The men's hut at the Ten Star Redoubt was the venue for the first marriage in Cambridge on 28 March 1865. The ceremony was performed by J Welsh Collins BA, the Church of England chaplain to Her Majesty's Forces.
Lambert William Loveday was a 27 year old private in the 3rd Waikato Militia who had been stationed in Cambridge since July 1864. He was a labourer born in Middlesex England and may have joined the militia for the tempting offer of free land after three years service.
His bride was Adelaide Vogel. Her family and friends would have been hard pressed for decorations with only fern and manuka to work with, but it must surely have been 'an occasion'.
William Craig, a widower aged 33, travelled to Hamilton on 29 July 1865 to marry Mary Ellen Bourke. Mary was a widow, age 22.
William was another militia man - a stonemason from Ireland who had been in Cambridge for three months. He later sold his one acre town grant in Queen Street to the Wesleyans for their church but stayed and farmed his 50 acres until 1916.
The school house (then at the redoubt in Fort Street) was the scene for the third wedding in August 1865. Richard Maxwell gave his daughter, Georgina aged 19, in marriage to Thomas Beresford, a potter aged 21.
Georgina soon became a widow and married again on 25 July 1869 to Frederick James Lawrence. They celebrated their diamond wedding in Onehunga in 1929.
Home weddings were common but Annie Friers and William Robertson made the trek to Hamilton in 1868 to marry in the Presbyterian Church.
The first church wedding in Cambridge was between Elijah Beere and Ellen Kingdon in the Wesleyan Chapel 14 March 1873.
In Cambridge's first ten years the average was four weddings a year - keeping in mind that married couples arrived within that time.
Up until 1900 there were 175 church weddings, 173 home weddings and 40 at the Registrar General's office. Three grooms were in their teens compared with 66 brides, but on the other end of the age scale, 12 grooms were over 50 years compared with no brides. There were more widowers than widows who remarried.
Researched and written by Eris Parker
Ref: Cambridge Museum Archives
Registrar General, NZ