Emma + Griffin by Moria West and Zanthe Vorsatz

Tell us how you met each other? 

We first met at a mutual friend’s leaving for London dinner. We hit it off, but the timing wasn’t right. Luckily, about six months’ later and thanks to the wonders of modern technology, we crossed paths again. Two right swipes later and the rest is history. 

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

I’m a lawyer and Griffin has recently changed careers to become a builder. While all our spare time is currently being spent renovating our house, in simpler times we enjoy spending time in the great outdoors, reading, photography and cooking. Griffin recently built a pizza oven for our garden and we love spending lazy summer evenings outside by the fire. 

There are a million great things about our relationship, both big and small, but one of the best parts is how supportive we are of each other. We are best friends who will both go out of our way to help eachother achieve what we want out of life.

Tell us about the proposal? 

Griffin sent me on a scavenger hunt across Wellington, full of cryptic clues, challenges, and friends from across the world (many joining in by Zoom). Each stop had an activity that meant something to us and the friends involved (for example, a basketball shootout, a game of cornhole, and making our friends’ dog do a series of tricks). Along the way, I collected clues, which included prints of photos Griffin had posted of me on Instagram over the years. 

My final clue was to give Griffin (who had until then been hiding) a call.  He told me to arrange the photos in chronological order, to write down the first letter of every caption and, once I had done so, to come meet him at the top of the garden (where we have a little clearing overlooking the Cook Strait). In disbelief, I arranged the photos to spell out ‘will you marry me Ems’ – a plan that had been almost three years in the making! I ran up through the garden to be completely stunned all over again when I found Griffin surrounded by candles and fairy lights on an amazing new landscaped platform area he had been secretly building for a couple of months.

After a lot of tears, laughter, and hyperventilating (by me), he got down on one knee, asked me to marry him, and I (of course) said yes! 

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 just deciding on the finishing touches (e.g. do we need a smoke machine for the dance floor?) of our 120 person Cape Town wedding when COVID struck. Having already had a relatively long engagement, and with a good hunch that we wouldn’t be travelling for a while, we decided to just get on with it. We had originally planned to have a small ceremony at the French Cafe before we went to South Africa so that my 97 year old Grannie could be part of the festivities, and, as we couldn’t face the prospect of organising a third wedding, we decided to make the French Cafe the main event. Our day was absolutely perfect – made even better by the incredible group of friends, family and vendors that were part of it. 

We made sure we included a few touches of South Africa in the wedding – including all South African wines (thanks to the sommelier at the French Cafe) and South African photographers (we had originally contacted Moira for the original wedding, but she had just moved to New Zealand – which ultimately turned out to be incredibly serendipitous!) – and while we desperately missed the friends and family stuck overseas (made a little easier by FaceTiming my missing bridesmaids during the day) our New Zealand wedding was otherwise perfect, and without a smoke machine in sight. 

Tell us about your main outfits:

Once we had decided on having a small New Zealand wedding, I decided I wanted a similarly relaxed dress that wasn’t too bridal. I was close to ordering a dress from a local boutique, when I saw the Shona Joy range online and thought I would give one a try. I was thrilled when it arrived – it was everything I was looking for and fit like a glove! Other than that (which was something new), I wore my grandmother’s pearl and diamond earrings (something borrowed), a simple gold bracelet Griffin had given me for a birthday (something old), and my dad’s family’s signet ring (something blue).

We spent a day in Auckland visiting a few boutiques to find a tuxedo for Griffin. We received by far the best service at Working Style on Shortland Street and the tux looked great – so Griffin’s outfit ended up being a similarly easy and relaxed experience.

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

As two people that love a party, the initial decision to change to a small wedding was a hard one.  However, we absolutely loved the intimacy of the day, and now couldn’t imagine having done anything different. We spent the day getting ready with all of our friends that came to the wedding, which meant that we got to maximise our time with everyone and the whole day was full of laughter and fun. 

We did a first look so that we could spend us much time together as possible on the day, which ended up being one of our favourite moments. Having a private moment away from everyone else was incredibly special, and also meant we got a lot of tears out of the way early on (not that there weren’t plenty more later!) 

Finally, having Grannie at our wedding was a COVID-blessing, and made the day extra special. 

7. Any advice for other couples planning to spend the rest of their lives together?

Everyone will have different priorities, but we wanted the day to be about spending time with each other, our friends and our families, and so we decided against going off for a photo shoot. We spent about 15 minutes taking couple photos after the ceremony, but otherwise spent our day in the moment. We were overjoyed with the photos when they arrived – we had barely realised they were being taken but they were absolutely perfect! 

Photographer:@moirawestphotography + @zanthevorsatzphotography | Ceremony + Reception location:@sidatthefrenchcafe | Entertainment: @nikauquartet | Styling:@samlillianvankan | Flora:@michelecoomeyfloral | Catering + Beverages: @cotenewzealand | Cake:@thecaker | Accommodation: @hololiohouse | Bride’s Gown: @shonajoy | Groom’s attire: @workingstylenz | Rings: @thevillagegoldsmith | Makeup: @Nessajaye | Hair: @inspired.hair | Fragrance:@officialbyredo