Kiwi couples are getting married at Beervana in Wellington

Plenty of modern-day weddings are moving out of churches and into spaces such as gardens, barns, beaches, and even mountain tops - but have you ever thought about tying the knot at a beer festival?

Alongside hundreds of craft brews, this year's Beervana has offered Wellington punters the chance to get married.

"We'd talked about getting married before, so this isn't a new thing. We do things on the cuff," newly-married Dan Smith told Newshub.

For Mr Smith and his wife Judy Horsburgh, the opportunity to get hitched at New Zealand's biggest beer festival was just too good to pass up, as it marks the anniversary of when they moved to Wellington, and they both love craft beer.

They became the first couple to get married at Beervana on Friday.

"It certainly wouldn't have been a traditional wedding, in any sense," says Ms Horsburgh.

Dan and Judy say they were never going to have a traditional wedding.
Dan and Judy say they were never going to have a traditional wedding. Photo credit: Newshub

"There'd have been no cake to cut or anything, if we did do it. So this works perfectly for me. Except [there's] 4000 people here!" says Mr Smith.

The couple has been together for twelve years, but two weeks ago they weren't even engaged - until they saw a Facebook post from Wellington brewery Garage Project.

"I was thinking, 'I wonder... I wonder if we did' and it was after dinner and I thought 'what if she says no, I'm gonna get cranky!' And we sort of thought about it, and thought 'why not?'" says Smith.

It's a love story borne from adversity. Last November, Garage Project killed off one of its flagship beers, the Vietnamese mint, mango, and chili flavoured Death from Above, after someone called its name hurtful, and complained its label mocked the Vietnam War.

"It's not what we wanted from the beer. Beer should be fun, so that wasn't a fun experience, we just stopped brewing the beer, made that decision straight away, and it went away," says Garage Project co-founder Jos Ruffell.

But after some reflection (and a lot of requests) Garage Project has brought the beloved IPA back - with the same initials, but a different name - and a new theme.

Dan and Judy have been together for 12 years.
Dan and Judy have been together for 12 years. Photo credit: Newshub

"We thought we could bring it back in a way that's respectful, and more about what we want that beer to be. So it is DFA: 'Demus Favorum Amori' - "We Choose Love, We Stand for Love," explains Mr Ruffell.

And it's celebrating the beer's return and love theme by offering Beervana punters the chance to get married - celebrant included. All the couples needed to do was register their interest with Garage Project, and provide a marriage license.

"I think it flowed from that idea of 'what's a great party?' And it's always a wedding reception," says Mr Ruffell.

So along with the 347 beers from 66 breweries on offer at Beervana, there'll be four weddings (and hopefully no funerals).

"We're doing four ceremonies, one per session, and we've got two vow renewals on top of that per session as well, so we're gonna be busy!" Mr Ruffell says.

And the best thing for the newlyweds? The reception drinks are already good to go.

Newshub. 

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