The dress arrived just days before we left London and I had to bundle it up in my carry-on suitcase and leave it there for our seven days in quarantine, otherwise Toby would have seen it. I spent a lot of time thinking about my poor dress!

Tessa ——We’ve recently returned from eight years in London where I ran the marketing department for one of the UK’s biggest wealth managers. I’m now marketing director for an education innovator in Auckland. Toby ——I’m all about branding and I head up marketing and comms for carbon emissions management startup, Toitū Envirocare.

Tessa ——We met at Toby’s flat during uni just over 10 years ago. Toby was unlike anyone I’d ever met. He’s very chatty and incredibly generous. People absolutely love him. Toby ——We’ve been pretty inseparable since that first night in the flat. While living in London, we’d planned a big wedding at Christchurch art gallery CoCA, but then the pandemic hit and soon after that both our mums were diagnosed with terminal cancer, so we put the wedding on pause, and moved back to New Zealand to be closer to them. During our time in quarantine, we agreed to go with a dinner party theme and keep the numbers below 50. When we stumbled across Riverside Kitchen, we knew we’d found the perfect venue.

Tessa ——I’m incredibly detail-oriented and definitely had a vision but I can’t stand organising events, so I relied heavily on our wonderful vendors to be the experts. I wanted it to be bold and colourful but Toby’s style is more minimalist so that was a “fun” challenge. We both wanted to recreate the spirit and intimacy of the dinner parties we often hosted in London, particularly during some of the more challenging times of the pandemic, when we and our friends could leave our troubles at the door and enjoy beautiful food, wine and negronis. Our chef got Covid the day before the wedding, not that Toby told me! Riverside Kitchen gave us a Michelin-starred chef they’d previously worked with. Just about everyone told us it was one of the best meals they’d ever eaten.

I absolutely adore fashion and there have been many jokes over the years about me having 10 outfit changes at our wedding. After we decided to decrease the size of our wedding, I wanted to find one perfect dress and Cecilie Bahnsen’s designs were top of the list. The dress arrived just days before we left London and I had to bundle it up in my carry-on suitcase and leave it there for our seven days in quarantine, otherwise Toby would have seen it. I spent a lot of time thinking about my poor dress!

Although we kept our outfits secret, Toby drew a picture of what he imagined I would wear and got it in one, although I denied it! I plan to have the dress turned into a top and a skirt and to wear it again and again. I ended up going with quite a classic style of shoe by Gabriela Hearst, with Sleeper’s silk flats with bows for post-ceremony — my perfect dancing shoes. I carried a bright orange Victoria Beckham clutch that I’ve had for a few years. As luck would have it, it perfectly matched the roses in my bouquet. The pearls were a last minute addition from mum. She wore them at her wedding as did my nana before her and I think they completed the outfit.

PHOTOGRAPHER: Ana Galloway, @anagalloway / LOCATION & CATERING: Riverside Kitchen, @riversidekitchenchch / PHOTO LOCATION: Centre of Contemporary Art | Toi Moroki featuring the exhibition ‘Competitive Plastics’ by Judith Darragh, curated by Heather Gailbraith @cocatoimoroki, @judithdarragh / GROOM’S SUIT: Crane Brothers, @cranebrothers / BRIDE’S DRESS: Cecilie Bahnsen, @ceciliebahnsen / CELEBRANT: Emma Fitzgerald, @emmafitzgeraldcelebrant / TABLE FLORA: Bride’s aunt / CEREMONY FLORA & BRIDAL BOUQUETS: Bunch, @bunchfloralnz / REGISTRY: Via couple’s custom website on Wix, @wix / STATIONERY: Hey Lola, @heyloladesign / PLINTHS: Hayley & Co, @hayley_and_co / RINGS: Rachel Boston, @rachelbostonjewellery / BRIDE’S CEREMONY SHOES: Gabriela Hearst, @gabrielahearst / BRIDE’S RECEPTION SHOES: Sleeper, @daily_sleeper / BRIDE’S EARRINGS: JW Anderson, @jw_anderson / BRIDE’S NECKLACE: Alighieri, @alighieri_jewellery / BRIDE’S FRAGRANCE: Pegwell Bayby Haeckels, @haeckels / TABLE DECORATIONS: Hayley & Co, @hayley_and_co; TableLook, @tablelook