Nelson mayor Rachel Reese and her husband Richard Harden.

Mayor married at the Suter


You couldn’t accuse Nelson mayor Rachel Reese of not keeping at least one of her campaign promises, after she tied the knot on Friday evening.

At Rachel’s re-election launch at the Boathouse in August, she finished her speech with the promise to marry her partner of 12 years and campaign chairman Richard Harden, after the election.

“You’ve made it possible for me to succeed,” she said at the time. “And I promise you, as soon as this election is completed, we will find a weekend to get married.”

That weekend was the one just gone, with the pair married at the Suter Art Gallery in front of 70 close family and friends, on January 27.

Rachel says the wedding plans were a “whirlwind” with it all coming together in a matter of weeks.

“We had a brilliant wedding day and we couldn’t be happier. We asked our friend Bishop Richard Ellena to marry us and he made our day very special for everyone who attended.”

The vows were exchanged at 5.30pm on Friday, and Rachel confirmed that she will be taking her new husband’s surname.

“Yes, it is Mr and Mrs Harden – for my personal life. Professional life stays with Rachel Reese for a little while longer.”

Rachel says her highlight was the best man’s speech, delivered by Richard’s son Joel. “It had everything, plenty of laughs and tears.”

The newlyweds plan to honeymoon at their favourite camping spot in a tent before Rachel returns to run the city next week.

And for the record, the wedding was planned with the help of Kerry Aitken Solutions, Kate Coote at the Suter, Alison’s Bridal, Sarah at Willow Flower Design, Amber and Michelle at Hair in the City and Katrina and chef Cathy at the Suter Café. Musicians Carolyn Harvey and Tamsin Leenhouwers played during and after the ceremony and later in the evening Katrina and Her Band of Men got the dance floor underway before the Groomsman’s wedding party mix got everyone on their feet.