Ursula Rochelle Kairua and David Teokotai Matapo, who both grew up in the same village in Titikaveka, met through mutual friends while living in Sydney.
“So we started speaking through Facebook, and after we were friends for three months we decided that we both wanted more than that,” Ursula said.
“And back in February, David proposed to me on Valentine’s Day which is also my birthday, and then said “should we get married on our anniversary?”
“At the time I thought it was a great idea, without really thinking about what a short timespan that was. So basically we are getting married today after putting the whole wedding together remotely over the past few months.”
The couple live in Darwin, in the far north of Australia but both work several hours’ travel away from the Northern Territory capital.
Ursula works at a gold mine between Darwin and Alice Springs, in administration, while David, who has worked all around Australia, now works on a military base.
“We’re building their facilities, like their communications room and their armoury. Like all the stuff you see in the movies,” David explains.
“And they’re understandably quite anal about things and they’re always keeping an eye on us. So if someone drops something while we’re pouring concrete, they make us stop so that it can be removed.
“Even if it’s just like a cap, they want to make sure that no one is leaving behind any bugs or listening devices,” he says, laughing.
As soon as they were engaged, the plan was immediately to get married back in the Cook Islands, although they initially weren’t sure whether it would be on Rarotonga or Aitutaki.
“Eventually we both settled on Raro as the best option. Because everyone that’s coming to the wedding is from overseas,” Ursula said.
“People from New Zealand and Australia, all over in those countries, it would make things a lot more convenient for them and for us. Plus, we grew up here, so it would be even more special for two people that met overseas to get married in the village that they both grew up in.”
Unfortunately, not everything was plain sailing once they decided to marry on Rarotonga.
“The place we organised with, we agreed on a set price, and then they came to us a month out saying that the cost would actually be significantly higher, so we had to change our plans,” David said.
“And because we were working remotely, outside of the country, we had to sort everything through our friend Robert, who lives here and was the one who organised everything for us.
“It was really difficult for me to keep in touch because at the military base, we had wi-fi but that was shared with 300 people, so it meant the connection was pretty slow.
“As a way to get around that I’d have to wake up at two in the morning and communicate with Ursula and Robert when everyone was asleep.”
Everything was eventually sorted, with the wedding to be held in Titikaveka and the reception to be at Coastal Kitchen.
“Jaewynn (the Coastal Kitchen owner) was a huge help for us over the past month; she really came through when we needed a place,” Ursula said.
“But looking back now, I think that we enjoyed the rush of having to do everything last minute. We didn’t want to be too organised, or then everything would be too calmed.”
They have known each other for three years and David and Ursula believe very strongly that they are prepared for what marriage brings, and that it is the right time for them.
“We believe that marriage was created by God, and coming through the church, we believe that it is the right thing for us to do,” David said.
Ursula said that they spoke with pastors and their parents, who helped them realise that marriage is what they’ve been building towards.
“Three years is the right time for us to make that covenant, that promise, to be together until death do us part.”