We hear the phrase opposites attract all the time, but what does it really mean? Well, when we meet our complete opposite, we’re actually meeting someone with the potential to show us new points of view. Kahlia and Aaron instantly bonded over their differences – American vs Australian, introvert vs extrovert, tall vs short. These differences brought them closer and led them to this intimate wedding they created together. Red Eclectic followed alongside Aaron and Kahlia throughout their romantic day, perfectly capturing each and every intimate moment.

It was at a bar in Leederville that Kahlia and Aaron met at their mutual friend’s birthday. “Aaron was soaring high above the crowd (6 foot 5), and I always fancied tall, dark, handsome men. So he fit the brief, and we got talking and bonding over making fun of each other’s accents mostly at first. Aaron being American and me being Australian. I am an introvert, and he is an extrovert, so he brought me out of my shell and made me feel instantly comfortable.”

Aaron, being the secret romantic he is, schemed and planned their whole proposal without Kahlia’s knowledge. Kahlia’s sister was involved from the get-go – helping Aaron with ring shopping all the way to scouting the location. “Aaron made up a story that he ‘bumped into’ my sister the morning of the planned proposal and asked her if she wanted to come to a late lunch Aaron and I had planned at Coogee in Common. I thought it a bit strange for her to be invited to our date, but we are very close, and her partner was away, so it wasn’t uncommon for Aaron to invite people along to our dates. So I didn’t think much else of it,” she explained. “Aaron said that we were a bit early and did we want to go for a beach walk before lunch. Still blissfully unaware and walking ahead of them, my sister handed the ring to Aaron so I didn’t notice it in his pocket. My sister took a photo of Aaron and me, but she was actually taking a video. Aaron told me to look over at the jetty, and when I turned back around, he was on one knee. Still to this day, neither of us remembers what he said, but I know it was very sentimental and heartfelt; I initially thought he had pranked me as he is a bit of a joker, and I left him on his knee for a solid minute before I answered ‘yes’ still in complete shock. Then when we went for lunch, my whole family was waiting there to surprise and celebrate with us. It was so perfectly thought through and executed; he did so well!”

Originally, Kahlia had planned to buy a second-hand dress for sustainability and cost reasons. So, she visited a few bridal boutiques to get an idea of the type of gown she wanted. That was until she arrived at her third store, Aubrey Rose. “It was a cosy boutique with the nicest sales ladies; they made you feel at home and so special, whereas some of the others I had been to weren’t as personal and didn’t like the styles as much. I really had no idea what I wanted to get, but when I put ‘the one’ on, it just felt comfortable, and I felt like a princess without feeling too different from myself. I looked in a second-hand store the next day but couldn’t get ‘the one’ out of my head. I didn’t have a ‘teary moment’ or anything cliche like they say you do, but I just knew it was the one for me. As I also was unsure about wearing a veil, the ladies also ‘threw in’ a ‘free veil’ for me, which helped me seal the deal.”

Wanting to keep their romantic wedding intimate, Kahlia only had two people in her wedding party—her older sister (who helped Aaron propose!) and her good friend from university. They had free reign over what dress they chose, but they had to stick to the colour palette of blue and orange.

The flowers for the day were bright, colourful, and cheerful shades of orange and blue natives. Vintage Milly Floral crafted her bouquet, boutonniere, bridesmaid bouquets, and arbour flowers. Kahlia’s sister’s talented partner also made this incredible wooden frame.

Aaron also had two groomsmen, his brother and his good friend. They wore suits they already owned, with the addition of an orange and blue checked bowtie to match the day’s colour themes.

According to Kahlia, Aaron is the type of two who has two types of fashion – the type to dress to the nines (vest, suspenders, suit pants and jacket) OR his second style – very casual t-shirts and shorts. Thanks to this, shopping for his suit was no new task. Aaron, along with his brother and dad, visited the InStitchu showroom, where they had the help of their own personal stylist. He chose this classic style dark blue suit with a pink inner layer (” to match his vibrant personality”, Kahlia says.). The date of their wedding is embroidered on the inside of the suit jacket to keep the important numbers close to his heart.

Their intimate wedding was held at Feld and Co., which, with its beautiful greenery and industrial feel, perfectly matched their lively colour scheme of blue and orange. “I had run a few pottery workshops in this space in the past, and it felt like a second home to me, so it was an easy choice,” explained Kahlia.

They wanted one reception and ceremony space for convenience and accessibility – accessibility was the most critical aspect of the venue. “Six months after our proposal/engagement, Aaron sustained a traumatic spinal injury during a game of basketball. He was running down the court to defend the ball, and he got caught up in his opponent’s legs and launched into the brick wall behind the goals. He hit his neck, and he was immediately paralysed from his chest down. As a result, he had six months of gruelling inpatient therapy and has since been doing intensive physio in the community. He spends the majority of his time in a wheelchair. Therefore, the venue needed to be accessible and easy for him to push himself around.”

What Aaron remembers most about the day was the anticipation of things starting: “Waiting at the altar for what felt like forever for the bridal party to walk down the aisle. Then, once things get going, everything moves so fast, and it seems like a blur. You rely heavily on pictures and videos to jog your memory about the day. The most memorable thing for me was reliving it the next day with my bride.”

Kahlia walked down the aisle to a live acoustic version of “Extraordinary Life” by Gordi. “An absolute favourite of mine and one that I feel depicts our relationship. My two bridesmaids walked down first, then my dad and I walked down. I was very nervous, so I walked very fast even though I knew to walk slower.”

Their ceremony was the perfect mix of personality, intimate moments and plenty of emotions. “Given our journey over the past few years with Aaron’s injury, we have gone through A LOT together, and we knew that our vows were going to be emotional. We had a good friend of ours, Jake, be our celebrant because he knows us well already, and we both felt very comfortable with him. He has such a kind, caring presence with a hint of humour, which is what we wanted to help break up the emotional parts. We did not do any readings; however, we both wrote our own vows. Because Jake knew us, Aaron requested instead of him doing the traditional ‘how the bride and groom met’ story at the start, he wanted Jake to do a story about his first encounters with both Aaron and me. It was so personal and special.”

As the ceremony wrapped up, Aaron put all his hard work at physio to work and walked back down the aisle with Kahlia by his side. The couple took off with their photographer, Kat, to grab some wedding portraits while their guests enjoyed a cocktail hour.

Kat from Red Eclectic took care of Aaron and Kahlia’s photography needs, exuding a contagious joy they couldn’t help but love. “She went to great lengths to ensure the day went well, saying that she even wears black dresses so that brides/grooms can wipe their fingers on her dress if they need to quickly, like after I ate a strawberry when we were out taking photos,” Kahlia shared. “She also went above and beyond to help make the day run smoothly, even giving me and my bridesmaids a lift to the venue, and was helping me ease my anxiety in the car by requesting the girls put on some songs to get me feeling better. No photo was off limits; she even gathered me and my school friends around with our champagne and lay down on the floor to get a shot looking upwards to all of us cheering. I am typically a bit uncomfortable in photos, so Kat knew what questions to ask me or Aaron or tell me where to place my hands/arms/legs to help give me direction and loosen up in photos; I can’t recommend her enough!”

One of Kahlia’s favourite details of the day wasn’t a tangible thing but just how mindful and present both she and Aaron were. “Because we had a small guest list of 45, and they were all our nearest and dearest, I didn’t put pressure on talking to everyone; in fact, I don’t think I really had many conversations because my focus was dancing and having a good time with everyone. Aaron and I had many private moments where we were dancing together and soaking it all in. I hear this can be rare for couples at weddings, so this was a goal of mine. Once when we were dancing and hugging, everyone joined us for a big group hug, and this was a highlight as well as the time when Aaron and his friends surprised us by picking Aaron up in his wheelchair and picking me up so we could both have our bride and groom moment (that I didn’t think was possible with Aarons wheelchair) so this was extra special for us both.”

Scattered throughout the space were little details handmade by Kahlia and her friends and family. From the thrifted glass vases to the party favours with American candy (lollies), the smallest details were as important as the big ones—like the activity table Kahlia set up. “I always like a little ‘activity station’ type thing at weddings, so I made the off-shoot room a little activity room for grazing food, polaroid photos and scrapbook for writing messages to us, and the audiobook telephone.”

Another important aspect for Kahlia and Aaron was the food and indulgent drinks! They both adore Italian food and enjoy a substantial meal, so early on in their planning process, they secured the wood-fired pizza food truck The Fire Truck, which served delicious pizza and Italian desserts. The next thing they secured was The Handsome Stranger bar van that specialised in cocktails. “Aaron and I preferred to spend a bit more on the drinks as we prefer nice quality cocktails rather than traditional beer and wine. We still had that on offer but most guests loved the cocktails, no surprises there!”

Aaron, the joker he is, requested the DJ start playing “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran. When the lyrics “When your legs don’t work like they used to before” played, guests laughed good-naturedly. Their DJ quickly merged it into “Still Falling For You” by Elli Goulding. “This was always going to be our first dance song as we both love it, and it really matches up to our journey – even though we have been through hell and life is challenging daily for us, we still have each other and a partnership that is so strong that gets us through.”

One of Kahlia’s favourite photos is from this first dance moment. The photo of Aaron twirling Kahlia represents all the hard work they put into physio for him to be able to sustain a standing position for the duration of the song, even practising his balance so he could twirl her around. “Something that is very precious about Aaron is that he likes me to have my moment and shine, so this was no exception.”

Congratulations, Kahlia and Aaron. We hope your intimate wedding was half as romantic to experience as it was to view! Thanks to Kat from Red Eclectic for capturing and sharing this beautiful story with us.