Wedding highlight for retirement village

Anita and Neil Stockhall cannot contain their happiness after their wedding at a retirement...
Anita and Neil Stockhall cannot contain their happiness after their wedding at a retirement village at the weekend. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
A Dunedin retirement village worker marked a highlight in the residents' entertainment calendar by holding her wedding there at the weekend.

Anita Hall and Neil Stock read their vows at Summerset at Bishopscourt on Saturday to become Mr and Mrs Stockhall.

Mrs Stockhall, who is the facility's activities co-ordinator, could not contain her tears as she walked through a back curtain into the main lounge, where about 100 people were waiting.

The couple's affection for the residents encouraged the two to find a way to get them involved.

They initially planned to get married at Woodhaugh Gardens and bus some of them in, but thought the logistics might be tricky.

Mr Stockhall then asked the manager if they could have the wedding at the village.

Mrs Stockhall said it "just went through the roof" from there.

The facility had held three wakes, but this was the first wedding, she said.

After the ceremony, she said she had been "crying all day".

One resident helped alter her dress and others with the setting up.

Mr Stockhall said he was just "blown away" by how his wife looked on the day.

Both his kilt and her dress were secrets to each other before the ceremony.

The latter was a reminder of their first "proper date" at The Distinction, in Te Anau, when they each went off, dressed up and met at the restaurant. She wore a ball gown and he sported a kilt.

The two met through online dating, first attracted to each other by a shared love of rugby.

Their first meeting was in June 2017, at the Mornington Tavern, where they watched the Highlanders beat the Lions.

His first proposal, in October last year during another rugby game, at The Bog, fell slightly flat, he said.

"It was all very loud and she couldn't really hear me. I think she thought I was joking."

She "made him do it again" and he successfully proposed at George St bar Zanzibar in February.

During a talent quest there, he staged winning a prize for the "loudest shirt" and popped the question while up on stage.

The two are in their 50s, have both been married before and have eight children between them.

Mr Stockhall works driving buses and tour coaches.

He was known for his "eclectic" dress sense, including a soft spot for steampunk, which kept her guessing before the ceremony.

"A couple of residents knew, but they kept the secret well."

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