Sonja and Aaron's Elegant Art Gallery Wedding - Modern Wedding

Sonja and Aaron's Elegant Art Gallery Wedding - Modern Wedding


S O N J A + A A R O N

Hundreds of candles and lashings of Ivy and Jasmine filled Sonja and Aaron's reception with romantic ambiance. Set in an art gallery in Perth's CBD, their special day had all the trimmings of a traditional wedding, set in a contemporary way.


We first met...

Aaron and I met in Broome in 2001. We were both involved in a fashion/dance parade for the opening of the movie Moulin Rouge, which to this day we still haven't seen. The chemistry was instant, and we couldn't stop talking or being near each other all night. This affection and 'need' for each others company has continued for over 15 years. We have barely spent any time apart at all, we genuinely love each others company and are a perfect fit in almost every way.

We knew it was love...

When filling out this questionnaire I asked Aaron this question. He responded with day 5.

So I guess it was fairly fast. We bonded really quickly and I felt as though I knew him already, I know that is a cliché statement, but we really are the same person. We both resort back to what we call our 'primal instinct' as a base for what we think is right to those unanswerable questions. For example, what is the best diet. We think, well, what did they do as cave men. We use this throughout life, and strongly believe it was a primal instinct that brought us together, as if we quite literally were made for each other. We joke about this as the reason why we are so obsessed with each other and why we struggle to be apart.

Getting to know each other was so much fun, there were never any awkward moments, which was unexpected because we are both quite shy. Especially then.

The proposal...

Aaron proposed in a small village in France in 2015. It was our first time in Europe and we were so excited to be there. Poor Aaron carried around his 'man bag' with the ring inside for the majority of the trip trying to find the perfect moment. One would think the Eiffel Tower would make for that moment, but when we were there, Aaron felt it was too crowded and not special enough. Then when we arrived a week later in a small village outside of Paris called Semur En Auxois and I cried when we arrived because it was actually that beautiful, he knew he had found the perfect place. The last night we were there he told me to get some rest while he set up for dinner. Our bed & breakfast was part of a medieval castle, which had 2 stone towers converted into balconies that over looked a river surrounding the village. The setting was incredible. Aaron had placed candles all around our tower, a table in the middle, arranged dinner, wine, music, everything!!! It was incredibly romantic. Then at the end of dinner he came over to me, got down on the traditional one knee and asked me to be his forever. After being completely overwhelmed and then even more overwhelmed by the ring, we then laid on the stone floor and looked at the 'French' stars for hours. It was a beautiful night, so much more than I could ever have asked for. Or ever expected.


Our dream wedding...

We wanted a wedding that had all the traditional trimmings, set in a contemporary way.

We knew for certain we had to have a Church wedding, so it was just finding the perfect Church paired with a modern reception venue. When we discovered Linton & Kay Art Gallery in the heart of the CBD we didn't need to look any further, it was perfect. From the enormous and grand timber staircase as you enter, to high ceilings, fireplaces in every room, stunning architraves, polished timber floorboards and contemporary artwork throughout. The gallery embodied the dreamy romance we were looking for.

Our colour scheme was shades of white, blushing pinks and creams. We envisaged an entire wall covered in ivy and jasmine, table garlands lush and thick, silver candle sticks and crystal vases and glasses. We wanted soft muslin cloth draped thick down long tables, jasmine covering the fireplace and hundreds of candles!!!

Our photographer...

We used Michelle Kiddie. We chose her because she loved to capture the moments you never expect to see. She blended into the crowd and we barely even knew she was there. When we met with her we just clicked, she was fantastic, and made us feel really comfortable. I love all our photos, and mostly the ones where we are not even thinking about the camera.

Ceremony location...

Christ Church in Claremont. This was the perfect choice for us, the priest Father Peter was so lovely. He was funny but not cheesy, excitable but not over the top. And very professional, he had been doing weddings for a really long time and knew exactly what to do, and how to make us feel comfortable. The Church had a stunning choir, organist, and of course Church bells, my favourite part!!!!

Reception venue...

Linton & Kay Contemporary Art Gallery in the heart of Perth CBD

Pre-wedding celebrations...

Not really, I spent the night at The Terrace Hotel with my bridesmaids. Pretty typical, nails, and a lot of gossip and nerves.

The bridal party...

I had four bridesmaids. Polley, Ariya and Agnese who are all friends, Polley being my oldest friend, and Katie who is my sister in law.

Aaron had three groomsmen, his brother Rhys, my brother Steven and his friend Paul.

The bridesmaids wore...

My beautiful bridesmaids wore Shona Joy, a halter neck style in nude. They paired this with a gold stiletto's and button pearl earrings.

The groomsmen wore...

The groomsmen all wore custom made suits by Oliver Wicks. All the suits were a navy blue and they wore tan shoes.

The groom wore...

Aaron wore a custom Italian suit in Navy by Lanieri. He had tan shoes, and an antique lapel pin which I bought for him as wedding gift.

The dress...

My dress was a Galia Lahav, I am so in love with my dress still. It was just incredible to wear. I actually had my dress made three months before the wedding. It took me 8 months to find exactly what I wanted. I drew hundreds of sketches of my dream dress but couldn't find it anywhere, and after a failed attempt to have it custom made and almost giving up hope, there was a trunk show at Dion's Bridal. And there it was, my dream dress, covered in the most stunning crochet lace I had ever seen with a train so long it was impossible not to feel like a princess. When I tried a sample on, it was everything I wanted it to be. Apart from the fact it was incredibly over our budget. I wasn't sure my fiancé would approve, in fact I was certain he wouldn't. When I spoke to him about it though, I was shocked that he convinced me to just get it. He said by the look on my face it was already my dress, and he wanted me to be happy. So exciting!!!!!!

The inspiration for my dress was the same as everything in our wedding, a mix of classic contemporary and finding that perfect balance between the two. I knew I wanted lace, a dramatic train, and for it to be strapless. My Galia was all of those things, incorporating a sheer corset with an extravagant crochet lace skirt, scalloped hem and long train. A work of art, and statement to such an outstanding designer.

Wedding flowers...

Our bouquets were large with white peonies, roses and hydrangeas. I wanted a classic look, with lots of big white fluffy flowers.

Reception décor...

The feeling was opulent, romantic and contemporary. There were an abundance of peonies, roses and ivy all in our colour scheme of white, blushing pink and creams. In the past year I had collected antique silver candle sticks and crystal vases to fill the tables. We had mesh backed chairs, silver charger plates and every guest had an individual rose on their plate. The large staircase at the entrance to the gallery was decorated with wild ivy, jasmine and candles. The bold and bright artwork of Kate Elsey was displayed throughout the gallery, this offset with our crystal, silvers, and white made a perfect connection between modern and romantic.

We wanted it to feel like you were in a dream, we had soft muslin cloth running down the long tables, all overflowing with ivy, jasmine and candles.

We used Kate's artwork to make modern table numbers and wrapped chocolates as our bomboniere in brightly coloured Japanese art paper. Our vision of a wall covered in ivy and jasmine ended up incredible, and we felt like we were in a lush garden.

We actually brought in our grand piano for the evening and had an amazing pianist for the dinner. Afterwards we all danced like teenagers to the classics like Blue Swede Shoes and Sugar Sugar.

Alaina Dunk from Mi Moo did our flowers and she was incredible!!! She went so far above and beyond to get what we wanted. She worked endlessly creating our ivy wall, our bouquets, our table garlands. She was fantastic.

Our cake was made and decorated by my cousin Mihaela. It isn't her job to make cakes, but it definitely should be. It was quite literally the most beautiful cake I had ever seen, and was also delicious.

On the menu...

We always wanted a sit down reception. We had a cocktail style for our engagement party, so this gave us an opportunity to try both. We are really glad we did, it was more formal, and at times, we just needed to sit down to be able to take it all in.

We went for a banquet style menu, where whole fish and large salads were bought to our tables. We wanted it to feel like a Christmas feast. I mean, who doesn't love Christmas!!


We wrapped assorted chocolates in various brightly coloured Japanese art paper.

Memorable moments...

Oh yes, so many. For me, probably my number one moment would be arriving at the church and walking down the aisle. When I saw Aaron's face all puffy and teary and full of emotion, I broke down, it was so emotional, and so beautiful all at the same time. I will never forget it.

Other favourite moments would be when we left the ceremony in our own car. Aaron spent hours polishing and decorating our car with ribbon, a 'just married' sign and tin cans. It is a convertible so we could sit up in the back and pretend it was the 1960's. Driving off together was magical, we had so much fun in the car. We had our beautiful friends and witness's Vanessa and Amaury drive us to our first photoshoot. We later met up with the rest of the bridal party for more fun and photos.

Aaron's speech would be another highlight moment. He worked so hard on it, and he was just never happy. I told him to just be 'us' and forget about everyone else that is there. Speak from your heart, and be what we are together. And he did exactly that, he captured our playfulness, our innocence and our insatiable love for each other. As well as our silly humour that only we get. I could go on and on about favourite moments, so let's just say it was all of it. Our friends, our family, each other, EVERYTHING.

Wedding soundtrack...

We chose You Raise Me Up as our main theme song. This was our bridal entrance song as well as our first dance song. Both times were played live. Our church had a stunning choir who did their own rendition with the organist. Then at the reception we had Jay Weston sing and play the piano to this song.

Other songs were:

Pre bridal entrance - Pachelbel's Canon in D

Signing of the registry - Ave Maria sung by soloist Alexanda Bak

Processional of the Bride and Groom - The Wedding March by organist Stewart Smith

Bridal Entrance - You Raise my up sung by the Schola Aedis Christi choir and accompanied by Stewart Smith

Reception Bride and Groom entrance - Cupid by Sam Cooke

Favourite dance numbers - New York New York, Blue Swede Shoes, La Bamba, The Twist, and of course, lots of Elvis.


The honeymoon...

We went to Mauritius for our honeymoon. It was an incredible place, we highly recommend it. We were quite adventurous and made the most of every day there. We went snorkelling, quad biking through the jungle, hiking, stand up paddle boarding. Aaron went parasailing, and water skiing. We also had a car while we were there so we drove around a lot and tried to see as much of the country as possible. We had so much fun practicing our limited French on the locals. "Bonjour, comment ca va" we would say to almost everyone we met, then giggle to each other. Turns out, even though this is French, it is apparently too French, and they would know immediately we were tourists. So much for blending in!!

Future plans...

Renovations, babies and lots and lots of love and cuddles.

In 40 years we hope to...

Have more cuddles, more fun and even more laughter. We hope this never stops.


The engagement...

Relax, but don't relax too much. We thought we had it all covered as soon as we booked our venues. We thought, weddings are a breeze!! What are people complaining about... Well, how wrong we were..... We spent the last few weeks before our wedding basically not even sleeping at all because we still had so much to do.


Be organised, I can't stress this enough. And don't take on too much yourself. If you can't afford to pay someone to do it, then don't include it. You will probably be the only one who notices anyway. Although it saying that, we did a lot ourselves and worked endlessly in the end and I still wouldn't change a thing.

On the day...

Don't worry about what anyone else thinks, it is your day so do it how you want it. And remember, you will never be able to please everyone, so just please each other.

The biggest advice I could give would be to get a good wedding video. I cannot possibly begin to express how much our video means to us. It wasn't something I considered at first as important, or even budgeted for. But I am so glad we did, to watch back our face during the ceremony is just priceless. For us, it is the most important thing we did even.

We cry every time we watch it, and it takes us right back to those special moments. I can't wait to one day show our children, and again, be right back in that church and in those moments.

If I were to plan a wedding for someone this would make the top of the list, it's hard to appreciate how important it is until you have it. So take my advice, and don't risk missing out on this one.

Photography: Michelle Kiddie Photography / Bride's dress: Galia Lahav / Bride's shoes: Bella Belle Shoes / Bridesmaids dresses: Shona Joy / Hair and makeup: Yvette Gray / Florist: Mi Moo / Celebrant: Claremont Perth Anglican / Wedding venue: Linton and Kay / Honeymoon destination: Four Seasons Mauritius / Entertainment: Jay Weston / Gift registry: Peters of Kensington / Videography: Alucinor Productions

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