A rodeo star and songstress tie the knot, cowboy-style.
You could call the style of the wedding vintage Western glam or Texas rustic chic. No matter how you slice it, though, one thing is certain: The Hill Country wedding of Australian singer Shea Fisher to professional rodeo star Tyson Durfey wasn’t short on fashion — or fun.
It was one of those rare October days in Austin: windless, sunny, and neither too hot nor too cool. At the Vista West Ranch, the family and friends of Durfey and Fisher gathered beneath the blue sky to witness the couple’s union. Guests wore cowboy boots beneath pressed jeans or slacks, and some women had swapped their heels for boots beneath flowing cocktail dresses. At first glance it looked like a classic Hill Country affair. But between the Australian bride and the Brazilian rodeo pros in the wedding party, this was a truly international affair.
Fisher and Durfey met at a rodeo event in the United States, but Fisher grew up in Australia, where she had her first No. 1 single at the age of 17 (she has since signed a record deal in the United States and had a top-20 hit on CMT). Durfey himself travels both the country and the world competing in tie-roping rodeo events. Fisher wanted their wedding to reflect that international lifestyle.
“I loved that we had a lot of American traditions but also brought in some Australian traditions, like the four or five speeches given,” Fisher explains. “That was one of my highlights.” Several people, including the bride’s military-outfitted brother and the groom’s father, stood before the gathered reception crowd and offered advice to the new couple or shared stories. “Everybody’s speech was incredible, and it made it really special,” Fisher says. “People have thought long and hard about what to say, and it’s not easy getting up in front of people like that.”
Other elements of Durfey and Fisher’s lives were threaded into the event as well. The groom’s cake included photos, an edible re-creation of Durfey’s Wrangler NFR belt buckle, and an actual piece of competition rope wrapped around the base of the cake.
After an outdoor ceremony, guests made their way inside a beautifully decorated barn. The tables juxtaposed masculine birch-wrapped vessels with feminine mercury glass vases overflowing with a soft mix of blooming vintage flowers. To create a romantic glow, footed glass vase candles and small mercury glass votive candles in various shapes were added throughout the tables. The barn itself was adorned in hanging string lights, willow sphere lights, and burlap drapes hung on the sides of the barn poles. Khaki linens covered the tables, which were lit with subtle pin-spot lighting. The effect managed to be both breathtaking and comfortable.
That same description could be applied to the wedding party’s attire. Bridesmaids wore coral dresses and delicate turquoise jewelry paired with brown custom-made Corral boots, complete with each person’s initials on the pull-tabs. The groomsmen wore black custom Corrals, as did the groom. (Corral is a sponsor of Durfey’s.) And as for the bride? Her boots were threaded with blue, and on the bottom of each sole was written “I” and “DO,” respectively. “I figured, why not go completely over the top?” Fisher says with a laugh.
Fisher’s Maggie Sottero dress, meanwhile, was classic and elegant — and, to Fisher’s surprise, not custom. “Originally they were going to custom design one for me,” she says. “But then I went into the store, and that dress was the exact dress I was going to design, corset, long train, everything. I didn’t even have to get it adjusted or fitted; it fit like a glove the first time I tried it on.”
In keeping with the casual theme of the wedding, and to complement his Irish skin tone, Durfey wore a cool gray suit. But Durfey admits that even if he looked cool, he had trouble keeping his cool: “The most important moment to me was when I first saw her walking down the aisle,” Durfey says. “As a cowboy, you’re supposed to be tough. But I felt emotions that I don’t get very often. I wanted to start bawling like a baby, and I didn’t really know how to handle that. I squirted a little tear, and a couple more came, and finally I was able to get a hold of it. But that to me was the best moment, when I first saw her coming down the aisle. She looked beautiful.”
The pair wrote their own vows, Durfey’s even in rhyme, and had bridesmaids and audience members alike dabbing tears. “I put quite a bit of thought into my vows,” Durfey says. “We were on the road a lot; I made time for it, and I tried to do a good job and to explain the way she makes me feel and the way I feel around her. And just listening to the words she said to me, our vows are a written contract to each other of how we’re going to treat each other forever. We know it’s not always going to be perfect, but that means a lot with me, when I give somebody my word and I tell somebody I’m going to do something that’s exactly what I do.”
Fisher says she loved that the wedding continued into the early hours of the morning, and that her guests seemed to be at ease. At the reception, after a tasty dinner, guests helped themselves to either cake or a custom cheesecake station — or both. They also slipped up the stairs to the hayloft, where Fisher and Durfey had stationed a photo booth in which guests could leave video messages for the happy couple.
Though Fisher and Durfey are quite young, they both seem to have some of the quiet wisdom of a cowboy — and a cowboy’s dedicated, hard-working spirit, too, whether for their careers or for one another.
Fisher laughs as she says she hopes one day that she and Durfey are like Ty Murray and Jewel. “My goal here in the next few years is to get a song out on the radio, I want to have some top-10's here in the U.S.” She’s also supporting Durfey on his road to a first-place finish at NFR. This past December, the tie-down roper tied for third.
“As a couple both having careers and traveling a lot, it can be hard,” Fisher says. “But we’re both very supportive. We want to see each other success; his goals are to be the best in the world and to win a gold buckle, and he’ll support me until I have my number one hits here in the U.S.”
From the April 2014 issue.