Love and patience conquer Rarotonga same-sex marriage ban for Kiwi couple rewarded with dream Hawaiian wedding

They say good things come to those who wait, and Tracey Strachan and Ali McWatters have had a lot of practice at waiting this year.

In January, the couple won a prize to get married at Edgewater Resort in Rarotonga.

"I was a bit of of a maniac, Tracey leapt on stage. I just jumped straight up from my seat, she nearly cried," said Ms McWatters.

The promise of an all-expenses paid ceremony and reception for all their friends and family was a dream come true.

But when it came to book, the Edgewater wouldn't confirm their prize.

"I've tried emailing and phone calling but I've had no reply whatsoever," said Ms Strachan said.

Finally, the couple realised what was wrong. Same-sex marriage isn't legal in the Cook Islands.

Yet the prize conditions didn't say anything about it. 

"There's nothing in there no. We looked through the entry form that we put in, we looked through their booklet, we looked on the website, there's nothing," said Ms Strachan.

Five months on, Edgewater wasn't budging, and the couple were starting to wonder if getting hitched overseas was ever going to happen.

But with a little help from TVNZ1's Fair Go, the couple had a new prize presented for the only other place in the Pacific they could legally get married - Hawaii.

So, last month, armed with their big white wedding gowns, the women boarded an Air New Zealand flight to Honolulu.

They checked into their hotel courtesy of House of Travel, and then the big day itself finally arrived.

Surrounded by family and friends, the couple finally sealed the deal at the beautiful beach-front Hilton Chapel.

A happy ending - proof that love, and patience, really can conquer all.  

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