David and Stephen
Bahamian couple David and Steve married at one of Australia’s most renowned restaurants, Three Blue Ducks, in the Sydney suburb of Rosebery, where a relaxed and cool vibe was the focus for their wedding day.
Mr T - How and when did you meet?
S - Dave and I have been together for seven years, with most of that time spent living overseas.
We met at ARQ, a trashy dance club in Sydney. I saw Dave dancing and, well, he’s a handsome guy so naturally I went over and started dancing awkwardly near him and his mate, Lachlan. Lachlan helped things along by shoving a very drunk Dave towards me.
After a couple of hours of hectic dancing, we stopped at a dingy pizza place on Oxford St and I remember offering to buy Dave a slice of pizza. He was indignant, saying that he would buy his own pizza. He then peeked into his wallet, saw he had no money and turned to me and said, “OK, you can buy me a slice of pepperoni.”
Before even having a bite though, he dropped the slice – face-up – on the footpath. He then looked down at the pizza, looked at me, and shrugged. He reached down, picked up the pizza and started eating it. It was at that moment I knew I really liked him.
MR T - Tell us a little about the earlier days of your relationship...
D - After dating for eight months I abandoned plans to move to London and relocated from Sydney to Hanoi, Vietnam where Steve was based for work. We lived there for four years and absolutely loved it: the food, the people, the work and the adventures! At first, it was challenging living in a developing country with no support network but I have no doubt that overcoming those challenges together made us stronger as a couple and as individuals.
We are incredibly lucky to be blessed with family, friends and colleagues that love and support us unconditionally. Living overseas, particularly in Vietnam and now in the Bahamas, has helped us appreciate how lucky we are to be Australian and to have a strong support network.
Mr T - What does Marriage mean to you?
S – It means a future where my best friend and I work together to achieve our dreams and aspirations – both shared and individual. It’s about continuing to seek a life of crazy adventures, where we strive to be the best versions of ourselves and provide support for each other in the good times and bad. Dave really is the man of my dreams, and I can’t wait for the day when we’re old and playing dominos at the nursing home (as opposed to now, when we’re young and playing dominos at home).
Mr T - Who proposed and how?
D – Steve proposed to me in Central Park in New York on a beautiful Spring day. We had spent our last day in the city trying on engagement rings “for research”. After we finally found one that I liked in David Yurman, Steve suggested we go for a walk around Central Park to think it over.
I didn’t realise Steve was actually scoping out a spot to propose, I just thought he was being fussy about shade to protect his delicate, freckly skin. When we found a spot overlooking the pond and it was just the two of us, Steve turned to me and popped the question. I was really shocked because he had told me we’d have to put the ring away for a while and speak to our parents to get their blessings first, but little did I know he had already done this months before. Sneaky!
Steve and David’s story continues below ↓
Mr T - What was the most important thing to you surrounding your wedding?
D – Maybe it sounds selfish, but our top priority was that we wanted to have fun! We wanted it to be a relaxed, cool vibe and that helped streamline a lot of our decisions, such as how many guests we would have.
We figured that if we were relaxed and enjoying ourselves, everyone else would too. Weddings can be stressful, especially when the budget and the guest list goes off the rails a little.
Our band, The Cope Street Parade, were fantastic. They played covers as people arrived, and then again after the ceremony during the cocktails and canapes. Our guests loved this!
We also cleared a lot out of the schedule (by keeping speeches to an absolute minimum) to create at least 2 hours of dancefloor time, and we spent months compiling a killer Spotify list. This really helped our guests have fun.
We also hired a foosball table and a giant Jenga set. On our travels to Cuba we bought a mountain of Cuban cigars, which were a hit with our guests, particularly those who weren’t dancefloor assassins.
Mr T - How did you choose your suppliers?
D - Being based so far away from home we sourced all of our suppliers online and through word-of-mouth. The great thing about Facebook is that you can get a good read of people and venues by looking at their content and their reviews.
It also helped that some friends had been to weddings at our venue and used some of our vendors because we knew exactly what we were getting. We also wanted suppliers who were familiar with our venue to make the day as seamless as possible, so that provided a good shortlist of the options.
Mr T - Any standout suppliers?
D – All of our suppliers were amazing.
In particular, our photographer, Sonja, did an incredible job! We wanted our photos to be candid and laid back and she absolutely nailed that. We also wanted some iconic Sydney shots by the harbour and Sonja knew all the good spots to hit. We wanted to do our family photos before the ceremony so that straight afterwards we could get straight into the celebrations, and Sonja gave really good advice about how to do that effectively.
The food and drinks at Three Blue Ducks Rosebery were also fantastic. Our guests are still raving about the spit-roasted lamb. The selection of bubbles and wines was very popular. When we returned the next day, the restaurant said they’d never had a wedding group drink so much bubbles.
Our florist Marie was also fantastic. Given neither of us have green thumbs all we knew is that we wanted it to be masculine and green to match the rustic venue. Marie took that brief and hit it out of the park.
Mr T - Did you find it difficult to translate more common traditions into a ‘same-sex’ wedding?
D & S – In short, we kept some traditions and adapted them and dispensed with the others. From the get-go it was important to us that our wedding portrayed us as equals. We had our parents walk each of us down the aisle, which they loved doing. Steve’s grandparents were part of the wedding party too. They are big supporters of ours; they convinced people in their retirement village to vote ‘yes’ in the referendum.
We wanted the ceremony to be a true reflection of us as a couple – laid back, irreverent and sentimental - so we gave our celebrant, Jo Fabro, plenty of material and free reign to ensure the ceremony was the right balance of feels and funnies. So many of our guests told us afterwards that it was the best ceremony they had ever witnessed. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house, that’s for sure – thanks Jo!
After our first dance, we both grabbed our mums for a mother-son dance, before everyone else joined us on the dancefloor. That was a really beautiful moment for us and it meant a lot to our mums who have always been our biggest champions.
We dispensed with a lot of traditions, such as not seeing each other before the ceremony and sending out paper invitations. We deliberately chose a venue where the wedding and reception could be held in one place because we wanted to avoid the logistical nightmares of taking photos after the ceremony and moving people between venues. Doing this made the ceremony seamless and kept the vibe and momentum going strong. While children were welcome at the ceremony we had an adults-only reception, which helped our guests let loose a bit more than they ordinarily would.
Mr T - What was the most difficult thing about planning your wedding?
D – Being so far away! You could not get further from Sydney than the Caribbean, so we had to be really organised and pragmatic about the wedding. Not being there on the ground meant it was difficult to scope out all the venues that may have interested us but maybe that made the choice easier.
I found our florist, band and celebrant on Facebook after a lot of stalking but other than that everything else was done over email and Skype. We even put the deposit down on the venue before we had been there ourselves (although we’d heard plenty about it from our friends)!
Mr T - Where did you spend your honeymoon?
D – After the wedding we went straight to Bali for a 5-night ‘mini-moon’. About a month later we took a month off and went to Miami, Rio, Buenos Aires and then on a cruise around the Caribbean. We definitely had major post-travel blues afterwards.
Mr T - Any advice for other couples planning their day and finding it difficult to navigate the journey?
S – We found that one of the biggest advantages of having a same-sex wedding was that we had greater freedom to make the wedding whatever we wanted. We found that many of our family and mates hadn’t attended a gay wedding before, so we could break all the rules and just make it as fabulous as we wanted.
D - Maybe it’s because as a community we’ve had to fight so hard for the right to marry, but we felt like people really wanted our wedding to succeed and went the extra mile. That said we did have occasional moment where we felt like the wedding industry was still catching up. There were a couple of times we heard the phrase “bridal party” which made us wince, but when we raised this people were mortified and instantly changed their practices to cater more to same-sex couples.