Bohemian Indian-Sri Lankan Waterfront Engagement

Sonia & Eraj


The locales of Australia, with its wide sweeping plains and serene waters, can take your breath away – no matter what time of year. Combine this with a fun loving, newly engaged couple with a hopeless love for the outdoors and all things wine and cheese! Sonia and Eraj’s engagement soiree was just magical. Held in teepees at South Perth Foreshore, overlooking Swan River and the CBD, the rustic theme was brought to life by amazing DIY decor. Their 350 guests were treated to out of this world food stalls with a Peruvian chef flown in from Melbourne, freshly shucked oysters and an epic dessert bar! Laced in fairy lights, the open air dance floor added the perfect touch of romance to the evening. If this was only the engagement, we can’t wait to see what they have in store for their destination wedding!

About The Couple

How we met

We were both in the city for drinks with friends and ended up talking at the bar. We decided to go for dinner the next week and ended up chatting all night long.

How we are as a couple

Eraj and I are both very adventurous, we love to spend our weekends out and about. Some of our favourite things to do are going on road trips down south to the beautiful Western Australia coast with friends or bike riding around Perth. We love our food and wine and enjoy having friends over as much as possible.

What marriage means to us

Building our lives together as one with lots of adventure along the way. Always staying present in the moment and growing together every day.

How he proposed

I’d been away on a trip to Europe for a few weeks and it had been the longest we had been apart. When I returned, Eraj surprised me with a perfectly planned trip down south to Margaret River, the wine making region of south-west Western Australia. He had planned every detail was meticulously while I was away, including an getting an engagement ring made. We love going for trips down south and enjoying quiet nights with wine and cheese. So we were doing our usual wine and cheese feast before dinner when he popped the question.

The engagement ring

Eraj designed my engagement ring, it’s a brilliant cut six-claw solitaire with wrapped detail on the shoulders. The way it’s set allows you to see the whole diamond which really enhances the overall look. Eraj He purchased it from Solid Gold in Perth and designed the shoulder details himself.

The Details

Engagement Planning & Theme

DURATION: We were engaged 21 March 2015 and decided to have the engagement party on 30 May 2015. This didn’t leave a lot of time to plan our event.

APPROACH: We knew we wanted a big engagement party as we had already decided on having a smaller destination wedding. The engagement party would therefore be the perfect opportunity to celebrate with our extended friends and family.

The event was also an opportunity to celebrate our style and aesthetics and our love for throwing parties. We knew we would be restricted from the traditional ceremonies of a Sikh wedding, so the engagement would be the perfect opportunity to go all out. We generally have the same taste in things, so it was really easy and fun to organize together.

THEME: Rustic, raw, natural.

RESOURCES & TOOLS: To be honest the best tool for me, was brainstorming with my family. Eraj and I both get really excited when planning events and we love talking about them together with people. This was where a lot of the inspiration came from. We also both use Instagram and Pinterest, so this was another great resource for ideas. It allowed us to then communicate what we wanted to our various professionals.

INVITATIONS: We knew how we wanted our invitations to look but it took a little while to source someone who could make them. We finally came across Melbourne based, Print Fairy. They used very thick pieces of wood with text printed on it. It enhanced our theme of natural and raw materials to give guests a bit more of an idea of what to expect on the night.

Engagement Overview

VENUE: South Perth Foreshore (Sir James Mitchell Park). 350 guests.

Since we had decided on a large scale event, we needed somewhere with a lot of space. Perth has very limited venues that have style and hold a lot of people. Eraj and I love the outdoors, so we thought about creating our own venue. My sister-in-law who is in the events and catering business, recommended the outdoor space on the South Perth Foreshore, with stunning views of the Perth CBD across the Swan River. We’d never seen anything like it before and thought it would be perfect for the party.

Having the event at the park however meant we needed to source everything right down to the water, security, cooking space, shelter. Everything. In the end, though, we were so happy with the decision.

EVENT HIGHLIGHTS: The engagement party was a large, cocktail-style outdoor event. We wanted our guests to have a great night and had several food stalls and a range of bars set up around the space. Highlights included:

  • Food stalls: Food stalls were carefully thought out with a mix of cuisine that represented the food that Eraj and I love. There was Indian food from my Sikh heritage, provided by my family’s catering business. Sri Lankan string hoppers from Eraj’s background were catered by a local Sri Lankan chef. We both love Peruvian slow-cooked meat and seafood, so we had our family friend who is a chef at Pastuso, a Peruvian restaurant in Melbourne, fly in to help prepare the food. To top it all off, we added a huge dessert buffet with petit fours and amazing cakes made by my mother.
  • Surprise slideshow: My twin sister surprised us with a slideshow with photos of Eraj and my relationship over the last two years.
  • Open-air dancefloor: I also loved dancing the night away with friends to some of our favorite songs.

Key Professionals

DJ & LIVE MUSIC: We had a four-piece live band called Late Night Astronomers playing an amazing three-hour set during sunset. A friend of a friend who is a DJ provided music for the rest of the night.

PHOTOGRAPHY: For our engagement party we used Field Notes. Rachel was amazing, she had a big job of taking photos of our 350+ guests and all the detail and styling of the night. I had originally decided on a Perth renowned photographer Jarrad Seng, but unfortunately, he had to cancel at the last minute. He helped find someone with a similar aesthetic to take over and I think Rachel did an amazing job.

Décor & Unique Details

We used decor extensively to bring to life our rustic and raw theme and stick to a natural color scheme. We had help with the styling from WedStyle. Some feature decor and unique details included:

  • Teepee: Instead of getting a generic marquee we opted to use life-size teepees made of the canvas by The Zest Group. This really sets the tone for the event theme.
  • DIY Bar: Eraj and I spent weeks building the bar made out of old pallets and the ‘BAR’ sign.
  • Furniture: We hired various rustic themed seating, benches and ladders from WedStyle and Hire Society.
  • Firepit: We had a huge fire pit as the night drew colder, organized by WedStyle.
  • Lighting: There were festoon lights and candles everywhere (organized through WedStyle), creating a warm and cozy atmosphere.
  • Flowers: We had lots of green leafy bunches of native florals to keep with the rustic/raw/natural theme. Florals were sourced and styled by WedStyle.

The Look

SONIA’S OUTFIT: I wore a white lace detail dress from Zimmerman.

JEWELLERY / ACCESSORIES: I kept my jewellery to a minimum and wore some drop earrings that had been gifted to me earlier that day from my best friend and jewellery designer, Lotus JewelsI accompanied this with a simple gold bar necklace.

SHOES: Grey suede heels by Zomp.

HAIR & MAKEUP: I decided to get my makeup done by Mecca Cosmetica. We went for a golden / bronzed look. I had my hair styling done at Head Studio and had in a messy wave.

ERAJ’S OUTFIT: Eraj wore a blue linen suit by SABA with a white shirt and bowtie.

SHOES: Brown leather lace-ups by Aquila.

Tips For Brides-To-Be

  1. No one knows the plan. If something goes wrong, or changes, just go with it. At the end of the day, no one knows that it’s wrong except you.
  2. Relax and make sure you stop and enjoy that event for a couple minutes. Whether you need to go and stand at the back and look at everything, or find your partner. Stop and embrace it all. Time will fly, so take that moment to absorb it all. You will remember it forever.
  3. Be decisive and stick to what you want. My family didn’t understand the approach Eraj and I were going for. They thought we were mad organising a large party outside in teepees in May, when chance of rain was fairly high. But it worked out in the end, and everyone loved every minute of it!

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