Sophie & Toby

Here’s the thing about weddings, you get to do it 100% your way. If that means a green wedding dress, a cocktail party under palm trees and ditching the getting ready photos, that is exactly what you should do. And it’s exactly what Sophie & Toby did in a beautiful, relaxed Byron Bay day, with Wood & Willow behind the camera and plenty of fun stories to tell. Let this day touch every part of your soul, it’s that beautiful!

These laid-back summer vibes were appropriate for these two, who became engaged in LA after originally meeting as flatmates. Sophie tells their story: “We met up in LA in the States after a work trip and we drove up to Yosemite National Park which had been on our bucket list for years. It was here where we went on an afternoon hike to find the best views of the iconic Tunnel View with the granite cliffs of Half Dome and El Capitan in the distance. With the sun setting and not another soul in sight, Toby got down on one knee and pulled out his wallet. After some moments of unraveling tissues from his wallet, he located his grandma’s ring and asked me to marry him. Of course, I said ‘yes’ and we watched the sunset from the top of the mountain over the valley.”

Sophie and Toby were married at garden venue Secret Garden, Byron Bay, choosing an old bus as the backdrop for their ceremony. Sophie tells, “We opted to have our ceremony and reception all in one place and we chose the Secret Garden in Byron Bay for its prime location, beautiful gardens and flexible options for catering. It actually used to be a preschool and a long tunnel under the small hill in the centre of the venue still remains. From then it was owned by the artist David Bromley and his artwork is still present throughout the venue which includes a painted old German school bus.”

Everything about this wedding was done in a very “Sophie and Toby” way, even the entrance! Sophie explains, “Toby and I danced in together to ‘How sweet it is to be loved by you’ by James Taylor. We came in through the tunnel and popped out in front of our guests and family. I gave my mum and my dad a big hug when we arrived and all our guests a wave before we started the ceremony.”

Marry Me Kristy was chosen to perform the legalities. “We wanted to keep it fairly brief and light-hearted. Our celebrant was perfect and included a brief story of our love,” tells Sophie.  “We didn’t include readings but we wrote our own vows and read them out to each other. After we were officially announced as husband and wife we each popped a bottle of Champagne and started the celebrations.”

The groom’s wedding ring was created from the wedding rings of his two great grandmothers and grandma with their initials engraved.

Fresh floral arrangements by Nikau adorned the bus backdrop, the bride’s hair and of course, were carried in her arms. She remarks, “My bouquet and flower crown was from The Nikau in Byron Bay. I really wanted a more native foliage look with pops of colour which included proteas and baby’s breath. The old German school bus and tables were adorned with Australian natives such as bottle brush and honeysuckle. As the venue was a garden itself, flowers were kept minimal.”

Olive and Luca by Quattro set up an amazing grazing table and wood-fired pizza feast, while the bride’s mother made cheesecakes and sticky fig cakes to enjoy for dessert. “Olive and Luca were incredible. The food was superb and their hospitality was above and beyond. We wanted to have a very relaxed, casual wedding that would eventuate into a party at night. With this in mind, we chose an outdoor garden setting and a cocktail style reception. We had rugs on the grass, wine barrels, couch settings and high bars. Guests listened to live acoustic music after the ceremony while enjoying oysters, Prosecco and antipasto. This was followed by rustic wood-fired pizzas before a six-piece band got started. The festoon lighting really made for a summer party feel.”

Music is important to Sophie and Toby who took to the dance floor for their debut to Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky”. The couple hired Brisbane based Lark Music to set the scene for the night. “We definitely wanted to have a good dance and a party so we made sure we had a six-piece band with sax come down to play from Brisbane.”

The bride was dressed in a beautiful green gown, choosing a piece from Zimmermann. She shares; “I chose to go non-traditional and opted for a forest green silk Zimmermann dress. I wanted to wear something colourful and comfortable to fit the relaxed theme we were going for and in the end, this was the first dress I had tried on. I had some regrets leading up to the wedding that maybe I should be wearing something ‘more bridal’ but in the end, with my bouquet and flowers in my hair it felt perfect.”

“I loved being engaged to a project manager who took the planning on himself!” laughs Sophie. “Once we ticked off the big items such as music, food and venue the rest kind of fell into place. We chose our own alcohol so we did lots of wine tasting leading up to the big day. I quite liked drinking a bottle of Champagne on a random Monday night in the lead-up. I also planned the honeymoon – which was really fun. We spent almost a month hiking through Albania and Kosovo and spent time in the Mediterranean islands.”

Sophie and Toby ditched a traditional bridal party, but still made sure to include their favourite people, explaining, “We didn’t do the whole bridal party thing. It didn’t really make sense as I wasn’t going to be walking in down the aisle. However, we hired a beach house and had many of our friends stay with us. I had my closest girlfriends Rem, Trace and Christine with me to help me get ready and my family and the boys, including the groom, were enjoying drinks in the sun in the afternoon with us. It was actually really fun to all get ready together.”

Of their chosen photographer, Sophie raves, “Wood and Willow were amazing. We actually weren’t planning on having photography as I didn’t want to spend any of the day missing out on the action of seeing everyone. However, after I saw how beautiful my friend’s photos were I booked them in as luckily they had a cancellation and were available. They understood what we were after and captured lots of fun candid shots.”

A big thank you to Sophie and Toby for sharing your stunning day with us! Thank you also to the folk at Wood & Willow for sharing today’s celebration.