Weddings

Rugby Sevens star Niall Williams’ wedding day

The Black Fern and her husband Tamāli’i Guthrie first fell in love while working as posties

Following their beautiful wedding, Stevie Wonder’s classic love song Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours) could be the soundtrack for Rugby Sevens star Niall Williams and her husband Tamāli’i Guthrie’s beautiful romance. It turns out sparks first began to fly between the couple 15 years ago, when they both worked as posties.

“I actually already knew Tama because we both played touch rugby,” says Niall. “But the last time I saw him, he was playing for the under-21s. When he walked in at NZ Post, I was like, ‘He’s grown up a bit! He’s pretty good looking these days.’ I spent four weeks training him up as a postie.”

“It was only meant to be two weeks!” laughs Tama.

The couple, both 34, have spent the past 15 years building a life together. They’ve welcomed two gorgeous daughters, Tatum-Lee, 10, and Rema-Rae, eight.

Niall and husband Tamāli'i under her wedding veil

There have been both ups and downs for the pair, including Niall suffering a potentially career-ending neck injury in 2021. But Tama was a pillar of support. Niall miraculously returned to compete on the international World Sevens circuit in 2022.

But back in 2016, Tama decided it was time to make things official with his Black Ferns Sevens partner. The night before he proposed, he asked Niall’s dad John, who was over from Australia, if he could ask for her hand in marriage. “That was probably scarier than the actual proposal,” he admits.

Then – with the help of his sister Julie Maheno, who decorated the couple’s home with rose petals – he popped the question. “I had the ring in my gear bag all day because I was playing league with Niall’s brother Johnaurthur. You have to walk up the stairs to our front door. Niall walked up and there was a rose at the top of the steps. When she turned around, I was waiting at the bottom of the stairs with the ring.”

Niall and husband Tamāli'i hugging and laughing on their wedding day

Sweet words from groom Tama. Bul hocaper

A delighted Niall accepted and had pretty much had her dream wedding planned out by 2017. But by the time the couple were serious about starting to book things, COVID hit. It got too stressful for family in Australia to get places in MIQ, so they decided to postpone it.

“It was supposed to be 2021, then we moved it to 2022,” she recalls. “When I look back at my wedding plans and what I first wanted, it’s so different!

I wanted a long-sleeved lace dress. As it turned out, I picked the plainest one from Made With Love because it was the perfect fit for my body. I completely changed my mind about the bridesmaids’ dresses too.”

It was teammate Kelly Brazier’s wife Tahlia who found the wedding venue for Niall after she admired the place where they tied the knot.

“She sent me the link for Ebony Vines Estate in Paengaroa. We were like, ‘Oh, yeah, this is the one!’ I organised the whole wedding by myself because I’m that person.”

Naturally, Tatum-Lee and Rema-Rae were flower girls, and Niall always knew her twin sister Denise would be her maid of honour. Bridesmaids included ex-Silver Fern Grace Kara, Tama’s sister Julie and fellow touch player Tia Nootai.

Tama’s best man was his brother Tivoli Guthrie, flanked by groomsmen Penitoa Finau, who is his brother-in-law, cousin Arden Teti and his best mate since primary school, Loui Schaumkell, who flew in from Sydney.

“I felt truly blessed to have been able to share our special day with the people who have been a part of our lives through so many different channels,” says Niall. “Our relationship hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows, but in that moment, we were standing in front of each other, in front of all our most important people, vowing to spend the rest of our lives together. It was a testament to how far we’ve come and that we fought for our relationship.”

Niall and Tamāli'i kissing, surrounded by their bridal party on their wedding day

Niall and Tama with their wedding party (from left): Grace, Tivoli, Denise, Tatum-Lee, Rema-Rae, Julie, Penitoa, Tia and Arden.

Tama admits he choked up when he saw Niall and his daughters at the wedding. “The moment I met Niall, I knew she was the one, so seeing her walk down the aisle was a day I had dreamed of from the beginning.

“Watching our daughters walk down really had me tearing up – my whole life walking towards me was something I’ll never forget. Niall truly is my best friend, an amazing mother to our kids and I’m grateful for our beautiful little family.”

There were a few absences on the night. Niall’s sports star brother Sonny-Bill was on an overseas trip that had been postponed several times and her nana Denise Woolsey passed away a few years ago.

Niall Williams and father John

Dad John walks his girl down the aisle.

“I would have loved for her to be there as she meant so much to me,” Niall tells. “We also missed my uncle Billy, who died just recently. It would have been wonderful to have Tama’s grandparents there.”

Niall and Tama say performing the taualuga in honor of their Samoan heritage was one of the highlights of the night.

Niall and Tamāli'i in traditional outfits on their wedding day

“I was a bit hesitant because that was my first time doing it properly in front of everyone,” shares Niall. “The night before, the family got me in the outfit to see if it fitted. I actually felt more confident when I put it on, which was a really cool moment. You could see the immense pride in our family’s eyes, especially our parents, Dan, Tuliana, John and Lee. My nieces and our two daughters had all learnt an item each as a surprise. It was really cute.”

With the formalities over, Niall and Tama joined friends and family to party until the wee hours. “It was such a great night and I love that our kids are old enough to remember it,” enthuses Niall. “They got to see everyone around us who loves us so much and the true love between us. That’s really special.”

Tatum-Lee and Rema-Rae surprise Mum and Dad.

Tama jokingly says it will probably take them another 15 years to sort out a honeymoon and when Woman’s Day caught up with the happy couple, Niall was far too busy training.

“To be fair, if we get to a place that has a beach and some sunshine, we’ll both be pretty happy with that,” laughs Niall.

Both Tama and Niall would like more kids now that she is nearing the end of her sports career.

Mrs Guthrie 4 ever!

“I’m finishing up with the Sevens at the end of this year. I definitely think kids would be in the near future. Our daughters ask us every day for a little brother. They honestly walk past me and rub my tummy, trying to put that energy out there into the world!”

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