Geoff and Chrissy Hawtin wanted to get married on a day they would not forget.
So, they took a leap of love and tied the knot on February 29, 1992 at St Mary’s Church in Oamaru.
And their wedding was memorable for several other reasons than just it being on a leap day.
“Just before the wedding, my daughter cut her fringe right off. I was running around town looking for a hat for her,” Mrs Hawtin said.
“Then my dad left our wedding rings in the caravan.
“But it was a nice day. We got married at the church and then went up to Lookout Point for our photos, then we just had a get-together, drinks and a party afterwards.”
Tomorrow, the Hawtins celebrate their seventh wedding anniversary, even though they have been married 28 years.
The jokes about “only having to remember your anniversary every four years” were easy to make, but for Mr and Mrs Hawtin, having such a rare day made it all the more special.
As for celebrating, “we only celebrate on the 29th”, Mrs Hawtin said.
Every four years, they make sure they both have the night off work and do something special.
This year, Mrs Hawtin suspected her children and husband had planned something, but they were not giving anything away.
“They’re not saying much,” she said.
Mr and Mrs Hawtin had been friends for several years before they became a couple in September 1989.
“There used to be a group of us that kicked around together,” she said.
“When we were both separated, things just started.”
Mrs Hawtin knocked on Mr Hawtin’s door one night, because her son needed to use the bathroom and she did not want to use public toilets.
“Then he asked me out – and that was it,” she said.
Mr and Mrs Hawtin have five children, three from previous relationships and two of their own. They care for two grandchildren and have welcomed many foster children into their home over the years.
After spending 17 years working nightshift as a caregiver, Mrs Hawtin now works at New World in Oamaru’s North End. Mr Hawtin has been working for Canterbury Spinners for 35 years.