Laura + Tyson by Rachel Gray

We both feel that we fell in love gradually and most of all it was just easy.

Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love…
T.D – I grew up on the south and north coast of NSW, then Sydney. I grew up in the surf club competing, surfing with the occasional stint overseas travelling. Now working as a self-employed electrical contractor and a proud father to our two-year-old daughter on the Northern Rivers of New South Wales. I enjoy surfing and a good cup of coffee.

LF – I am a mother of a gorgeous almost two-year-old girl Isla. I work for National Parks (a government conservation body). We live in a small coastal beach town 20 minutes north of Byron Bay. I am passionate about social justice issues and the environment. I spend my time reading, exercising, surfing, camping and spending quality time with friends. I have a love for travel and a thirst for personal growth and learning. We both take pleasure in the little things and love nothing more than waking up in the morning, having cuddles with our daughter, making a coffee and riding to the beach with Isla in tow to do a surf check.

How/where/when did you meet – and what were your first impressions?
– Despite having gone to primary school together (3 years apart), living on the same street in Sydney, and having mutual friends, we did not meet until years later in 2013 on holiday in Byron Bay for New Year’s Eve, myself 22 and Tyson 25. We were set up by close friends. After returning from holidays, Tyson lived on the NSW Central Coast, and I lived in Sydney; we continued to see each other. Three years in, I got my dream job in Byron Bay (where we had first met), Tyson said, ‘Get the job you want if you love it up there… I’ll move too’ – 6 months in her came up, and 8 years later, were both still here where we bought a house, started a family and created the most beautiful life together.

First Impressions
Tyson – Looking back, my first impressions of Laura left me stunned, here was an attractive young woman who was independent and
intelligent; who was interested in what I had to say. It didn’t take long for me to feel relaxed, enjoying a laugh together.

Laura – Tyson was smiley, laid back and intelligent; I loved that he also shared the love of travel, was active and valued his
friendships – he can get along with absolutely anybody

When did you first realise that this was someone you’d like to spend the rest of your life with?
– We both feel that we fell in love gradually, and most of all, it was just easy.

Was there a proposal? Tell us a little about it…
– We are environmentally conscious people and care about sustainability. I found a sustainable Jeweller in South Australia who uses only recycled metals and stones (from Utopian Creations). The Diamond was faceted in the 1850’s – which is cool to think of who was wearing this diamond prior.

I had pre-ordered the ring before our 6-week trip around Australia (to Darwin and back to Byron). However, it did not come in time. On that trip, Laura became pregnant.

L.F – Living in the Northern Rivers of NSW (Byron Bay), we rode our bikes down to the local river for an afternoon swim. I had invited friends down to meet us, which Tyson was oddly not too keen on, but they ended up not being able to come (In hindsight, that was lucky otherwise, he wouldn’t have proposed).

We were swimming, and Tyson had encouraged me to come into the shallows of the river (the river is tidal, so the river was running in). He pointed to a shell sitting on the riverbed. The shell looked oddly familiar and looked a little out of place (it was a shell I had collected from the beach and was in our house). I didn’t really respond and pick the shell up like he had hoped, so Tyson picked it up and handed it to me. There was this diamond ring stuck to the back of the shell with BLUTAK!!!, I was so confused about why there was this beautiful ring stuck to a shell that I automatically thought someone had lost their ring in the river! – This was not the reaction Tyson was hoping for, which completely threw him. To my defence, he was lying down in the riverbed and was not on one knee; and did not ask me to marry him straight away. Tyson had to explain that the ring was not lost; it was, in fact, mine, and he was asking if I wanted to marry him. I said, ‘you want to marry me?’ and his reply ‘ was yeah, I’m surprised you want to marry me’.

To this day, I still cannot believe he carried this precious ring in his boardshorts pockets on a bike down to the river, went swimming and put it in the river bed where it could have easily gotten lost in the sand.

T.D – I found it hilarious that Laura thought the probability of someone losing their ring was higher than the probability of me proposing.

Tell us about the vision you had for the mood or style of your wedding…

My Dress was 100 years old (1920s), the diamond in my ring was over 170 years old, and the community hall where we got married was over 100 years old. So, it was only fitting that the style of our wedding is Vintage/Antique but minimal. We wanted to keep it lowkey and simple; therefore, we didn’t have a bridal party. Instead spent the morning getting ready separately with our closest friends.

As mentioned above, we value sustainability and the environment. Everything sourced was second-hand, including my entire outfit, from my earrings to my shoes; I wore my sister’s veil, and my friend sewed my daughter’s flower girl dress. I spent a year op shopping, getting all the furniture and ornaments. I wanted to source local vendors to support the community; flowers were sourced from a local girl who grows organic spray-free flowers in her backyard. The celebrant and even my seamstress lived on my street – you would see me hoping on my bike with my wedding dress in my basket, riding the streets of South Golden Beach to drop off my vows in the celebrant’s post box or to my seamstress’s house to get one last dress fitting.

Given we had both grown up in Sydney but had met on holiday in Byron Bay over a decade earlier and now live, it was only fitting that we chose Byron Bay to get married. Byron Bay is the first place on the East Coast that sees daylight.

We were so incredibly lucky to not only have a welcome to the country but also a ‘Bundjalung Blessing’ from Delta Kay (my co-worker), who is a prominent leader in the Indigenous Arakwal community. The entire wedding was completely moved by her blessing, there was not a dry eye in sight.

Acknowledging the traditional custodians of the land we were getting married on was extremely important to us. I have worked in the community for many years and have a deep respect and relationship with the local Indigenous Community.

What was one element you were happy to splurge on?

T. D – Our rings – as mentioned above, we felt comfortable splurging on something we would have forever and was sustainably sourced. It’s also something you can pass down to your children.

L.F – The Celebrant: we found the perfect person to match our style and values. Susie offered so many alternative rituals for our wedding day.

Did anything happen on your wedding day that you laugh about in hindsight (even if it was stressful at the time)?

T.D – The only thing that stood out was when in the middle of our vows, where the celebrant spoke about parenthood – the whole wedding party looked over to our daughter, who was rolling around on the grass looking up to the sky singing to herself completely unaware that 100 people were looking at her.

Tell us about your main outfits, what was unique, is there a story?

L.F – My wedding dress was 100 years old (1920s). I was not intentionally looking when I came across it in a vintage shop in Murwillumbah (Scarlet’s vintage wardrobe). The owner of the store has been travelling to the US for the past 30 years collecting vintage wedding dresses – there were so many beautiful dresses it was hard to choose!

Tyson looked so incredibly Handsome in a 1920s-style suit. I was a little jealous that he bought the first suit he tried on – after my dress had spent a whole year with two different seamstresses to fit me.

CEREMONY + RECEPTION Ewingsdale Community Hall, @ewingsdale PHOTOGRAPHER + VIDEOGRAPHER Rachel Gray, @rachelgray__ CELEBRANT Susie Fig, @susie_fig_celebrant ENTERTAINMENT North Coast Entertainment STYLING + PLANNING Panorama Events, @panoramaeventsaus HIRE Mullum Hire, @mullumhire FLORA Love to Grow, @lovetogrow_ CATERING Humming Bird and Co Catering, @hummingbirdandcocatering BEVERAGES Cut Snake Distillery, @cutsnakedistillery CAKE Made by the Mother of the Bride WELCOME TO COUNTY / INDIGENOUS BLESSING Explore Byron Bay, @explore_byronbay WEDDING DRESS Scarlett’s Wardrobe Vintage, @scarlettswardrobevintage BRIDE’S SHOE Badgley Mischka, @badgleymischkabride GROOM’S SHOE Julius Marlow, @juliusmarlow SUIT Joe Black, @joeblackofficial RINGS Utopian Creations, @utopian_creations MAKEUP + HAIR Makeup by Immogen, @makeupby_immogen