'Dream come true' as same-sex couple denied their island wedding prize tie knot in Hawaii

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A Wellington same-sex couple rejected by an island resort after winning a wedding have finally had their dream ceremony become a reality.  

Anna Burns-Francis catches up with Tracey Strachan and Ali McWatters, who just wanted a perfect overseas wedding.
Source: Fair Go

In January, Tracey Strachan and Ali McWatters won a prize for a wedding ceremony and reception at Edgewater Resort in Rarotonga.

The couple spent months trying to contact the resort to book in a date for the event, but no one would return their calls or emails.

"It’s almost like they've just discarded us," said Ali.

They were finally told there was an issue with the fact same-sex marriage isn’t legal in the Cook Islands – something the couple weren't aware of.

"We looked through the entry form that we put in, we looked through their booklet, we looked on the website – there’s nothing," said Tracey.

Strachan and McWatters were beginning to think they'd never be able to get hitched overseas.

But after approaching Fair Go, their fortunes turned.

The couple were shouted to a dream wedding and holiday in the only other Pacific spot (other than New Zealand) that offers same-sex weddings – Hawaii.

They flew to Honolulu courtesy of Air New Zealand, and had seven nights at the Holiday Inn thanks to House of Travel.

And they also had the wedding day they could only have dreamed off – thanks to wedding planner Julie Aragaki and the Hawaiian Tourism Authority.

The pair were married on the sandy shores of the Hilton beachfront chapel in front of family and friends.

"It’s a dream come true," said Ali.

"We couldn’t have asked for anything more, thank you so much," she said.

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