Millie + Liam by Nicole Gourley Photography

We’re both from the South Island so we love being outdoors and exploring new places, our love for adventure brings us together.

​​Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love

Liam grew up on the water in the Marlborough Sounds and I grew up in Canterbury, more so on the land, so we love spending our time walking/ hiking, diving (for Liam), or being on or near the ocean. Our shared love for adventure has taken us around a lot of New Zealand plus travelling a lot in Asia as a younger couple. Before meeting each other we both envisioned living the London Life – and taking the adventures to Europe.

Being in Finance (Liam works in the Travel Food Services industry and I work in Universal Music) we were fortunate enough that it was an easy move across, with friends and extended family over here, we settled into the exhaustingly fast pace, wonderful London life. This was completely shaken up as eight months into our dream move, we found ourselves in our wee Central London flat 24/7 for the ongoing 9+ months of lockdown. But we had our city to ourselves and made the most of the situation we found ourselves in.

How/where/when did you meet – and what were your first impressions?

M: We met in a less than desirable University Hall in Wellington in our first years of study. My first impression of Liam was that he was very genuine and calm, his fashion was so far from what it is now.

L: My first impression of Millie was that she was enthusiastic, fun and caring. All of which she still is very much today! We had the first two trimesters as friends but slowly spent more time together studying and socialising before becoming a couple.

When did you first realise that this was someone you’d like to spend the rest of your life with?

We are both practical people by nature so there was a lot of scepticism over the fact that we met so young. We were consistently checking in with each other through Uni to make sure that this thing we had going on felt as right as we thought it did individually. But there was never any doubt, we both knew we were the real deal for each other and have been smitten from day one, and we always knew that we both felt the same way.

Was there a proposal? Tell us a little about it

M: Two nights before New Year’s Eve in 2019 we were on a camel trek in the Sahara Desert in Morocco. When we stopped atop a sand dune, Liam proposed whilst the sun was setting. My mum was with us on the trip, with who we are both very close with and screamed with excitement when she heard the news. It was one of those pinch-yourself moments!

Tell us about the vision you had for the mood or style of your wedding

We considered so many options (plus had far too much time over lockdown to bounce ideas). The vision for our wedding was not really to have a ‘wedding wedding’. it simmered down to a couple of key things; we couldn’t have a small elopement as we have a beautiful big family and we are both close with our cousins. So the guest list was going to be at least 100; whatever we did had to be done simply and tastefully; we didn’t want a sit-down meal as wanted everyone mingling and making the most of the time together; It need to be classy, but casual and comfortable.

Obviously not being able to get back to NZ meant we planned it from over here. We enquired with a lot of locations and venues but eventually, Malbrough was the clear winner (Sunshine hours, location, access to good Wine). With it being Liam’s home hometown, his parents stepped up and were our location scouts. Wither Hills quickly became the standout. The team there is very very relaxed, they offered a great set-up, with a beautiful courtyard and architecturally considered building. They couldn’t start the wedding until 5 pm (after their lunch service was complete) so that also helped us plan the timeline for the day and set us up for a late in the day cocktail party style wedding.

Because we travelled home and we had limited time to see everyone we really wanted to max out our contact time with our friends and family, so we had a ‘first look’ at midday with just the two of us and our close family, followed by photos by ourselves atop the local hills (with the assistance of the helicopter). We then had a few hours of ‘pre drinks’ with our immediate family and some very close friends, along with bridal party photos. This was amazing as it was very relaxed, maximised our hang out time, and took a lot of pressure off the rest of the day.

Apart from having an incredible florist – to whom I gave very limited direction, we really didn’t do much styling as the location was spectacular in itself. The festoon lights added a lot and we had massive bunches of flowers and a few lanterns on the learners.

What was one element you were happy to splurge on?

The wedding dress. I wanted a wedding dress that wasn’t a wedding dress. With far too much time on my hands, this felt impossible. Then one day Liam and I were walking through Kensington to Sloane Square and passed Emilia Wickstead, a brand that I was vaguely familiar with. The girls there were amazing and let me try on a couple of samples there and then. When I tried my dress on I was absolutely sold. It was only after my second trial that I found out that Emilia is a Kiwi. It was all meant to be!

Did anything happen on the wedding day that you laugh about in hindsight (even if it was stressful at the time)?

Literally nothing. The day was stress-free and everything went off without a hitch.

Tell us about your main outfits, what was unique, is there a story?

Liam’s Jacket was from a beautiful boutique off Bond Street. We had had our eye out for a while for the perfect jacket. I went to try on wedding shoes in the store literally next to the Jacket shop. Was a very convenient shopping day! We really wanted our bridal party to not be in matching outfits. In retrospect, I feel guilty not giving the girls more direction as the direction was ‘something you’ – but really they picked the perfect dresses. We knew it would all come together and they looked so great in their individual outfits that were very ‘them’.

Ceremony + Reception Location Wither Hills / Photographer Nicole Gourley Photography / Celebrant Leonie Welch  / Entertainment A Minor Thing / Hire Your Day Hire / Flora Dirt Floral / Catering + Beverages Wither Hills / Bride’s Dress Emilia Wickstead / Veil – Made by Bride’s Mother / Groom’s Suit Jacket Diverso / Ring The Diamond Ring Company / Bride’s Shoes Emma Hyacinth / Makeup Lucinda Campbell / Hair Transform Occasion Hair by Rachel / Bridesmaid Dresses Sir the Label, Zimmermann