Wedding prize surprises couple

ANNA WILLIAMS
Last updated 08:35 06/06/2014
Maia Palmer
DEREK FLYNN/FAIRFAX NZ

OVERDUE WEDDING: Ward couple Kieran Hickman and Michelle Cassidy pictured outside their old home on their farm on Taimate Rd, with children, from left, Jonty, 5, Harriet, 18 months, and Louis, 3. The couple will be celebrating this year after winning a wedding.

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A Marlborough couple who lost their home after last year's earthquake will tie the knot after winning their dream wedding.

Ward couple Michelle Cassidy and Kieran Hickman have been together since meeting at a Christchurch pub 14 years ago. Six years ago, Hickman popped the question then the couple found out they were expecting their first child, Jonty, now five.

They started to plan their wedding a few times, but life kept getting in the way. Their house on their Taimate Rd farm needed to be fixed up, and then along came their other children, Louis, 3, and Harriet, 18 months.

"We were always making plans," Cassidy said. "We knew we were going to get married, but life sort of happened, and then the next Monday started."

They'd finally settled on a date for early 2014, but a series of natural disasters wiped any tentative plans off the table.

In June last year, a storm hit Ward and the east coast of Marlborough, with winds reaching more than 225kmh. They are still repairing the damage on the farm.

In July and August, two earthquakes struck Marlborough, hitting Ward and Seddon the hardest.

Marlborough District Council building inspectors deemed the family's double-brick farmhouse at Springdale Farm unsafe to enter and cordoned it off. It is to be demolished later this year.

Just down the road the house of Hickman's elderly parents, Tom and Aileen Hickman, might also be red stickered.

It was a stressful time for all of them, Hickman said.

The young family moved to a rented house in Ward and put wedding plans on the backburner as they focused on building a new home on their Taimate Rd property.

But on a girls' weekend in Kaikoura, Cassidy discovered she could be walking down the aisle sooner than she expected.

Her best friend from Christchurch had entered her in a competition organised by Renwick wedding planner Alysha Hutchison, who had teamed up with Marlborough businesses to give a deserving couple their dream wedding.

The couple had been named as one of five finalists out of 35 entries.

After an interview with wedding celebrant Heather Sorensen, they were told on Wednesday they had won.

The couple was shocked to have been chosen.

"We thought there would be way more deserving people out there than us," Cassidy said.

"I mean, we're all good, our children are healthy, we don't have a lot to complain about."

Hutchison, who organised the competition, said the couple were chosen for being a "down to earth true Marlborough family".

Almost everything has been covered, including a celebrant, wedding dress, hair and makeup for the bride, music, a photographer, and wedding transport, but rings, bridesmaids outfits and men's suits were still needed.

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- The Marlborough Express

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