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Slovakian couple get married in Taiwan due to volcanic ash delay

2010/04/21 12:15:06

Taipei, April 21 (CNA) Love has proved more powerful than avolcanic eruption as a central European couple have gotten married inTaiwan after being unable to return to Europe for their wedding thathad been planned for April 24.

The 32-year-old Juraj Hegyi married Zuzana Marcekova, whom he hasbeen in love with for 13 years, Tuesday at the Orchard Park Hotel innorthern Taiwan's Taoyuan County.

The hotel is not far from Taiwan's main international gateway,Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, where many passengers have beenstranded after their flights to Europe were canceled because of avolcanic eruption in Iceland.

None of the couple's family members were present at wedding, butmany local residents, hotel staffers and other European travelerslike Hegyi and Marcekova stranded in Taiwan were on hand to help thecouple celebrate their marriage.

Hegyi, a physician from Slovakia, and Marcekova, 31, a radiologytechnician from the Czech Republic, were taking a trip through Asiaand had planned to return home for their wedding in Slovakia on April24.

They had visited Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong before flyingto Taiwan for a transit stop before heading on to Europe, but by thattime, the ash drift spread by the volcano had already shut down airtravel over the continent.

Marcekova said they had to cancel the wedding they had plannedfor more than a year after learning their flight home would bepostponed indefinitely. That realization sent Marcekova into tears,according to hotel staff.

After learning of the couple's story, hotel founder and chairmanLi San-lian decided to organize a wedding ceremony for them within aday.

Dozens of hotel staffers and workers were summoned to assist thecouple in purchasing wedding rings, arranging a ceremony andselecting a wedding gown.

With all of the couple's new Taiwanese friends and her love forher husband, the "volcanic eruption was nothing, " said the brideafter the ceremony.

The wedding was based on a traditional Christian ceremony --singing Christian songs, reading bible passages, and exchanging rings-- and was witnessed by Christian minister Kao Tien-yuan from ChungYuan Christian University.

Family members of the couple watched the ceremony via videoconference. Expressing his gratitude, Hegyi said the passion of theTaiwanese people and the hotel's assistance saved them from feelingregret for the rest of their lives.

"Life is full of surprises. Taiwan will be a memory that we willnever forget, " he said.

(By Chiu Chun-chin and Elizabeth Hsu)