Ex-New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern ties knot with partner Clarke Gayford

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New Zealands former prime minister Jacinda Ardern poses with husband Clarke Gayford on after tying the knot on January 13, 2024. — New Zealand Herald via Felicity Jean Photography
New Zealand's former prime minister Jacinda Ardern poses with husband Clarke Gayford on after tying the knot on January 13, 2024. — New Zealand Herald via Felicity Jean Photography

New Zealand's former prime minister Jacinda Ardern and her longtime partner Clarke Gayford finally tied the knot in a private ceremony on Saturday after cancelling their wedding plans due to the strict COVID-19 controls imposed by the government.

Ardern, 43, and Gayford, 47, had scheduled their wedding for early 2022 after getting engaged in May 2019 but had to postpone it due to the pandemic, according to Reuters.

Finally, after a five-year engagement, the couple's wedding took place in Hawke's Bay at Craggy Range Winery on the North Island's east coast, approximately 310 km (190 miles) north of Wellington, according to an Ardern spokesperson.

Ardern, who became a global icon for left-leaning politics, was seen smiling wearing a white halter-neck dress in official photos alongside Gayford who donned a black suit.

The couple's five-year-old daughter Neve walked down the aisle with her father, wearing a dress made of fabric from her grandmother Laurell Ardern’s wedding dress, the New Zealand Herald reported.

New Zealands former prime minister Jacinda Ardern poses with husband Clarke Gayford on after tying the knot on January 13, 2024. — New Zealand Herald via Felicity Jean Photography
New Zealand's former prime minister Jacinda Ardern poses with husband Clarke Gayford on after tying the knot on January 13, 2024. — New Zealand Herald via Felicity Jean Photography

The bride arrived surrounded by several people holding umbrellas under the warm Hawke’s Bay sun. At 4 pm, she walked down a 30-meter-long aisle, as music played behind her from a secluded vineyard.

The ceremony ended just after 4:30 pm, with cheers from the guests enjoying the ceremony and the warm weather filled the air, making it a memorable event.

Ardern and Gayford, now husband and wife, could be seen mingling with the guests ahead of the reception.

According to the news site Stuff, the pair's special day was attended by some 50 to 75 guests. The guests included opposition leader Chris Hipkins, Ardern's successor as prime minister, the New Zealand Herald said.

Ardern who also became a global icon for women in leadership as prime minister from 2017, gave her final speech in January last year, where she told Gayford, a New Zealand television presenter, "Let’s finally get married.”