Jill Jefferies and James Dobinson.

Jill Jefferies and James Dobinson. Photo: Stacy Squires

After a five-year engagement and months of busking to raise funds, a New Zealand couple have become the first to be wed in Christchurch's Transitional Cathedral.

Jill Jefferies and James Dobinson, who both have Down syndrome, married on Saturday before about 100 well-wishers, family and friends. The couple had busked at the Lyttelton Farmers Market to raise money for the wedding, with Dobinson playing keyboard while Jefferies danced.

Their wedding was the first in the cardboard structure since its opening in August. The Transitional (Cardboard) Cathedral was erected after Christ Church Cathedral in Cathedral Square was badly damaged in the 2011 quake.

Made from nearly 100 cardboard tubes coated with waterproof polyurethane, the new Transitional Cathedral in Christchurch is expected to last for more than a decade while a permanent replacement is built.

Made from nearly 100 cardboard tubes coated with waterproof polyurethane, the new Transitional Cathedral in Christchurch is expected to last for more than a decade while a permanent replacement is built. Photo: Getty

Built from 600-millimetre diameter cardboard tubes coated with waterproof polyurethane and flame retardants, the cathedral is a simple A-frame structure that can hold 700 people.

Despite the unusual building material, it has a design life of 50 years, with the Anglican Church planning to use it as a cathedral for at least a decade while it builds a permanent replacement for the building lost in the quake.

The cathedral was designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban in conjunction with local architects Warren and Mahoney.

Mother-of-the-bride Margaret Jefferies said the busking money was a nice bonus with family, friends and the Lyttelton Time Bank all playing roles in helping create the couple's wedding.

"For them, it's a pinnacle of what they have always wanted to do," she said. "It went really well. I'm thrilled."

Jefferies said her daughter met Dobinson about eight years ago when they became flatmates. Love blossomed.

For the past five years the couple had lived by themselves.

It was "wonderful" her daughter had experienced the love of a partner as her four other children had, Jefferies said.

"They have had a day in the limelight and that's what they have been waiting for."

Dobinson said he was "really happy" to have married his long- time love.

The couple spent a night in Governors Bay for their honeymoon, but are hoping to go on another holiday in the future.

Stuff.co.nz