Written by Gabrielle Boyer. Photograph by Zeudi Hinds.
When Bermudian Tyasha Smith moved to London in 2011 to study commerce law she never anticipated that the move would set in motion a string of events, ultimately culminating in what could only be described as fate. Taking root in the London borough of East Dulwich, Tyasha and her daughter Ayeuri quickly settled into their life, taking advantage of all the big city had to offer. Little did they know that in a small butcher shop less than a block away from their flat was Randolph Kandassamy.
“The first time I saw Randolph, I had only just moved to London,” says Tyasha. “He was a butcher at my local butcher shop. Despite seeing him at least once a week for two years, we didn’t officially meet until the summer of 2013.”
The long wait had nothing to do with poor timing or disinterest; both parties were enamoured with one another but too nervous to make a move. “We locked eyes the first time she came into the shop, that’s when I kind of fell in love with her,” says Randolph. “Every time I saw her she was glowing, she always looked so beautiful. I couldn’t keep my eyes off her and day by day, the more I saw her, the more I fell for her.”
When the pair did finally introduce themselves, it was with a little help from friends. “After months of talking about Randolph (whom she dubbed ‘Frenchie the butcher’) to two close friends, they dared me to take action,” says Tyasha. “They gave me a week to formally introduce myself. I had no intention of pursuing the challenge but, of course, things ultimately worked out in favour of everyone.”
“I was walking to the launderette and saw him outside the butcher shop talking to a friend. His friend was the one who initiated conversation between Randolph and me, which led to him walking me to the launderette and then back to my flat,” says Tyasha. Knowing that this was her chance, she mustered the courage and told him that she had to run, but that he should take her number and get in contact. “He called me five minutes later to make sure I didn’t give him a bogus number! If only he could have seen me blushing.”
The couple’s first date took place several days later. “We went to a local bar called the House of Tippler on the High Street less than a block from my flat,” says Tyasha.
Both Tyasha and Randolph were nervous but happy to finally be able to get to know each other properly. “We talked for hours, about everything,” says Randolph. “Time got away from us but I knew I had to see her again soon. I asked if I could cook for her the following night and she agreed. We’ve been inseparable ever since our first date.”
After dating for several months, both Tyasha and Randolph knew that their meeting and subsequent relationship was not merely serendipity but rather the universe coming together just for them. “For the first time I felt safe and loved,” explains Tyasha. “There was no work to put in, everything with him was so easy; there were no expectations, no fears, no concerns, just laughter and love.”
Beyond the couple’s love for one another was one very special person, Ayeuri, Tyasha’s daughter. “The icing on the cake was his relationship with her,” reveals Tyasha. “Kids have the best character judgment and she was infatuated with him from the beginning. She adored him and the way he treated us.” Indeed, Randolph cherished his budding relationship with Ayeuri, making sure to include her in his life with her mother. “Meeting her confirmed how strongly I felt for Tyasha,” he says. “We were so connected, she felt like my own. She melted my heart every time she asked me if I would marry her mom and I always answered her with ‘Yes, one day.’”
When the time came in March 2013 for Tyasha and Ayeuri to move home to Bermuda, Randolph knew their separation wouldn’t be permanent, and after he visited for a week that May, the couple began talking more about their future and marriage. If it didn’t already feel as though it was meant to be, Randolph was able to secure a job and he returned to the island in late July with a ring and a very big question.
Despite already having a wedding date confirmed and a small ceremony and reception in the works, Randolph proposed to Tyasha in the living room of their shared home. With a heart-shaped ring that paid homage to their relationship (“From our first date, wherever we went, a heart was sure to be found!” says Tyasha), Tyasha accepted and their engagement was official.
When it came time for the happy couple to plan their nuptials, they agreed on a simple, laid-back beach wedding—with rustic elements. Part of that decision was about keeping costs low, and thus a very small ceremony was planned at 9 Beaches, with a barbecue dinner and bonfire reception.
With respect to décor, the couple came up with a theme: beach rustic chic, which included earth tones, wood elements, burlap and Mason jars. They minimised costs by getting creative with fine details, including crafting much of the décor themselves.
With 11 family members in attendance, Tyasha and Randolph said “I do” mere footsteps from the water on September 5, 2014. A candlelit dinner with seafood and steak followed on the adjacent dock, with a bonfire after-party featuring a s’mores station and rum swizzle to toast.
Ultimately, Tyasha and Randolph don’t consider themselves traditional and urge other soon-to-be-wedded couples to be unique and plan a wedding that celebrates them. As for the happy couple, they have a new addition to celebrate: their son was born in June 2015.