Couple marry during severe hailstorm

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Dec 14, 2023 |

Just married. Connor and Caris. Image: Libby Ellmers Photography.

Imagine getting married during the great hail storm of 2023.

That’s exactly what one Canterbury couple did this week, with wedding guests and vendors unsure they would even make it to the wedding on time.

With their Ohoka wedding venue Rosemount Park Estate all set up for Caris and Connor’s 11am garden wedding ceremony on Tuesday, a wild weather front was moving up the country, and the dark clouds started rolling in.

Rosemount owner Meris and her team quickly moved into action, bringing all the wedding items inside the permanent marquee while the heavy rain and hail was thrashing down from the heavens.

Bride Caris told Chris Lynch Media, “We were so surprised with the weather on our wedding day! It definitely made it so much more memorable. We got to our venue early and the sky was still clear. At that point, we were still unsure if the rain would hold and we could get married outside.”

“About 20 minutes before our ceremony it hailed so much it looked like snow. I was getting ready in the bridal suite with my parents and we couldn’t believe it,” Caris said.

Meanwhile, the wedding vendors and guests travelling west along Tram Road towards the venue were sheltering in their cars under trees.

Celebrant Kineta Booker said, “It was the first time in my celebrant career that I genuinely thought I wasn’t going to make it to the ceremony. The severe hail storm made it almost impossible to see, so here I was, in my car under tree cover, when a bolt of lightning struck right in front of me — that’s when I realised being near a tree was possibly the worst place to be in that moment.”

Booker made the decision to keep moving.

“My heart was thumping in my chest and the hail was hammering down so hard I thought the windows and windscreen would shatter. All I could think was — as long as I keep the marriage paperwork dry, it doesn’t matter about anything else, so I drove like a snail until I made it to the venue,” Booker said.

At the end of the ceremony, just as Booker was presenting the couple for the first time as Mr and Mrs, a long, very loud clap of thunder rang throughout the countryside.

The couple’s photographer Libby Ellmers said, “As a photographer it showed me that no matter the weather on your special day, all that matters is that you’re marrying your best friend, your person, your love, and that’s all that matters at the end of the day.”

Caris said, “It was so crazy but yet magical. Connor and I wouldn’t change a thing about our wedding day; it was so special.”

Hail, thunder and lightning outside, joyful ceremony inside. Caris and Connor with celebrant Kineta Booker. Image: Libby Ellmers Photography.

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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