Tashjian Barklie and Mighky Emia’s love story started with an electric connection in a restaurant kitchen.
Mighky was the chef, Tashji was the waitress, and one night after work they found themselves talking for hours over hot chocolate at the only place open (Tashji broke her no-dairy rule). They have been inseparable ever since.
Nearly seven years later, one cosy evening during the first Covid lockdown of 2020, the pair took their relationship to the next level.
“We were watching Edward Scissorhands, and Mighky paused the movie at midnight and proposed. It was completely shocking and wonderful - we popped a bottle of Champagne and talked all night.
Maybe it’s a cliche, but marriage for us is a celebration of love and the commitment we have to each other. It just felt right and fun for us,” Tashji says.
Imagining how their wedding day might look was exciting, but discussing concrete plans wasn’t on their agenda for a few more years.
“We only decided to have the wedding a month before we did. Most of Mighky’s family lives overseas (in the Philippines) so we were always to and fro-ing about how we could make a wedding work for everyone.”
Eventually they bit the bullet and decided to do it how they wanted: casually, in the sunny backyard of their Remuera flat.
The short lead time meant they couldn’t obsess over small details - or spend unnecessary money on a super refined, formal wedding they didn’t want.
“I think the pandemic put everything into perspective for us. Our wedding was kept very basic; the most important thing was having the key people in our lives there, and to actually just do the thing we’ve wanted to do, which is get married. That made everything else feel like a joyful unexpected bonus.
“It was like an extravagantly spent party,” she explains, listing food, alcohol, music and photography as the essential elements. “The rest is just to make it look and feel pretty, and I like to think you still walk away with the same feeling you would at a big-spend wedding.”
“I have a soft spot for traditionally feminine things like bows and lace (contrary to how I present myself day to day), so my friends, mum and I collected bits and pieces like old crystal, silver, candles and lace. It was like my backyard fairy fantasy, and Mighky was just cool to go along with that.”
Something Tashji did put her mind to early on was (for her), the funnest part of planning a wedding: what to wear.
“I bought my dress a year prior from a vintage store back home in Tauranga. I assume it was a costume at one point, very whimsical and ballerina-esque. My shoes were little vintage blue Emma Hope heels, almost crochet-looking with a daisy on them. My friend found them for me online and they kind of embody everything I wanted for this wedding.”
Tashji also took inspiration from her mum Jacki's incredible wedding day look, probably the coolest example of something blue and something old in one photo.
“My mom had blue eyeshadow at their wedding in the 80s. She says she didn’t love it but to me she was fabulous so I wanted to do the same. [Makeup artist] Lara Daly blessed my face, something we always discussed she would do for me one day and we made it happen. Blue eyes, black liner and a nude lip.”
Jacki, who is a hairdresser, styled her daughter's hair in a simple up-do fixed with an impromptu veil. “I found a silk scarf from the op-shop that I was planning to have on the tables, but it looked cute in the hair so I went with it.
For the finishing touch, a spritz of Diptyque Volutes - “Mighky’s favourite - it’s smokey and sweet and I’ve been wearing it for years.”
Mighky, who had his unofficial stag-do the night before the wedding (“yes he was hungover, no it didn’t matter”) looked like a 70s heart throb in a vintage brown plaid suit from Ziggurat in Wellington, paired with a Glen Prentice 'Karussell' shirt that Tashji had dreamt of him wearing on their wedding day. He wore his usual Comme des Garçons Wonderwood; “very sexy.”
The wedding rings were a no-brainer - Tashji is a jeweller, and was able to make herself a simple round band and a delicate signet ring for Mighky. “He let me surprise him with this and I only finished making it a day before the wedding.”
Looking the part of their backyard fairy fantasy, the other details came together organically; Turkish rugs strewn across the lawn for an aisle, an altar adorned with vases of flowers, candles and floating white bow, the handiwork of creative girlfriends.
“My beautiful friends went early in the morning to pick flowers, we even got some from the Ponsonby dairies. While I was in my wedding morning daze, a couple of my pals arranged them in vases I have at home and it was perfect.
Tashji carried a single protea down the aisle wrapped in satin ribbon, like a wand.
“It’s the national South African flower (where I’m from) but I only discovered this on the day - I really just like how gnarly they are and how it contrasts with the femininity of it all.”
For the intimate ceremony, 30 close friends and family watched as Tashji’s dad walked her down the aisle to ‘Couleur menthe a l’eau’ by Isaac Delusion, “a nostalgic song I’ve loved for a long time and for me a bit of a tear jerker.”
After exchanging heartfelt vows, celebrant Wynn Crawshaw (of Wynn Hamlyn) made it official, and guests threw rice as the newlyweds left the altar - a Filipino tradition.
Soon after the ceremony, another 30-odd guests trickled in to celebrate and party into the night. The drinks table was well-stocked with “prosecco prosecco prosecco, because that’s all anyone ever really wants at a wedding” and guests nibbled on platters laden with cheeses, pate, and salmon.
Feeding their guests had important cultural relevance: “We wanted the food to be Filipino, but a true Filipino meal would be sat down with rice and the works. Mighky’s family run a food truck, Manila Eats, so having that there was a way to honour this without having to go the full nine yards.”
The food truck was such a hit that the cheese boards were barely touched. “In hindsight I wish I ate more because the food was superb,” says Tashji.
“The cakes, oh boy the cakes. Our friends at Fundraiser made the most delicious array - a layered Russian honey cake, and flan cake (Mighky’s favourite, reminiscent of a Filipino dessert) which people are still talking about.
Our good friend Dali, who did the famous cakes, was also the DJ. “The music was perfect, relaxed, and everyone was dancing. The guy knows how to read a room.”
The couple also had their talented friends to capture special moments of the day. “We’re not big fans of the traditional posed wedding photo, so we asked Rose Ackland and Josh Milward to take some photos on film while still enjoying the day, which they nailed. Our friend Hannah Jensen also took photos which was a hugely appreciated surprise.”
While the evening was full of highlights, “our friend’s family sang a beautiful waiata that had me crying for a while after, truly unforgettable, "says Tashji.
"We were in a prosecco-induced haze all day, but we felt the love from every corner; we didn’t have to lift a finger. The day solidified just how loved we are and that’s something we will cherish forever. Our friends and family are all angels sent from above and we owe them the world."
The wedding cost around $5000 for everything, "including all the frivolity leading up to it".
"We were very blessed to have been given this money from family, with extra we were also able to buy tickets to travel in May," says Tashji. "We did want to have enough to pay for some of it ourselves, which we were lucky to be able to use to get family from overseas here, given such short notice. We had friends and family with us a week leading up to the wedding, it felt very homey and warm and perfect. Worth every cent.
"Most people say nothing really changes after marriage, but since the wedding everything feels grounded and light and adorable.”