Inside Fashion Designer Rachel Mills & Blink Founder Asher Walker’s Intimate Auckland Wedding

Fashion designer Rachel Mills and Blink founder Asher Walker. Photo / Nicole Brannen

The fashionable duo celebrated in a 19th-century warehouse in the CBD.

Rachel Mills, designer and director of Auckland-based production house The Pattern Table, married Blink design studio co-owner in an intimate and charming ceremony in August of last year. Here, Rachel shares the details of their special day, from finding the dress of her dreams unexpectedly (pre-engagement) to scrubbing in to do the dishes on the night.

Photo / Nicole Brannen
Photo / Nicole Brannen


Basically the brief was a wedding without the bells and whistles. Neither of us wanted to be weighed down by planning something elaborate. We both have enough to manage already day-to-day, and wanted to make it as easy as possible for our friends and family. So we simplified as much as we could and chose our favourite things and people to be a part of it.

Photo / Nicole Brannen
Photo / Nicole Brannen


We held the wedding on the bottom floor of Brad’s Warehouse in the CBD. Our good friends Victor and Kitty had spent the day draping fabric to create a frame through the entrance, utilising the wooden pillars of the heritage building as an aisle leading up to a hand-painted green backdrop (by Rach’s sister) at the very front.

We were super lucky that our friend Wynn Crawshaw (designer of Wynn Hamlyn) had his wedding licence. Having someone close looking after the proceedings made it feel special and he injected just the right amount of humour and sentimentality into the service. I walked down the aisle to Sliver of Ice by Anohni and all of our nieces and nephews were page boys and flower girls. Throughout the ceremony, we involved as many of our close friends and family as possible with readings and songs.

Photo / Nicole Brannen
Photo / Nicole Brannen


We knew we wanted to have our wedding in Auckland and to have the creative freedom of putting it together ourselves, and Brad’s Warehouse allowed us to do exactly that. It is a renovated 19th-century warehouse with blue stone walls and timber floors. It felt like it had just the right amount of character and was perfect for having the whole day in one venue. Sarah, who runs the venue, was so helpful and accommodating, and made the whole process super easy.

The reception was held on the top floor of Brad’s. After a few photos with the wedding party, and an outfit change, we headed up for dinner, speeches, dessert and dancing. We had hired trestle tables and set these up in two long feasting tables, with more ikebana arrangements as centrepieces. It was so nice to see all of the people you care about sitting together under one roof, feasting and celebrating together.

The bridesmaids all wore custom Rachel Mills dresses. Photo / Nicole Brannen.
The bridesmaids all wore custom Rachel Mills dresses. Photo / Nicole Brannen.


We didn’t have any formal help in pulling together the day but all of our friends and family helped out a lot. We weren’t super worried about everything being exactly perfect so although it was a lot to think about, it wasn’t overly stressful. The venue being a big empty shell, our families and close friends were all on hand the day before to help set up the furniture, lights and sound gear.

I ended up having about three big client deadlines the week of the wedding, and was run down with an awful flu, so the lead-up was a little more hectic than we would have wanted. I was so grateful to have Ash (and friends and family) really pull it all together in the couple of days beforehand.


Asher really set the tone with the engagement ring, created by our friend Maeve of Hera Saabi in a collaborative approach. I didn’t have any idea of what my ring would be but as soon as I saw it, it was better than I could have imagined. It is such an incredible shape, of a hand holding a pear-shaped diamond, but it meant that I then had a difficult time finding something that was on-par.

I ended up going with local jeweller Tashji. Based off a previous interaction with her, I knew she would get it. I handed over my engagement ring, along with a few loose reference images, and she developed something really beautiful and organic-feeling to sit alongside it.

Asher had the privilege of one of his best friends from childhood now owning a jewellery store in Pukekohe, alongside his wife, of Wright’s Jewellers. They hand-carved a textured, square, signet-style ring. Ash initially wanted to go bigger and bolder but he settled on something more wearable for everyday.

Photo / Nicole Brannen
Photo / Nicole Brannen


This one all happened in the wrong order. A good friend of ours (who at the time was campaigning for an engagement between Asher and I) told me she had found my dress hanging on a rack at an op-shop. I hadn’t really considered a wedding dress at any point in my life so far, and I didn’t believe her until curiosity got the better of me. So a couple of weeks later I went in.

As soon as I saw it, I knew. So I did what all level-headed, unengaged women do and tried it on, under the guise of being engaged so it wouldn’t get weird. It fitted me perfectly. It was a Kevin Berkhan original from the 80s, complete with long sleeves and a voluminous bow extending into a train. The styling was fabulous, if it was still the 1980s, but it had incredible bones. The body of the dress consisted of hand-tacked irregular pleats made from a crunchy silk taffeta.

It was clearly vintage, which I was into, and the workmanship behind it was too incredible to leave behind, not to mention the severely underpriced $50 tag. I handed it over to my now sister-in-law to keep safe, and to stop Asher coming across it and running a mile.

Further down the track, following the engagement, utilising the incredible machinists we have in our workroom, I got one of them to help with some alterations. We unpicked the velcro train, took the sleeves off and fashioned some fine spaghetti straps made from the unused train, to create a more modern and simplified design. I am sad I only got to wear it the once, but one day I will recreate it.

We did all of the bridesmaids and flower girl dresses in-house, along with the satin pants for the page boys. With the bridesmaids, I really wanted each of them to feel comfortable in what they were wearing, and still like themselves. There is nothing worse than being asked to be a bridesmaid and hating what you’re wearing. I wasn’t picky about each of them matching as I wanted each of them to be individuals. We based each dress on shapes we had already developed at Rachel Mills, then tailored them to each bridesmaid, choosing colours that would complement them.

Photo / Nicole Brannen
Photo / Nicole Brannen


Ash wore Lemaire piped loafers, a Lemaire shirt, with a cropped Our Legacy bomber and matching pants. His sentimental side came through, wearing his granddad’s watch and a gold brooch that belonged to his gran.


As soon as we were engaged, a friend of ours and talented hair stylist Lauren Joal (Lauren Joal Hair) generously offered to do my hair along with the bridesmaids’ hair. I left it pretty late to decide on a look as I knew Lauren would have it under control. We settled on some loose finger waves, topped with my gran’s veil, which I hand-stitched onto a clip 10 minutes before leaving.

Raeesah Sacha of Rae Makeup had been in touch with me previously about working together. I thought the wedding might be a good opportunity. I had heard only good things about her from others. I sent her some images of what I wanted to achieve which was more about skin texture than a signature look as I still wanted to feel like myself on the day. She really listened and built on what I was after thanks to her experience, knowing what is needed to last through the day and night.

The morning of getting ready felt very calm and under control.

Photo / Nicole Brannen
Photo / Nicole Brannen


Our florist for the day was Maree Smith. Ash and I were both very set on not wanting anything overly floral and colourful so she came up with some beautiful, green and white arrangements to have throughout the space. We couldn’t have been happier with how they looked. Our bouquets were more of a DIY project, with my sister Hannah being pulled in to help the day before, and executing my vision perfectly.

Food from The Lebanese Grocer served family style played into the relaxed vibe of the day. Photo / Wedding guest via disposable camera
Food from The Lebanese Grocer served family style played into the relaxed vibe of the day. Photo / Wedding guest via disposable camera


Food was super important to us. I think we both find a lot of joy in eating, so it felt important to us to make selections of our favourite things. After the ceremony, we had a Taittinger champagne tower before we moved to photos. This was a fun way to wrap up the ceremony with a little celebration. Alongside it, we did a simple platter of goat’s cheese and honey crackers.

The reception was catered family style by Elie Assaf from the Lebanese Grocer. Elie’s food is perfect for sharing and was really delicious: flatbread, baba ganoush, chicken skewers and dirty lamb rice.

Desserts were done by our friends Yas and Fumi from Coffee Pen, who do the best tarts and cheesecakes in Auckland.

My mum also tirelessly made hundreds of lemon possets for the day. For drinks, we had a few cocktails available, Pals and natural wine from Everyday Wine.


We both agreed we didn’t want to have anything overly formal for photography. I’ve worked quite a lot with Nicole Brannen shooting my brand over the years and love her film work. She did an amazing job of capturing candid moments of the day.

When he was younger Ash previously worked as a photography assistant with our good friend Shamima so she shot digital on the day. It was so nice having someone you knew and trusted in that role. We also scattered disposable cameras throughout the venue and some of the results from these are priceless.

The bride's second dress was a take on a classic Rachel Mills dress. Photo / Wedding guest via disposable camera
The bride's second dress was a take on a classic Rachel Mills dress. Photo / Wedding guest via disposable camera


We had so much fun! Asher describes it as “feeling like a celebrity for one day” which it kind of was. He initially wasn’t keen on the idea of a wedding, as he claims to not enjoy the attention, but I think he warmed to it. Early on in the planning someone said to us to relax because at the end of the day everyone is there to celebrate you without too much expectation. This mindset helped to put aside all the small stresses.

The most special thing about our day was sharing it with Ash of course, but also having that many people we love in one room from all over the world.


Our friend Eru and brother-in-law Charles played Sampha’s (No One Knows Me) Like the Piano during the ceremony which was incredibly beautiful.

Due to a scheduling mix-up (not on us) all of the hired wait staff (not from the Lebanese Grocer) took off before dinner service was finished. It was incredible to see our friends and family kick into action where anyone who had any kind of hospitality background went into service mode.

At one stage I saw our friend Johnny who had a previous life working at Prego, wandering around with a stack of at least 15 plates balanced on one arm. I ended up tucking my wedding dress up and putting in work with the kitchen as well.

In lieu of one traditional wedding cake, desserts from Coffee Pen and Rachel's mother were served. Photo / Dexter Murray
In lieu of one traditional wedding cake, desserts from Coffee Pen and Rachel's mother were served. Photo / Dexter Murray


Make a list of what is worth stressing over and what isn’t, especially if you are planning it yourself. Be ready to let go of some things that aren’t so important, as you can stretch yourself only so far.

The only thing I would change is taking some time off after the wedding. It was a super busy time at work with Fashion Week taking place so I had a lot of deadlines we were working to.

A little time to relax would have been great! We have only just had our honeymoon over the most recent Christmas break, which ended up being a blessing in disguise as we could both switch off from our usual business-owner roles, in order to enjoy the moment.

Special days, special moments.

Inside Erangi and Bennie’s classic wedding at Kauri Bay Boomrock. The bride and groom combined Sri Lankan and South African traditions.

Inside Yiselle and Christopher’s romantic London wedding at a heritage mansion. They reflect on their special day at Mayfair’s ornate Dartmouth House.

Kevin and Cameron Mitchell-Sisler at Rippon Vineyard. Kevin and Cameron share their special day that overlooked the Southern Alps.

Keelan Bowkett-Assaf and Elie Assaf at Cambridge Road Vineyard. Keelan and Elie share how they tied the knot at a Martinborough winery.

Anna Choi and Patrick Daley at Mantells, Mt Eden. Anna and Patrick share moments from their special day at an inner-city oasis.

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