Benjamin Paulo sleeps on a guest's shoulder during the
marriage ceremony of his parents, Jesse and Lafoaluga
Paulo, at the Otago Community Hospice in Dunedin yesterday.
Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
Love conquers all.
Never has that been more true than during a special wedding
in Dunedin yesterday, when 21-year-old Lafoaluga Paese
married her sweetheart Jesse Paulo at the Otago Community
Mr Paulo (28) has terminal cancer and just days to live, so
yesterday morning the couple decided to exchange vows before
it was too late.
The 6pm ceremony in the hospice gardens was attended by their
13-month-old son, Benjamin, dressed in a suit, and witnessed
by about 30 relatives, friends and hospice staff.
It was an emotional celebration of Mr and Mrs Paulo's love
for each other, and was made possible through the generosity
and support of many individuals, businesses and
While Mrs Paulo shopped for wedding rings in the morning, an
envelope was passed around hospice staff to raise money for a
marriage licence, which was obtained just in time.
Elite Bridal Wear loaned a wedding gown and a bridesmaid's
dress for Mr Paulo's sister, Emma. Ace Suit Hire took care of
the men's attire.
Photographer Samantha Hobson volunteered her services, and
Simply Flowers by Donna gave bouquets and provided a floral
archway. Money donated to the hospice by the late Keiri
Samuel paid for a chocolate wedding cake, on top of which
were two teddy bears hand-made by a Dunedin woman.
Pesamino-Solomona Tili, of White Doves Dunedin, supplied
three white doves which were released by the best man and
bridesmaid at the end of the ceremony, which was conducted by
hospice spiritual care worker the Rev Russell Thew.
Lonestar supplied food, as did hospice staff and guests.
Mrs Paulo thanked all involved, particularly those from the
''I'm just really grateful for everything everyone's done to
make this day possible. We've been thinking about it [getting
married] for a while, but things didn't pan out the way we
planned,'' she said.
Mrs Paulo met her future husband in Melbourne about two years
ago. He became sick soon afterwards. They lived in Australia
until October when Mr Paulo returned to Dunedin, where his
family lives, followed by Mrs Paulo and Benjamin last month.
Mr Paulo went into the hospice on Friday. He asked that
photos of the ceremony be kept private.