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Sonja & Craig’s Downtown Minneapolis Wedding at Aria



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Sonja and Craig’s wedding was a night to remember with all the romance and beauty of a storybook wedding. A former ballerina, Sonja sparkled all day when floating down the aisle and dancing with her husband into the night. 

With their fairytale wedding set in downtown Minneapolis at the Aria, Sonja and Craig said “I do” surrounded by their beloved family and friends. From stand-out art installations to stunning florals, here’s a small peek into Sonja and Craig’s special day. 

Sonja and Craig’s legacy of love

Sonja is from the Twin Cities and grew up in Edina, MN. I met Sonja at a young age when she attended the Minnesota Dance Theatre School with my oldest daughter Alexa. 

They performed together in Loyce Houlton’s Nutcracker Fantasy for over 10 years. As they grew up, they performed roles from the littlest mice to flowers and snow fairies. After years of carpooling and getting ready backstage, Sonja became like one of my own. 

When she reconnected with me to share that she was engaged I was so very happy for her. She then expressed she wanted me to design her wedding, an honor I will never forget. Then, I had the honor of meeting her husband-to-be, Craig.

Craig is originally from the Boston area but relocated to the Twin Cities for his job after college. Although Sonja and Craig lived in Boston at the same time for a few years during college, and despite their overlapping social circles, they never met.

In November 2018, Craig and Sonja met through the popular dating app Hinge. He proposed during a trip out east in August 2020, and they were together for three years before getting married.

As a ballerina turned doctor, Sonja dreamed of a modern fairytale wedding that matched the many love stories she read as a young girl. To fully realize her grand vision, she needed to choose a wedding venue. 

Choosing Aria as their Minneapolis wedding venue

Located in the historic Minneapolis North Loop, Aria Event Center features industrial-style architectural elements, high ceilings with crystal chandeliers, and exposed brick backdrops. With a whopping 77,000 square feet of urban brilliance, Aria attracts style-led couples with artistic sensibilities.

glass chandelier hangs from above with beautiful floral centerpiece on guest table at Aria

Selecting the perfect wedding venue was an easier decision for Sonja than for most people. As a young ballet dancer, she had fond memories of performing in this historic building. Once known as the Theater de la Jeune Lune, this downtown Minneapolis gem welcomed audiences from all over the world. 

Since the landmark held special significance for Sonja, it was one of the first vendors they booked. She wanted it to feel like they were dancing under the stars, so our team at de Vasco’s Daughters got to work bringing her vision to life.

Envisioning a ballet-inspired wedding design 

Set in Minneapolis, Sonja’s fairytale wedding wouldn’t have been complete without the inclusion of cranes. From a fierce love of her grandmother, she wanted to incorporate cranes, as they symbolize strength, spirituality, and creativity. To honor her, we crafted a wedding design with intentional details that highlighted the simplicity and beauty of cranes.

paper cranes hang form above as a couple says I do inside Aria

The custom stationery created by Jill Elaine featured majestic cranes within a pattern of delicate florals and muted blues.

paper crane inspired wedding stationery

These florals were carried into the design for the delicately designed cake by Ink Sweets with the rich colors reflected in the linens from Linen Effects

floral inspired ivory and gold wedding cake

I set out to do something that had never been done at Aria: a grand lighting installation with thousands of paper cranes hanging from the ceiling.

Following our unique vision, we partnered with PHOS Events and Girl Friday Creative to create this true masterpiece for the bride and groom. It’s the most magical, fairytale-inspired installation we’ve ever created, and their guests marveled at it throughout the event.

thousands of paper cranes hang from the ceiling with strands of lights over a wedding ceremony space in Aria

The incredibly talented florists at Studio Fleurette incorporated metallics into the blush pink and ivory floral designs of Sonja’s bouquet, ceremony arbor, and reception room. Everywhere guests turned, they were greeted by stunning florals fit for a day of romance. 

Fine art photographer R. J. Kern and the videography team at Alma Films created one of the most breathtaking wedding galleries I’ve ever seen. They artistically captured the magic and splendor of Sonja and Craig’s day.

Saying yes to the dress

Sonja chose a flattering couture Berta ball gown from one of Minneapolis’ favorite bridal shops Annika Bridal—featuring a fitted bodice, minimally designed straps, and a voluminous skirt. With thousands of sequins on her dress, she sparkled and truly looked like a ballerina walking down the aisle.

beautiful bride wearing a sparkled ballgown and carrying a floral bouquet

Preferring a romantic and relaxed hairstyle, Sonja wore her hair down with classic barrel curls and natural makeup thanks to her stylist at The Salon by Andrea Hunt

A pair of blush pink strappy heels from Bella Belle Shoes and a white fur shawl were the perfect finishing touches. The bride’s six bridesmaids wore neutral-toned fur shawls to keep warm in their champagne blush Jenny Yoo silk dresses.

bridal party in satin champagne bridesmaid dresses walking in downtown Minneapolis

Dancing underneath the stars

As a lifelong dancer, it’s no surprise Sonja danced the night away with Craig, surrounded by her family and friends. 

With the electric, high-energy live performance of the Bluewater Kings Band, guests were invited to join them on the dance floor after finishing their delicious meal provided by The Deco Catering.

This magical evening full of romance and whimsy left the couple and guests with memories to treasure for a lifetime.

a beautiful couple shares their first dance in front of their guests at the Aria

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