The last words newlyweds Jan Schlesner and Susann Lasch heard before they leapt into the sky 16,500 feet above Motueka were "Go now in peace and love".
That was the final sentence of their wedding ceremony that had just been performed by Richmond marriage celebrant Lester Oakes in a skydive plane on Saturday. He then followed the couple out of the plane but unlike the couple he was strapped to a tandem master.
The German couple had met while learning to skydive and decided they wanted to marry in a skydive plane. Since regulations prevented them from fulfilling their dream in Germany, they cast around for another location and settled on New Zealand.
The couple are at the beginning of a six-week tour around New Zealand that is doubling as wedding and honeymoon.
It cost them several thousand dollars for Abel Tasman Skydive in Motueka to deliver their dream, including taking over the skydive base for part of the afternoon, obtaining their New Zealand skydiving registrations, champagne and a wedding cake, but the couple said it was well worth it.
They wore custom-made jumpsuits, the groom's in black and the bride's in white, with matching helmets and gloves. Embroidered on the leg of their suits were the words "Jan und Susi NZ Feb 2013". The ceremony took place in the skydive plane, including the exchange of rings and signing the wedding registry.
Their wedding proposal happened at a parachuting jump site, also, in Germany, when Jan was teasing Susann by saying "You'll never ask me to marry you".
She called his bluff: "Well, do you want to marry me?"
"Are you serious?" said Jan.
"Yes, of course."
Before their wedding they were both nervous but not about the skydive.
They were concerned they might forget the words to their vows.
Skydive Abel Tasman owner Stuart Bean said a skydive wedding was a first for his company and, as far as he knew, a first for New Zealand.
Mr Oakes said it was "strangest place, without a doubt", where he had officiated a wedding but his job was to deliver the ceremony couples wanted.
Susann said their families were sad that the wedding was to happen so far away, meaning they could not attend, but they would celebrate again in Germany in six months time.
In the meantime, they have a movie of their ceremony and jump and a memory of taking their leap into marriage, literally.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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