Meet Ella and Jimmy: a couple who, after 10 years together, were so, so ready to say ‘I do’! “We met at a nightclub in our teenage years, studied at the same university together and battled through when Jimmy was diagnosed with stage-4 cancer,” Ella tells us – so when Jimmy popped the question while on holiday in Japan, she said ‘yes’ in an instant. 

The brief for this glorious big day was “contemporary, timeless, clean lines, sophisticated, minimalist with bold statement items”, the couple says. “We wanted the wedding to feel intimate (or as intimate as it could be with 250 guests…) so we made decisions like cutting the reception space down and opting for the bridal table not to be on an elevated stand – all things to bring everyone closer together.”

It was a tactic that totally worked and everything about this big day is a heckin’ dream, from the arbour (would you just look at all that baby’s breath!), to the espresso martini tower. Honestly, we’re obsessed with the gorg photos by Stefanie Buma Weddings – take a scroll and see for yourself!

THE VENUEOur ceremony was held at University of Western Australia’s Sunken Garden . It’s funny how we both studied there but never knew this place existed! It was the perfect venue that we didn’t have to do much to, with its lush greenery and ‘secret garden’ feel. The reception was at The Westin Perth and matched our modern but elegant and minimalist aesthetic. The staff were flexible, they even let us occupy the entire level to create a separate section outside of the ballrooms for the dancefloor.”

FAVE DETAILSDoing the first dance barefoot. After practising in heels a couple of times with a dodgy knee and two left feet, I decided minutes before the dance that the heels were coming off! It eased my nerves immensely and the dance turned out to be a highlight for a lot of our guests which was unexpected. We also loved the espresso martini tower by The Stables Bar. It was a fun way to incorporate our favourite cocktail and get the party started for the surprise afterparty.”

THE DRESSMy usual style is minimal and classic with some drama or a ‘twist’ that makes it stand out a little, and for my wedding dress, that was the big bow. I knew I had to have my dress custom made because I had a clear idea of what I wanted but wasn’t confident I could find it off the rack. Faith Anderson Bridal was such a pro and made the whole process so enjoyable. Many fittings and six mock bows later, the dress of my dreams was a reality and it made me feel like a million bucks! The tulle gloves I purchased from Etsy were the perfect finishing touch to the look.”

REFERENCESInstagram, Pinterest and Hello May magazine and website.”

TAKE ON TRADITIONWe wanted to incorporate traditions that were relatable to us as first-generation Australian-born Asians. That, of course, was related to drinking and festivities. We included a Lion dance as one of our surprises during the night. This paid respects to my [Ella] Chinese heritage, with the performance acting to bless the couple to have a happy and healthy marriage. We also incorporated a drinking game involving a Vietnamese ‘cheers’, which the wedding party would play at each table with the aim to have the loudest cheers of the night. The toast was simple enough that anyone could play – all they had to do was shout, ‘1, 2, 3, IN!’ at the top of their lungs before taking a shot.”

WE’RE GLAD WE…We decided to hand out disposable cameras to our bridal party and a few other guests to pass around. We loved the films that were developed from them and really enjoyed seeing photos through the guests’ eyes. There’s something about disposable cameras that bring out the goofy in people and capture the best candid moments.”

STANDOUT VENDORSWhilst all our vendors were amazing, two stood out for our connection with them.  Firstly, Stefanie Buma Weddings, our photographer. Stef made us feel so comfortable and captured all our candid moments. The photos turned out better than we could have imagined which couldn’t have been easy for two people who are not naturals in front of the camera. Secondly, our emcee and close friend Priscilla Le went above and beyond both in preparation and delivery. Priscilla brought humour and energy, which definitely got the crowd hyped and filled the night with excitement.”

CONTRIBUTING VENDORS Photographer Stefanie Buma Weddings Coordinator Bloom & Grow Wedding Co. Florist Natural Art Flowers Stationery Canva Printer Starfish Lane (invitations), BarleyBoy Creative (menus) Ceremony UWA Sunken Gardens Reception & Catering The Westin Perth Accommodation The Ritz-Carlton Perth Cake Sieve & Stone Espresso Martini Tower The Stables Bar Ice cream Cart Kuld Creamery Hire Items M Event Hire (chairs), Black Label Events (bridal table, backdrop, tables, chairs), Canvas Event Hire (arbour and sign holders), Hire Society (cake stand, signing table, linen) Photo Booth Kiss and Tell Photobooths Lighting & Sound Hire AV Partners Signage BarleyBoy Creative MC Priscilla Le Celebrant Katie Trew Rings Stefans Diamonds, Solid Gold Diamonds Transport Silverlady Wedding Cars THE BRIDE Gown Faith Anderson Bridal (long gown), Par Violet (minidress) Getting-ready sets Piyama Shoes Dior Gloves Etsy Earrings Natasha Schweitzer Hair Maddison Jade Hair Makeup Elona Commerell via Muse Studio Collective Fragrance Maison Margiela Bridesmaid dresses Calli Bridesmaid shoes The Iconic Bridesmaid gifts Chanel (compact mirrors), Aesop (hand cream), Glossier (lip balm) THE GROOM Suit & Shirt InStitchu Bow tie Lanvin via Mr Porter Shoes Ermenegildo Zegna via Parker & Co Watch IWC Schaffhause via Watches of Switzerland Groomsmen suits & gifts InStitchu