Suna Avci & Thomas Gunther

Personal touches make music-themed wedding sing

Photos courtesy of Ryan Moore Photography. 

Suna Avci and Thomas Gunther expressed gratitude for how involved their friends and families were with their wedding.

“I think what made our wedding special was the things we didn’t do ourselves, our loved ones did,” said Suna, originally from Darien and a 2003 graduate of Hinsdale South High School. “We hired very few outside vendors. … That made everything really personal through the whole process.”

The couple were married at the Danada House in Wheaton. As professional opera singers, Suna and Thom’s wedding centered on music. Thom’s voice teacher became certified to officiate the ceremony, and at the end of the ceremony, some of Suna and Thom’s friends sang to them as a benediction.

The wedding colors were red and ivory, to match the ruby engagement ring Thom carefully selected from an antique shop in Chicago. Each table was assigned the name of a classical composer, and Suna made placeholders out of Jenga pieces that also were magnets. Instead of clinking glasses for a kiss, the couple devised a “kissing menu” with tasks, such as singing a song or drawing a picture, that would make the couple kiss.

Suna made flowers using a mixture of photocopied sheet music of pieces that were being performed in the ceremony, handmade mulberry and banana paper she bought at a shop in Thailand and crocheted straw flowers she bought from an artisan stand in Micronesia.

The bride fondly recalled sneaking away during the time in between the ceremony and the reception to practice their choreographed first dance to 1920s jazz piece “Deed I Do.” The couple hadn’t seen each other for three months up until the Aug. 18 wedding due to travel.

The couple met in summer 2009 at an opera program in Watseka, an Illinois town located 15 miles west of the Indiana state line. They lodged at the same bed and breakfast, and Thom left little chocolates on Suna’s pillow every night without her knowing, until the end of the stay when he revealed himself.

A few years later, Thom proposed to Suna in her grandfather’s garden.

“I wanted her to have that connection with her Turkish grandfather as well as her family,” said Thom, who hails from Muscatine, Iowa. “I didn’t want to make a big spectacle. I wanted it to be personal.”

The couple live in Lexington, Ky., where Suna teaches and Thom is pursuing a doctorate degree from the University of Kentucky.

The Details 

Photographer: Ryan Moore Photography, Chicago

Venue:  Danada House, Wheaton

Officiant: Bill Shomos, groom’s former voice teacher

Floral arrangements: DIY by the bride

Disc jockey: Benan Avci, brother of the bride

Dress: Dress shop in Thailand

Bridesmaids’ dresses: Joielle

Tuxedo: Men’s Wearhouse

Every wedding tells a story. Contact Renee at or 312-651-6613 to share yours.