Even though Milly Nolan & Gus McMath got engaged nearly two years ago, all wedding planning went out the window with the arrival of their daughter Willow.
Swapping wedding bells for nappies, their big day was put on hold until early this year when they decided that it was either now or never (or three kids later). With only two months to organize their wedding, they somehow managed to pull it off, getting married in front of all their loved ones at Ostro Brasserie in Auckland over a long late-lunch.
Milly is the owner of Mildred&Co, an online wedding gift registry and gift store, and Gus is the General Manager of Beattie Matheson, a lifestyle distribution company.
Here, Milly shares the details of her wedding day:
Keeping our guest list to a minimum was the hardest part of the wedding planning for us. We wanted to invite everyone we loved so initially our aim was to find a venue that could hold up to 200 people and have a more cocktail style wedding but finding this type of venue in Auckland was ridiculously tricky. Luckily Ostro was suggested to us but as we could only have the restaurant exclusively on a Sunday, we decided that a long late lunch style wedding was more suitable than a cocktail party. This meant keeping our numbers to 160, which caused a few tears on my behalf but it really was the most perfect venue for us. The entire wedding was held there including the ceremony and it ticked all the boxes – beautiful view and setting, incredible food and wine and it was also convenient for all our friends who were new parents (like us) and couldn’t travel too far from their bubs. We couldn’t have been happier with our decision – it was basically like having lunch with all of your favourite people under the one roof. The ambiance from beginning to end was happy, rowdy and fun – just the way we wanted it.
Gus had been waiting patiently for his wedding day so he could splash out on a custom-made suit. Getting it made at Crane Brothers was a no-brainer and owner Murray Crane helped him choose a suit that would look good now as well as in ten years.
It was probably a good thing that I didn’t have time to get a dress custom-made as I think I would have been a dressmaker’s worst nightmare as I am so indecisive! Instead I headed straight to Rue de Seine and honestly could have chosen about ten of their dresses off-the-rack. In the end it came down to eeny-meeny-miny-moe. The ‘Florence’ dress I finally chose was so different to what I had always imagined I would wear on my wedding day (sleeves were initially high on the priority list) but it was perfect for the relaxed, city-chic theme of our wedding and I just loved the way it felt on also. I didn’t want to be one of those brides that was too scared to even breathe in their dress, let alone dance!
Gus and I chose not to have a bridal party as we couldn’t keep our numbers down to at least 10 on each side, so we thought it was easier to go with none at all! Instead we had my nephew Jack as the page boy and our daughter Willow and niece Lucy as the flower girls. Mum found them matching Collette Dinnigan white dresses from Sydney and Jack wore a white shirt and beige trousers from Country Road.
Seeing we had such little time to plan the wedding, it was so fabulous to have Claire from One Lovely Day (wedding stylist guru) and Lucy Houghton (from Lu Diamond Flowers) on my side. They are both so talented and knew exactly what my style was! Once we decided on Ostro as the venue, everything fell into place really quickly as we decided to let the industrial bistro-like space dictate the look and feel of the wedding. We went for a city-chic look keeping the details fairly minimal and not overly bridal. Because the lunch was shared platters, there wasn’t any room on the tables for flowers or any decoration at all, so instead we put more emphasis on the table stationery – the menu and name tags, which matched our wedding invitation. We got married under the most insane floral arch that Lucy created, and in the restaurant we had ivy climbing up the concrete pillars, a hanging green garland over the table where Gus and I sat, and a ginormous floral display on the bar which was the first thing that people saw when they entered the venue. When everyone was eating lunch, La Lumiere snuck in and strung festoon lamps on the ceiling above the dance floor which was a nice surprise to the guests when the curtains were drawn for our first dance.
I initially went a bit crazy and bought three pairs of earrings from Elizabeth Cole, Net-a-Porter and Meadowlark as I couldn’t decide which ones looked best with my dress, but on the day Mum lent me her vintage diamond wing-shaped earrings and they couldn’t have been more perfect and it was nice to have something ‘borrowed’ also. I also spent forever searching online for the perfect heel as the split in the front of my dress meant that you could see my feet. I was hoping to find a pair from Aquazzura but I was limited as I didn’t want to be taller than Gus! It turns out that finding a ‘white kitten heel’ is near impossible! I ended up finding a very plain but perfect style on The Iconic (for an absolute bargain also!!) and ended up having the heel cut down slightly to make sure I was the right height!
My engagement and wedding ring came from antique dealer Graeme Thompson and Gus (who had never worn a ring before!) chose a wide silver platinum band from Meadowlark and loves it.
The reason we chose our lovely photographer, Libby Robinson, (who also happened to be one of my past brides at Mildred&Co) was because of her relaxed, candid style. We were adamant that we didn’t want any overly posed or cheesy photos, but instead candid photos of Gus and I, and plenty of our guests mingling. We were so happy with what she delivered. Our only regret is that we didn’t get enough of us with Willow but the first part of the day was so rushed (I was half an hour late down the aisle) and she was whisked away by the nanny for her afternoon nap before we had a chance to have many photos with her.
One of our best decisions was made the week of the wedding and that was to hire our friend, Shawsy as the videographer. Our budget didn’t stretch to having one initially but a friend of mine said we had to or we would regret it and she was so right! The day went so fast and afterwards felt like such a blur, that it was so good to be able to watch the day unfold – especially to see what everyone wore and to hear the speeches!
Next to the guest list, choosing what style of wedding cake I wanted was one of the hardest decisions as I had seen too many cakes on Pinterest and couldn’t make my mind up about any of them! I also really didn’t want to have anything that had been too ‘done’ so I settled on a very out-there marble-effect black & white two-tiered cake, which my friend Karla of Bluebells Cakery fame made. It was lemon and raspberry flavour which was also served to our guests as dessert.
Our DJs – Sweet Mix Kids – were amazing! They ruled the dance floor from the moment they started playing until the last guests left! They had a saxophonist playing which gave a live element to the set, and they read the crowd perfectly, playing one banger after another. Even the oldies had a good boogie.
I could list so many, but walking down the aisle arm-in-arm with my dad was pretty amazing. Especially as it had been such a mad, frantic rush in the morning to get ready and I arrived at the venue half an hour late feeling pretty frazzled, so when we walked into Ostro and were greeted by 160 smiling, familiar faces and my hubby-to-be at the end of the aisle, all the stress and tension of planning our wedding in such a hurry melted away. It was our wedding day at last and we were getting hitched!
When we came back from our photos Gus and I entered the restaurant to Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Dancing in the Dark’ and he basically led me around the entire room in a gallop while all our guests stood singing at the top of their lungs and waving their napkins in the air. This really set the tone for the rest of the day, which was also helped with the copious amounts of wine and espresso martinis! We were also surprised later in the night when our friends lifted Gus and I onto their shoulders while everyone below us danced and sung (aka shouted) to John Farnham’s ‘The Voice’. We felt like rockstars!