Colleagues of a Picton nurse have shown how much their friendship means after travelling almost 24,000 kms to attend her wedding.
Registered nurse Liya Joseph counts her workmates at Seaview Rest Home among her best friends.
But while she longed for them to be there when she tied the knot with husband Ronald Saju, she never dreamt that could come.
Seven Kiwis joined Liya’s lavish wedding party in Kerala in South India as the happy couple said “I do” in front of 1300 guests.
For Liya, it was a touching tribute.
“We never thought that they might actually be able to come. It was very special for us,”
“Picton feels like home to us and these people are like our family,” she says.
Liya and Ronald met while studying in India and were firm friends before they started dating.
“It was not an arranged marriage, it was a love marriage and our parents want it in traditional way,” Liya says.
Seaview Rest Home owners Donna and Jake Kreft chose Liya for her role from 35 other applicants.
Two years on and the decision has changed all their lives.
“It was such a privilege and we were absolutely touched to be asked.
“Liya and Ronald and their families were so wonderful and good to us and the whole trip had brought a lot of happiness,” Donna says.
Picton guests Bill and Raelene Rainbird, Gaylene and John Askin, Donna and Jake Kreft and Sue Haile spent two weeks in India.
They were invited to all the pre-wedding functions, dances and dinners and even to join the newlyweds on their honeymoon.
The women were measured for saris and the men donned traditional dress too.
Donna says the bride and groom organized everything for them.
“We are so full of all and privilege to have been there,” she says.
Dealing with 41-degree centigrade heat proved a trial for all but the visitors were determined to have a wonderful time.
“There were lots of tears of happiness when Liya got married,” says Donna.