Couple Surprises Guests with Wedding In Rhode Island Forest


July 18, 2015 • West Greenwich, Rhode Island

By Courtney Raymond

As 170 guests began to arrive for what groom Tyler Nobis informed them was a secret, hush-hush proposal for girlfriend Lauren Halvorson, what this sneaky couple’s family and friends didn’t know was that the surprise was actually on them—big time.

From the moment Lauren and Tyler decided to have a surprise wedding, they knew their day would not only be extra special, but a memorable tale of their love and individuality. “We saw a movie where a couple had a surprise wedding,” remembers Lauren. “Tyler said that would be his dream, but I wasn’t interested. Eventually, I changed my mind and it was perfect.”

Since Lauren is a wedding photographer and Tyler is a minister, they wanted a venue that didn’t make them feel like they were at work. “We see so many weddings. We didn’t want our day to remind us of someone else’s moment. We wanted it to be as organic as possible … no tents or extras.” The couple discovered the URI W. Alton Jones Environmental Education Center in West Greenwich, Rhode Island. With its beautiful trails and handmade benches, the location was a functional blank slate that the couple could make their own.

“Just because it was a surprise didn’t mean we wanted to sacrifice anything,” the bride explains. So with the help of her future husband, parents and in-laws, Lauren and Tyler planned the whole shebang down to the attire for bridesmaids and groomsmen. “We didn’t want anyone to spend a dime,” notes Lauren. “So I bought multiple dresses for the eight girls in my bridal party, along with shirts and mismatched bow ties for Tyler’s six guys. When we surprised them, we had everyone change quickly so the day still had the look and feel of a wedding.”

After the shock of the unexpected nuptials wore off, it was time to eat and party. While seated at an enormous table that New England Country Rentals specially designed to fit 170 of their closest family and friends, Lauren had her “aha” moment. “Tyler and I sat in the middle and I looked down the table to see everyone we love and it was so surreal,” she remembers. “You can’t always create something like that.”

Lauren’s number one piece of advice for the nontraditional bride and groom is that they shouldn’t be afraid to “do it wrong.” She says it’s where the magic happens. “We did everything ‘wrong.’ 150 percent, I would do it again. It was the day we wanted; it was true to who we are and truly authentic to our story.”

Photography by Kaihla Tonai Photography

Featured Vendors: LOCATION URI W.Alton Jones Environmental Education Center // TABLE + CHAIR RENTALS New England Country Rentals // FLORIST WeedWeavers of Wakefield // CAKE & CUPCAKES Sweet Indulgence; The Duck & Bunny // CATERER Moe’s Southwest Grill // BRIDAL GOWNS Oleg Cassini (David’s Bridal); Modcloth // BRIDAL ACCESSORIES Veil from David’s Bridal; shoes from Express; Jewelry from Dara Ettinger // BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES H&M; Forever 21; ModCloth; Target // GROOM’S ATTIRE Express // HAIR STYLIST Tina Taubin // STATIONERY Rebecca Bliss // RINGS Ken & Dana Designs; Etsy

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