As the church bells rang for the wedding of John and Priscilla Mitchell the siren of the local fire station rang too and the brigade rushed to the front of the church to pump away floodwaters.
Torrential rain had fallen just hours before their wedding in Takapau, leaving guests unable to enter the church where they were supposed to tie the knot.
The couple, who have called Whanganui home since 1970, celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary on Thursday.
"I remember it very well, I was up at 3am the morning of the wedding digging drains in the yard so the water could flow out to the paddock," Priscilla said.
"We had the fire brigade pumping the water outside the church so we could get into the place."
The couple met in the small Hawke's Bay town in 1957, when Cromwell-based John was transferred to the local Post Office.
"I was pretty happy to move to the Hawke's Bay," John said.
"You would've been - you met me," Priscilla laughed.
At the time, John was a clerk, and Priscilla worked on the telephone exchange.
One thing led to another, and before long they were dating. Eventually, the question of marriage was floated and accepted. July 22, 1961 was to be the day.
Priscilla was 24 and John 25.
Two children were to follow while in Takapau, before John was promoted to Postmaster at the Brooklyn Post Office in Wellington two years later, by which point another child arrived.
"We were there for seven years in Brooklyn, and then we were transferred to Whanganui East in 1970," John said.
Whanganui is where the couple have been ever since, staying loyal to the Post Office.
John and Priscilla continued to work for the Post Office in Whanganui East, albeit in different parts of the building.
"He never once came out for lunch with me, and we were there 10 years," Priscilla laughed.
"He used to go to the supermarket and when the girls at work saw him, they'd say 'here he comes with his flowers', but he was just getting a stalk of broccoli for lunch."
The marriage has been a productive one.
The couple had three children, Maria, Joanne and Kerry, and now have 14 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren - with one more on the way.
"It's lovely to see them grow up."
The pair don't have any secrets on how to keep a marriage going for so long, other than working together.
"We've just lived our normal lives really. We've always worked together. Whoever was home first got the tea. Things like that, we worked together," says Priscilla.
"We've had a few bits and pieces in between of sickness and that. But we're very lucky to have made it.
"The years just go by. For us, it's just another year."
As for the celebration, the couple say it will be a low-key affair, with family and friends set to join the couple for a meal at their St John's Hill home.
"I'm not cooking it, we're bringing it in, so I don't have to do anything. I can't wait."