything up in the air.
"We put it on hold but by the end of what was such a big year for us, we decided actually 'what's the point of waiting? Let's go away and get married."
Tapsell, 28, was first elected to the Rotorua Lakes Council when she was 21 and has stormed in as the most popular candidate in the two elections since.
She said one of the reasons their families gave their blessings was because the couple were often in the public eye doing things for others, but their wedding was purely for them.
They choose Queenstown because it had always been on their bucket list. They stayed at the Stoneridge Estate, and jumped in a helicopter and got married on the top of Cecil Peak overlooking Lake Wakatipu and other mountains.
Such was the laid-back nature of the nuptials, the night before the event they realised they didn't have any vows.
"So we went down to the pub and had a last-minute beer and wrote our vows for the next morning. That was classically us, it was quite cool."
With only a photographer and the pilot as witnesses, they said their vows, drank some champagne and spent some time up on the mountain.
"It was breathtaking up there. We both love the outdoors and being on top of such a beautiful mountain, on a perfect day with the clear lake below was just a memory I'll never forget."
Tapsell said she found her dress at Madison Rose Bridal in Tauranga.
"I've never believed in this until it happened but when I put it on, it fitted like a glove and I just had that 'omg this is the one' moment."
There was no fuss when it came to hair and make-up, Tapsell saying she did it herself - although her hair took a few YouTube tutorials to master.
She described their marriage as the "worst-kept secret" because after coming back from their 10 days in Queenstown - carefully scheduled between council meetings - she said she couldn't hide her excitement.
"People would see me and they would literally say 'oh my God, you're glowing' so it became very hard to not just blurt out 'I just got married'. I was so excited and the word got around quickly."
And while we are pressing Tapsell for as many details as possible, the burning questions about their future plans had to come up.
Now living back in Rotorua after being based in Maketū, she wouldn't budge on her central government political aspirations, saying she would make a decision closer to the time.
But having children was definitely on the cards.
She described her new husband as a "wonderful package deal" because he has a 9-year-old son, Kaiarahi.
"I'm blessed to also have this incredible boy as my stepson. I just love him so much."
But as for now: "We are in no rush and we are enjoying our time together as newlyweds."