01/06/2012 01:29 EST | Updated 03/07/2012 05:12 EST

Peter MacKay's Wedding Held At Seaside Chapel In Mexico

NEW GLASGOW, N.S. - Peter MacKay's wedding was held at a chapel overlooking the ocean in Mexico, but the defence minister says the ceremony nevertheless had touches of home.

In an interview with his hometown newspaper, the New Glasgow News, MacKay said the decision to marry Wednesday in Mexico at a private, civil ceremony was a mutual one between him and his wife Nazanin Afshin-Jam. He said they both wanted a personal and family-oriented ceremony.

"We were married by local Rev. Glen Matheson of New Glasgow, in a beautiful, quaint, traditional hillside chapel overlooking the ocean, " MacKay told the newspaper. "Our families and loved ones took part in the service."

The Central Nova MP said he spoke with the paper because he wanted to first share his news with his friends back home.

"Pictou County is my home and my family has lived there for five generations. I feel truly connected to the area and, as such, I wanted to share our happy news with our friends and neighbours first," said MacKay, 46.

He said the couple looks forward to calling Pictou County home and that the community has been welcoming to Afshin-Jam.

He said he proposed to his wife in Valentia, a little island on the southern tip of Ireland that is his great-grandfather's ancestral home.

Afshin-Jam, 32, garnered wide attention and acclaim in 2003 for her successful campaign to stop the killing of Nazanin Mahabad Fatehi, an Iranian teenager who was sentenced to death by stoning for killing one of three men who were trying to rape her and her niece.

The plea received a lot of attention because Afshin-Jam had just been crowned Miss World Canada at the time. She was subsequently named the first runner up in the Miss World contest.

She was born in Iran, but fled Tehran with her family following the 1979 Islamic revolution and immigrated to North Vancouver, B.C.

The couple is now enjoying a honeymoon, the paper reported.

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