Celebrity News

Chris Hobb and Leah Lisausky’s magical Malibu wedding

Standing on a terrace overlooking oalibu Beach, its famous sand kissed rose pink by the setting sun, and beneath a trellis entwined with wild flowers, actor Chris Hobbs and his beautiful wife Leah knew their wedding day couldn’t be more perfect.

By marrying up cool California chic with good old Kiwi “can do”,  this madly in love couple have created an unforgettable celebration that’s brought family and friends from all over the world to share it with them.

Enjoying a quiet moment away from the 90 guests to sit on the beach and watch the sun set on their first day as a married couple, Chris sums up how it feels in just one word. “oagnificent,” he says, with an ear-to-ear grin. “Yep, that’s it, our day’s been absolutely magnificent.”

These are soulmates who could so easily have never met, separated by thousands of kilometres until former Shortland Street star Chris (39) decided to move from New Zealand to Los Angeles for his acting career. That’s where he noticed the bubbly TV production manager at a party and started chatting to her. They fell in love while laughing at British comedy, got engaged with Chris using a toe ring to propose by mistake, and admit they are chalk and cheese.

“Chris and I just ‘get’ each other, even though we are so very different,” says Leah (28), as she digs her bare feet into the warm sand and leans against her husband lovingly. “I love to blast loud music in the car, he turns it off. I like to talk to everyone, he’s quieter. But we both laugh together a lot. I didn’t even think about getting married until I met Chris and now, well, here we are.”

In the run-up to the wedding, there were moments when Leah, who did most of the organising, wondered if it would ever all fall into place before the special day. The biggest difficulty was making sure their guests, including some from China, Australia, France, the UK, Spain and, of course, New Zealand and the US, got there in time.

“The pressure was on and it was pretty chaotic,” says Leah, who then had to face every bride’s nightmare just days before the wedding – heavy rain.

“It was awful! People were coming for a vacation as well as the wedding, and I could imagine them turning up and going, ‘What the heck? So much for sunny LA!’ Luckily the forecasts were right and it went back to being sunny and very hot.”

The wedding was a chance for Chris’ parents Aileen o’Sullivan and Emmet Hobbs to meet Leah’s, Linda Henry and Michael Lisausky, for the first time. Chris’ well-known actor sisters Katrina and Rebecca made it, as did his producer sister Jessica, and he was reunited with some old Kiwi high school mates for the first time in many years. other guests didn’t have to travel so far, like former New Zealand Idol presenter Dominic Bowden, who also now lives in LA.

“I usually only get together with my family every third or fourth Christmas because we live all over the world,” says Chris. “The only one who couldn’t be there was my brother Tom who is graduating from drama school in Australia and had his final exams. But he was still a groomsman, via cellphone, with one of the guys holding his phone up so Tom could hear and be part of it.”

Leah, who hails from Philadelphia, and Chris, of Auckland, wanted to make sure their big day honoured both their countries of origin.

“Weddings here are usually very formal and that’s not us. So we did a lot of it ourselves, a lot of it was homemade. That, with the Kiwi flavour, made it laid-back and relaxed,” says Leah.

Leah and her sister Hara bought armfuls of wild flowers to create centrepieces, bouquets and the trellis decoration, while Chris baked tiny lamb pies to serve as appetisers.

“Yes, I can bake,” he grins proudly. His mum Aileen and Katrina made raspberry and chocolate mousse desserts, and Katrina and Rebecca sang a traditional Maori waiata at the reception, which was also held at the beachside venue.

Hara, a high school art teacher and a talented ceramic artist, designed and made the unique wedding rings.”They are made of a ceramic material that looks like silver,” explains Leah. “I have three layers intertwined, all earthy, organic and fluid. Chris has the same material in a band, with the same organic textures. They’re very cool.

“I also had my dress made, based on one I had seen. It’s satin, and fairly simple with vintage-style buttons down the back and a grey ribbon under the boobs.”

Chris reminds her that they’re called bosoms in New Zealand, and they both laugh. Then Leah points out a beautiful vintage watch and sapphire ring she is wearing.

“These are my old and blue things, for good luck. My nana gave me them and they belonged to her grandmother, who brought them over from Italy. I feel quite emotional about wearing them, knowing how special they are. The borrowed things are a bracelet and earrings from my sister, and the new is my purple shoes.”

In true Chris and Leah style, there were a few hiccups along the way. The celebrant was 30 minutes late and Leah had a queasy moment as she travelled to the ceremony in the bridal car.

“Suddenly my stomach was doing flips and Chris’ sister Rebecca was saying, ‘You need to eat – eat something,’ so we stopped and got a protein bar. I felt quite overwhelmed, with waves of slight panic about being the centre of attention.

Then I thought about how our friends and family had come together in one place. I saw them all there, started walking and was thinking, ‘Wow, this isn’t as crazy as I thought it was going to be. This is actually fun.’ And, of course, it was awesome to see Chris, looking cute in his suit.”

Meanwhile, standing in place under the trellis, Chris was having a touch of stage fright.”Leah was so beautiful, she took my breath away,” he says. “I had absolutely no idea what to do with my arms and was thinking, ‘Do I put them behind my back, do I fold them, or what?’ It was all new to me. I’ve never even been married as a character on TV, although I think I may have sabotaged a wedding or two on Shortland Street! The whole ceremony seemed to go so quickly. It’s already a blur, as if I remember it as snapshots.”

There are still more snapshots to capture though, with the reception to be followed by partying the night away with friends in Santa Monica, where the couple live.

“We don’t want to miss anything, so there’s no honeymoon for us at the moment,” says Chris. “With this chance to have everyone we love and care about in one place for our wedding, why would we go anywhere?”

As the last deep red rays of the sun slip beneath the horizon and guests call them back to the celebration, there’s nowhere else the new or and ors Hobbs would rather be.

Related stories

Get The Australian Woman’s Weekly NZ home delivered!  

Subscribe and save up to 38% on a magazine subscription.