Christchurch comes together to help couple wed after blaze


One Christchurch couple is refusing to let the Port Hills fires get in the way of their upcoming nuptials.

Mary Beech and Andy White have been planning their wedding for the past year. This week they've had to scramble and juggle those plans, after their ceremony location was caught up in the fires.

Mr White said they were actually at the airport picking up family when they looked out the window and saw the hills ablaze.

"We realised then we might have to reschedule and think about what we're going to do," he said.

The outdoorsy couple had chosen a secluded spot in the Port Hills, just up the road from the Sign of the Bellbird, which has been covered in smoke this week.

Ms Beech  said the location was particularly special - the spot where they had their first kiss and also got engaged.

With family and friends flying in from the UK, US, and Antarctica, rescheduling the wedding wasn't an option.

But the couple has been overwhelmed with support in the difficult circumstances.

"Our celebrant was just a couple of houses away from the fire line and even he was more concerned about our wedding than his own house. So I think the community spirit here has just been amazing," Mr White said.

They received offers from Mona Vale homestead and Ferrymead Heritage Park as possible wedding locations.

They've now settled on a quiet spot in the Botanic Gardens and say staff there helped ease their stress.

"They were fantastic. Even being a calm head when I was sort of panicking maybe a little bit. Yeah, those guys were just brilliant," Ms Beech said.

Some of their friends have been busy fighting the fires and others were evacuated from their homes so Saturday morning's wedding will be a time for all to relax and enjoy the happy occasion.