New Zealand’s former Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, finally crossed “walk down the aisle” off her to-do list, marrying her long-time partner Clarke Gayford in a small, private ceremony on Saturday. The couple, inseparable for a decade and parents to five-year-old Neve, said “I do” surrounded by dozens of close friends and family in the picturesque Hawke’s Bay region.
Their nuptials, held at the Craggy Range Winery on North Island’s east coast, mark the culmination of a love story delayed by the demands of public service. Originally set for 2022, their wedding plans were put on hold due to the strict Covid-19 restrictions imposed by Ardern’s own government. But with her resignation in January 2023, the path to happily ever after finally opened up.
The couple did not hire a professional photographer, but asked one of their guests to take some photos with their phone. They also did not have a wedding cake, but opted for a cheese tower instead. Ardern and Gayford are known for their down-to-earth and relatable personalities
In her final speech in parliament, Ardern told TV presenter Mr Gayford, 47: “Let’s finally get married.”
Details of the intimate ceremony remain private, but glimpses shared by the bride’s hairdresser paint a picture of joy and relaxation. Guests, including some of Ardern’s former cabinet colleagues, feasted on local delicacies like paua and snapper rolls, celebrating the union with Kiwi flair.
Ardern, ever the radiant leader, looked stunning in a fitted ivory dress designed by close friend Juliette Hogan. A long veil flowed from her chignon up-do, and her Mount Maunganui-made shoes added a touch of local personality. A cascading white bouquet completed her elegant bridal look.