“She proposed to me, and I said ‘yes’ instantly,” filmmaker Taika Waititi says of how he and singer-songwriter Rita Ora became engaged. While the pair first met at a barbecue in 2018 that Taika hosted at his house in L.A., it wasn’t until 2021, when they were both filming in Australia, that they began dating. Rita popped the question while the pair were on vacation in Palm Springs in the summer of 2022, and they planned an impromptu wedding to be held in Los Angeles a few weeks later, on August 4. “It wasn’t in London or in France like everyone reported,” Taika clarifies. “It was in L.A. with a small group of friends.”
“At our home!” Rita notes.
“Our address was… no, I’m just joking,” Taika says, laughing.
Over the past year, the two have gotten a kick out of the misinformation about their nuptials that has spread like wildfire across the internet. “It’s actually been quite entertaining for us to see the different stories people made up and all the while getting to keep it to ourselves,” Rita admits. “And, I love that we now get to share what really happened—and to do it on our one-year anniversary no less!”
As far as the planning process goes, there wasn’t one: The entire event was dreamed up and executed in just two weeks. “There were about eight people there—just close friends and family, and parents on Zoom,” Taika says, noting he was particularly thrilled to have his best friend Jermaine Clement fly all the way over from New Zealand for the last-minute ceremony. “It was really us and my sister Elena,” Rita says. “Elena to the rescue!”
The bride wore a Tom Ford dress and Lorraine Schwartz jewels for the intimate ceremony. “Tom Ford is one of my favorite designers of all time and favorite humans in general,” Rita says. “He’s now one of my close friends, and I adore and admire him so much. To get married in his dress was a dream come true. And because it wasn’t planned, I didn’t know if the right dress was even going to be in town, and I just took the risk and went to the Tom Ford shop, and they had it perfectly waiting with the veil, in my size, no alterations needed to be done. I mean, it was like it was meant to be, to be honest. And it just made me so happy.”
Sami Knight styled the bride’s hair in soft, loose curls, and Anthony H. Nguyen created a natural, glowy makeup look. Meanwhile, the groom wore Brunello Cucinelli (and received a touch-up or two from Rita’s makeup artist along the way).
For the ceremony itself, the couple kept things simple. “I wore my mum’s pearls that she got married in. My sister Elena put [the bracelet] on my wrist. It was beautiful,” Rita says. “My sister walked me down the aisle, and it was just really simple and blissful and calm and private and fun.”
“Yeah, it was beautiful,” Taika adds. “Just having close friends and not having it too big. We didn’t have table settings or any of the stressful things that go along with weddings, and it was nice to just have it super simple. My daughters were there, and they made everything really fun and easy: I think just because we didn’t have the pressure of having caterers and all of these things, you know, people turning up late, and all of the different moving parts.”
“I felt really peaceful actually,” Rita says. “It was almost like another day. We just all dressed up and got married.”
After the ceremony, Rita and Taika went to their friend Guy Oseary’s house for a dinner party. “He was so kind to host us at the last minute,” says Rita. “We got a group of people together, and we just had a great time!” As a surprise wedding gift from a friend, an Elvis impersonator showed up to serenade them, before everyone danced the night away to a playlist of the couple’s own making.
A year later, they both are still reveling in newlywed bliss. “It’s still working!” Taika exclaims. “I can’t believe it’s been a year.”
“Same. I can’t believe it’s been a year,” Rita says. “It feels like nothing’s changed since the day I met him at the barbecue. It just feels so good to be with my best friend.”
Originally published in Vogue.com