Life comes up roses
When Russell and Mary Parrish celebrated their marriage at the Parnell Rose Gardens 60 years ago it was a wet and miserable day.
But when they returned this month to mark the diamond anniversary of their union the day was much more conducive to a celebration.
The Epsom couple returned to the site of their nuptials last Thursday, 60 years to the day after saying "I do", and were even able to have lunch in the building they had their reception in.
Parnells on the Rose Garden was not open to the public but the function centre came to the aid of Mr Parrish, who had kept his plans for a romantic reminiscence as a surprise for Mrs Parrish.
It certainly worked, with Mrs Parrish pleasantly surprised that her husband could still pull out such a gesture after so long together.
It also helped bring back memories of the day itself.
"We had our reception here 60 years ago, except it was raining that day," she says.
"It was my mother's idea to have it here, she was very romantic and thought the guests would like walking in the rose gardens, but the rain was so thick we couldn't walk amongst them."
But their diamond day produced golden weather.
"We finally got the weather right."
The Parrishes were married on November 1, 1952 and say in some ways they never should have married.
Mr Parrish's parents had their eyes on someone else for him, and Mrs Parrish had left a fellow in Christchurch when she came to Auckland for nursing training.
They met at a dance organised by Mr Parrish's church and the local Scottish society and began a friendship there.
"That night was ladies night when the ladies had to ask the men to dance," Mr Parrish says.
"So these girls turned up and we danced with these various girls.
"Mary and I started just as partners to go out with."
Things soon changed and before long the bloke in Christchurch was history and Mr Parrish's parents had been told he would not be going with their choice.
They moved in together to the Epsom home they still share on their wedding day, and have five children and nine grandchildren.
Mr Russell jokes it was the children who kept them together.
"Neither of us were prepared to go off and take five children.
"But really we were fortunate in that we have similar likes.
"There are lots of things I do that irritate Mary, and she does things that irritate me too, but the things we disagree on are not major."
Moving in together was also an eye-opener for Mrs Parrish.
"When you see people before you are married they are on their best behaviour and you only know them so much."
But she says that it is only when relationships have been tested that they become true friendships.
Fortunately she and Mr Parrish passed those tests.