Jacinda Ardern marries ‘First Bloke’ Clarke Gayford in stunning vineyard ceremony: All our exclusive photos from the political wedding of the year – plus the hidden message in her white dress

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Written By Maya Cantina

EXCLUSIVE 

New Zealand’s former Prime Minister Dame Jacinda Ardern has tied the knot with her longtime fiancé Clarke Gayford in a lavish wedding surrounded by friends, family and politicians.

The nuptials were held on Saturday afternoon at Craggy Range vineyard in Havelock North in the heart of New Zealand’s Hawkes Bay.

Dressed in a white halterneck gown, Ardern, 42 donned a sheer white full-length veil – remarkably similar to the one her mother Laurell wore when marrying her father Ross Ardern 47 years ago.

Ms Ardern arrived from her adjoining accommodation by a 4WD vehicle before walking through the vines shaded from the sun by an entourage holding umbrellas.

The nuptials took place under a large tree alongside the vineyard, the former politician shaded by a bridesmaid holding an umbrella to keep her cool throughout the ceremony in high temperatures.

New Zealand’s former Prime Minister Dame Jacinda Ardern has tied the knot with her longtime fiancé Clarke Gayford in a lavish wedding surrounded by friends, family and politician

Dressed in a white gown, Ardern, 42 donned a sheer white full-length veil - similar to the one her mother Laurell wore when marrying her father Ross Ardern 47 years ago

Dressed in a white gown, Ardern, 42 donned a sheer white full-length veil – similar to the one her mother Laurell wore when marrying her father Ross Ardern 47 years ago

Ardern arrived from her adjoining accommodation by a 4WD vehicle before walking through the vines shaded from the sun by an entourage holding umbrellas

Ardern arrived from her adjoining accommodation by a 4WD vehicle before walking through the vines shaded from the sun by an entourage holding umbrellas

The nuptials were held on Saturday afternoon at Craggy Range vineyard in Havelock North in the heart of New Zealand's Hawkes Bay

The nuptials were held on Saturday afternoon at Craggy Range vineyard in Havelock North in the heart of New Zealand’s Hawkes Bay

The star-studded soirée was a Who’s Who of New Zealand society, including Dame Annette King, the New Zealand High Commissioner to Australia; celebrity chef Peter Gordon; and Labour opposition leader Chris Hipkins and his partner Toni Grace.

From 2pm, guests began arriving at the sprawling estate, some arriving by luxury vehicle and others in coach with blacked out windows.

Each guest was required to provide security with their full name as well as photographic identification before being allowed through the venue gates.

There was a heavy police presence due to several protesters with signs who still blame Ms Ardern for vaccine-related illnesses and lockdowns during the Covid era.

Hours before guests were due to arrive, a male protester holding a sign reading ‘Lest we forget jab mandates’ was seen patrolling the outskirts of the lavish property.

Another protester was seen brandishing ‘death signs’ featuring photos of New Zealanders who supposedly died from vaccine side effects as a result of mandates. 

A marked police car was seen driving up and down the country road on which the vineyard is located.

Speaking to Daily Mail Australia from nearby Te Mata Peak, a local mum-of-three, who did not wish to be named, said she was shocked there weren’t more protesters picketing the former PM’s wedding.

Pictured: a lone anti-vaccine protester near the wedding venue shortly after 9am

Pictured: a lone anti-vaccine protester near the wedding venue shortly after 9am

Craggy Range Winery (above) is in lockdown mode as protestors and police converge on the property

Craggy Range Winery (above) is in lockdown mode as protestors and police converge on the property

‘She’s not the person the world media have put her up to be,’ she began.

‘In New Zealand she’s referred to as “JABcinda” with her vaccination and lockdown agenda.’

A female protester was later seen at Craggy Range holding a placard reading, ‘This s*** is bananas’ while playing anti-mandate propaganda on a large boombox.

The slew of protesters hasn’t come as a surprise to locals who say rallies were increasingly common in the last year of Ardern’s prime ministership.

Demonstrations included violent mass protests against vaccine mandates, which culminated in a stand-off outside Parliament House, and a spate of death threats made against the former PM.

‘I wouldn’t be surprised if someone puts a sign at the top of Te Mata Peak (overlooking Craggy Range) in protest of Jacinda’s big day,’ a Māori local said.

A marked police car was seen parked at the summit of Te Mata Peak.

Several private security guard vehicles have also been seen coming and going from the picturesque venue. 

Protesters (one above) have gathered outside Craggy Range holding signs and playing anti-mandate propaganda on a large boombox

Protesters (one above) have gathered outside Craggy Range holding signs and playing anti-mandate propaganda on a large boombox

Anti-vax mandate protesters (above) swarmed Jacinda Ardern's wedding venue ahead of her nuptials to Clarke Gayford

Anti-vax mandate protesters (above) swarmed Jacinda Ardern’s wedding venue ahead of her nuptials to Clarke Gayford

Clarke Gayford and Jacinda Ardern (above) will tie the knot at Craggy Range winery today

Clarke Gayford and Jacinda Ardern (above) will tie the knot at Craggy Range winery today

The electric gates of the vineyard are closed, with a security guard standing nearby letting suppliers and staff in.

The ceremony comes almost a decade after their first date – and two years on from an earlier planned wedding which was scuttled by Covid-19.

The venue – described as the ‘most Instagrammable vineyard in the world’ – includes outdoor umbrellas alongside an outside bar as well as a large white tipi-style marquee where the post-wedding dinner and fine wines will be served.

Craggy Range was booked out by the happy couple from Friday, including exclusive use of the accommodation and award-winning restaurant.

The guest list is set to feature many of Ardern’s former colleagues in the now-opposition Labour Party, including party leader and fellow former PM Chris Hipkins and wife Jade who were spotted staying at a nearby motel.

It’s understood Grammy Award-winning singer Lorde will entertain attendees.

British singer Ed Sheeran had previously expressed interest in performing at the wedding but couldn’t due to a schedule conflict.

The wedding day comes after Friday’s intimate wedding rehearsal celebrations at a neighbouring property.

The couple and their friends and family have remained extremely tight-lipped about details of the wedding with the venue considered the ‘worst kept secret’ in NZ.

A marked police car (above) was seen parked at the summit of Te Mata Peak, which overlooks Craggy Range

A marked police car (above) was seen parked at the summit of Te Mata Peak, which overlooks Craggy Range

Ardern and Gayford were extremely tight-lipped about their wedding details but the venue (above) was considered the 'worst kept secret' in NZ

Ardern and Gayford were extremely tight-lipped about their wedding details but the venue (above) was considered the ‘worst kept secret’ in NZ

Preparations for the star-studded nuptials ramped up on Wednesday when workers arrived to set up the large marquee opposite the vineyard’s manicured gardens.

By Thursday, the marquee was fully erect with large tables for diners to enjoy the winery’s famous food, which has earned two hats in the Cuisine Good Food Awards.

The venue’s current summer menu includes venison tartare, roasted Hohepa halloumi, pan-fried local fish and glazed lamb shoulder.

It’s understood Ardern travelled to Hawke’s Day earlier this week. She was spotted on Wednesday with 12 other women at nearby Hastings Distillers.

Top Kiwi designer, and personal friend of Ardern, Juliette Hogan is rumoured to be in charge of the former PM’s wedding dress.

It’s believed Ms Hogan will also attend the ceremony as a guest.

Reality TV star and celebrity hair stylist Tane Tomoana is understood to be styling Ardern’s hair on the all-important day.

He previously styled Ardern’s hair for her appearance on the cover of Time magazine. 

Dan Awha, creative and fashion director at Viva and style editor at Canvas, said he has high hopes for Ardern’s wedding ensemble.

Jacinda (pictured second right) hosted friends at a lavish nearby property on the eve of her wedding

Jacinda (pictured second right) hosted friends at a lavish nearby property on the eve of her wedding

‘Jacinda’s fashion style is well documented, and she’s always been keen to support New Zealand designers,’ he told the NZ Herald.

‘She knows what works best for her and has fostered some special relationships with the best in our industry including Kiri Nathan, Juliette Hogan and Kate Sylvester.

‘Her style is contemporary and minimalist at heart, so her wedding dress will reflect this. I’m sure Clarke will also be wearing something smart, clean-cut and complementary too.’

Flowers for the event have been created by Field of Roses, a small floral design studio in the Waingake Valley, outside of Gisborne.

ᴀʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ

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