Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love, what is unique about you and your relationship:

Mark and I both work in advertising, Mark is a creative and I’m in client management. We met at work about 6 years ago. Mark was always such a sweet, happy, goofy guy we gravitated towards each other pretty easily and became fast friends.

It wasn’t until a year after we met, on a classic night of after work drinks where the light in the club hit his beard just right and the rest was history 😉

We both spent a large part of our childhoods born overseas, I was born in California and Mark lived in Mali, Ghana and Indonesia as a kid. So through this we both have a love of exploring. We love travel and to get out into nature. Whether it’s hiking one of the Great Walks, skiing, heading out for a surf or running around with our dog Scout.

I think working together at the same agency at the beginning of our relationship set us up so well for the future. We learned how to listen and be respectful of each other and communicate well. It also helps to have such a good understanding of the other person if going through as work is such a big part of our lives.

Tell us about your special day, was there a specific theme or style? Tell us a little about the setting, the styling and some of your favourite details:

We were lucky enough to be able to get married in Taupo at Mark’s family’s property. Mark’s grandmothers home is at the top of the property and his Aunt & Uncle live at the bottom, so we used the beautiful gardens and old tennis court in between the two house for both our ceremony and reception. Taupo is such a stunning location for a wedding no matter where you hold it, but to be able to do it at a family home, where Mark’s dad grew up and where we’ll continue to make wonderful memories was so special.

Marks grandmother has a stunning garden and so we tried to keep everything fairly simple to really allow that beautiful setting sing. It really was a classic garden party with aperol spritz, lawn games and amazing canapes from No Biggie. Then our amazing marquee from Flagship Events was the most epic setting for everyone to party into the night (I don’t think we stopped until 2am!)

We both really wanted to work with people we know and trust to bring the day to life – both working in a creative industry we know the power of finding the best creative partners and just letting them work their magic. All of our suppliers were amazing and quite of few of them were friends or have now become friends through the planning process.

We got engaged during the first lockdown in NZ in April 2020, so we did all of the planning through COVID. It was pretty hectic and there were lockdowns either side of our wedding which definitely added a lot of stress. But working with such amazing people and our incredible friends & family kept it fun and they did wonders at keeping us positive and calm.

Tell us about your main outfits:

Emily: My taste is quite simple and classic but leans a bit modern so I wanted my dress to reflect this, while keeping a little bit of wow. Alice at Hayes Bridal was amazing. She totally understood what I was after from the start and was such a perfectionist. Even when I was happy with the dress she was still suggesting little tweaks and improvements to make sure it was perfect. I’m also so glad she talked me into a veil, it was the icing on the cake that really made me feel like a bride.

My shoes, accessories and flowers were where I wanted to add some texture and colour. I had an amazing pair of Loeffler Randall gold bow heels. My earrings were custom made by Jems of Remuera and were gifted to me by my mum as a wedding present which was so special. I also carried a beaded bag of my mums that she’s had since she was my age. Then my mum carried a bag of her mother’s as well so she was there in spirit.

The flowers we had on the day were INCREDIBLE. Isabel from Isadia is an old school friend of mine and I knew she would know it out of the park. The bouquets she created were so fresh, modern yet whimsical.

Mark: Marks suit was from Working Style – the team there are amazing, so thoughtful and attentive. He went with a tan colour for his suit and the groomsmen as it felt really modern and summery. It was also a beautiful cotton which meant it was nice and light for the hot summers day. He paired it with RM Williams boots which he’d been wanting for ages and I got him as a Christmas present prior to the wedding. His wedding ring was a gorgeous brushed gold from Zoe & Morgan, simple and classic but with a modern feel.   

What were some of the most memorable/unique moments from the day:

One of the most incredible things about our day was the number of people who made the effort to travel from overseas and go through quarantine to be at our wedding. Two of my bridesmaids and a number of guests all did this and it made us so grateful to have such incredible, generous friends and family.

But unfortunately for some of our overseas guests travelling and isolating wasn’t an option, particularly all of my family in the USA. So one of Mark’s groomsmen, who also couldn’t make it back form the UK, secretly organised for all of our absent friends & family to record messages for us and edited them into a video for us. Mark knew about the video too and they surprised me with it right after we did our speech. I totally broke down in tears watching it and it was so special.

Any advice for other couples planning to spend the rest of their lives together:

One thing Mark and I focussed on was keeping it fun and stress-free. Your wedding symbolises the joy & love you have for each other and that your friends and family have for your relationship too so we tried not to detract from this by having any negative vibes. That’s easier said than done, but it helps to remind yourselves that the day is just a party, what’s more important is how you want to start your married life together.

Also, we took our time and listened to how we were feeling so if we needed a break from wedding stuff, we took a break. If we wanted to do a marathon planning session, we’d try and do it with some wine and make it fun. I think also being clear about dividing up the tasks for different people to own is a massive thing – many hands make light work!

Photography: @anagalloway | Ceremony and Reception location: Private Family Home, Hilltop Taupo | Celebrant: @_celebratewithlovenz_ | Bride’s gown: @hayesbridal | Rings: @thediamondshop | Shoes: @loefflerrandall | Perfume: @curionoir | Earrings: @jemsofremuera | Makeup: @__beautybyalexandra | Hair: @hairbyyujin | Groom’s attire: @workingstylenz | Groom’s shoes: @r.m.williams_official | Tie: @_3wisemen | Rings: @zoeandmorgan | Bridesmaid’s attire: @blakbridesmaids | Groomemen’s attire: @workingstylenz | Entertainment: @dr.snikkers | Styling: @vitrine.hire, @llhire, @royallaboratorie and @eventrenttaupo | Marquee: @flagshipeventsnz | Flora: @isadiafloral | Catering and Beverages: @nobiggie.food | Pre-wedding drinks: @2miletaupo