A Whanganui bride-to-be thought her wedding plans were ruined when her father was unexpectedly hospitalised in Auckland.

Denise Vuletich was expecting her parents Phyllis and Eugene Vuletich to arrive in Whanganui for her August 18 wedding to John Simon.

Her Dargaville parents had booked an Air Chathams flight for August 16 but on Tuesday, a routine scan at Auckland hospital revealed some devastating news.

"My father who has been battling cancer went to the hospital for a routine scan where a new cyst was found in his airway," said Vuletich.


Her father was required to stay in the hospital for an urgent operation and follow-up radiation treatment.

"This news was devastating to them, to myself and my fiancé.

"Things just didn't feel right any more."

When Air Chathams customer services manager Gray Tinley heard of the family's plight, he sprang into action.

"He transferred Mum and Dad's tickets to us so we could fly to Auckland and back when it suited us," said Vuletich.

"We managed to travel up on Thursday, and back Friday and were married Saturday as planned."

Tinley said he was delighted things worked out in the best way possible for the couple.

"It really wasn't too much trouble to accommodate their needs.

"When things like this happen to people we respond in a way that makes life easier for them and as a smaller airline we can do that."

Vuletich and Simon's wedding went ahead at the Lucky Bar in Whanganui and the bride said the only change was that her oldest son, Tyrone Kent, walked her down the aisle instead of her father.

"Thanks to Air Chathams, we were still able to have our wedding and Mum and Dad didn't have to miss out."

Denise and John Simon at their recent Whanganui wedding.
Denise and John Simon at their recent Whanganui wedding.

The Gonville couple were joined at the celebration by their eight children and the groom said it was the kids who got the couple together.

"We first made contact on social media but it was our children who made sure we got to know each other and helped our relationship progress."

The newlyweds were serenaded by Whanganui musicians Willy Matthews and the groom's cousin Linaire Simon.

Air Chathams recently celebrated two years of flying customers on the Whanganui to Auckland route following Air New Zealand's shock departure from the city.

The family-owned airline now has its own kiosk at Auckland Airport and chief executive Duane Emeny said he had not heard about the Simon's situation but was pleased to learn that his company was able to help out.