Seven years after first seeing each other on the bus and being too shy to speak, James Dobinson and Jill Jefferies walked down the aisle as the first couple to be married at Christchurch’s Transitional ‘cardboard cathedral’ in November last year.

“We didn’t communicate at all at first,” says Dobinson from their home in Lyttelton: “We just sort of looked at each other.”

The couple’s relationship blossomed when they ended up flatting together with another friend, and it’s just been a matter of time since then before they got married.

Jill’s mother Margaret Jefferies says the pair always wanted to get married, and once their financial support situation was sorted out—it was all go.

“You always wanted to get married though didn’t you, it was sort of me that stopped you at first,” she says to Jill.
James and Jill took to the streets to crowd fund the wedding, playing piano at the Lyttelton Farmer’s Market on Saturdays while Jill danced—it’s a habit James has continued for ‘some pocket money’ and the fun of it.

The Lyttelton Time Bank—a community initiative where locals give up their time and expertise across a range of topics and industries in return for the services of other members—played a huge part in the planning and execution of the wedding. Everything from the cake, ring cushion to Jill’s hair and make-up, the 50s Bentley and driver was organised through the community.

“We’re all members of the Time Bank, so we ask each other for help… We shared skills and it’s measured in time, so you pay in time credits.”

Margaret says there was none of the drama usually associated with the stress of organising a wedding.
“The wedding was really easy because they both want a really nice wedding, but they weren’t Bridezillas. It was busy but it actually flowed pretty well the whole time,” she says.