Shorty stars Holly Shervey and Emmett Skilton’s fairytale wedding

Engaged for nine years, Holly and Emmett formally pledge their love
Skye Carter Photography

After a long and eventful build-up, the highly anticipated wedding of Shortland Street star Holly Shervey and actor/director Emmett Skilton was a moving celebration of love, laughter, tears and the joy of finally saying “I do”.

When a radiant Holly and proud Emmett spoke to Woman’s Day shortly after the nuptials, emotions were still high, with both reaching for the tissues as they recounted what being married means to them.

“It was a magical day,” recalls Holly, who played Zoe Carlson on the hit soap from 2018 to 2022. “We tried hard to keep it together, but there were lots of tears – and not just ours. A few special moments during the ceremony set everybody off.”

Emmett, who has directed more than 130 episodes of Shorty in the past four years, says he was utterly speechless when his stunning bride walked towards him for the first time. “My first thought was how incredibly beautiful Holly looked. Being able to finally call her my wife fills me with so much joy. It’s also a relief as it’s been a long time coming.”

Just married! Now the couple can’t wait for their next exciting adventure.

When the couple got engaged nine years ago, they never imagined their ceremony would be delayed so long by COVID, alongside the challenges of aligning their schedules, and getting family and friends from all over the world together.

But the wait was worth it for their “perfect” day, held at Holly’s uncle Martin Cooper and aunty Kim van Hest’s spectacular property at Dairy Flat, north of Auckland. The lovebirds shared their joy with more than 80 family members and close friends, including former co-stars from Holly’s Shorty days and Emmett’s time on The Almighty Johnsons. Holly is one of five children, while Emmett is one of seven, and their big families relished the opportunity to join in the couple’s special day.

The intimate wedding featured many “untraditional” moments. A few hours before their guests arrived, the bride had a dress reveal, followed by wedding photos taken at a nearby location, so they wouldn’t miss a second of being with their guests after the ceremony. As soon as Emmett caught his first glimpse of Holly in her breathtaking Hera Couture by Katie Yeung dress, paired with gold shoes, the tears started to flow on all sides. “She was a vision,” he says simply.

Holly had always imagined herself wearing a “slinky” wedding dress but unexpectedly fell in love with a completely different style of gown, which had a beautiful silk drill-satin corset bodice, waves of tulle cascading into a long flowing skirt and a big train. “As soon as I tried the dress on, I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, I feel like a bride!'”

Emmett was handsome in a classic James Bond-esque outfit, featuring a champagne-coloured jacket and bow tie.

“Before the wedding, my brother Cole pinned a kilt pin to my lapel, which had belonged to our grandmother on our mum’s side,” tells Emmett. “She was my best friend and passed away when I was 18.”

Emmett sweeps Holly off her feet!

To mark the close bond Emmett shares with childhood friend Liam Rae-McLauchlan – who travelled from London to be a groomsman – the pair shared cufflinks, with each wearing a mismatched set.

Another special touch was the matching bracelets worn by Holly and the couple’s dear friend and wedding celebrant Jacqui Nairn, a former Shorty co-star who works with Holly and Emmett on their hit Instagram show Millennial Jenny, and is a director at Shortland Street alongside Emmett.

By the time the wedding party made it back to the venue after the photoshoot, the guests had started gathering for the 4.30pm ceremony. “We had to sneak out of the car and get back to our positions,” laughs Emmett.

The romantic ceremony was held in perfect weather on the edge of a resort-style pool, next to stunning flower arrangements created by Holly’s stepmother Ingrid Pritchard of Grace Studio Queenstown, who was the couple’s florist and wedding designer.

Celebrant Jacqui knows the couple from their Shorty days.

Holly walked down the aisle on the arm of her father Warren Shervey, along with her sister Taylor Shervey and her best friend since primary school Whitney Nicholls-Potts, to a gorgeous acoustic version of the Sam Smith song Latch, sung by Emmett’s Los Angeles-based friend Jared McClure, with his brother Cole on guitar.

Emotional moments were woven into the ceremony, including the lighting of a candle in memory of Holly’s late mother Jo, who passed away when she was six, and a heartfelt Apache blessing from Emmett’s friend Liam.

“I’ve known Liam all my life and we’ve rarely shared emotional stuff, but he started crying and that set everyone off,” says Emmett.

The vows were a mix of the couple’s personal sentiments, with Emmett adding the poignant line “I will always find you” when he and Holly exchanged rings, symbolising their journey together in this life and beyond – which led to more tears, says Holly. “The vows were the most magical part.”

During the ceremony, Jacqui shared the story of how Holly and Emmett met 10 years ago at a birthday brunch organised by Holly’s then-flatmate Will Hall, of Westside fame. But as Jacqui revealed, this wasn’t quite the full story.

“A year earlier, when I was at drama school, Emmett came along as a guest speaker,” explains Holly. “He was on The Almighty Johnsons at the time and I decided I would quite like to go on a date with him. So I found a picture of him and stuck it on my vision board.”

Emmett picks up the story, “Soon after we met at Will’s brunch, we went to a New Year’s party and have been together ever since. That night, we had to go back to Will’s place so Holly could pick something up and she ran ahead to hide the vision board.”

The couple was smitten from that first meeting. However, Holly was surprised when Emmett proposed to her a year later in LA on her birthday.

“We’d never talked about getting married. I remember asking, ‘Are you for real?’ and Emmett saying he’d already asked my dad and grandma!”

With bridesmaids Taylor (left) and Whitney.

Once the heartfelt speeches were delivered after their poolside ceremony and the luscious chocolate wedding cake was cut, the couple had their first dance to Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton.

Then it was time to party. DJ Jarom Hall, whom Emmett has known since they were 14 years old, pumped out some great tunes to a packed dance floor. Throughout the evening, guests were served amazing vegan food, prepared by Anna Brand and the team at Vege Bang Bang, and bar staff kept the drinks flowing. At about 11pm, Holly’s uncle Steve decided it was time for garlic bread, which led to a garlic breadmaking and tequila shot drinking session in the kitchen. “It was one of the highlights of the night!” laughs Holly.

Now the wedding is over, Holly and Emmett are excited about the host of acting, writing and directing opportunities that lie ahead. Holly recently shot an episode of The Brokenwood Mysteries and Emmett is to star in a feature film being made in Wellington in the new year. Christmas episodes of their hit show Millennial Jenny have just been released. They both produce and star in the hilarious bite- sized episodes, with Holly as the selfie-loving, ambitious but sweetly misguided Jenny and Emmett as her disapproving boss. A recent episode had more than five million views and they’d love to see it picked up by a US network.

Meanwhile, the newlyweds are excited to be heading off on honeymoon in April to visit London and Paris, before spending time in

Italy. They also feel “very ready” to think about starting a family, says Holly.

Enveloped in post-wedding bliss, the couple is thrilled to finally be able to call each other husband and wife, says Emmett. “Not only has this wedding been a long time coming, but it has also taken a long time to plan. We’ve had the most special journey and to bask in all that now is so wonderful.”

Pictures: Skye Carter Photography.

Hair & makeup: Maza White, Hannah-Rose Daniels.

Dress: Hera Couture by Katie Yeung.

Flowers: Grace Studio Queenstown.

DJ: Jarom Hall

Catering: Vege Bang Bang

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