Kimono, Hair and Make Up:Tinkerbell: http://www.tinkerbell-wa.com
We are so lucky to work with great couples, and these two were right up there with the best! We were so happy to make their dream day a reality, and, thanks to forces beyond our control, were able to add a bit of pink to the day. Right from the outset, they knew they wanted a cherry blossom wedding. They wanted a beautiful garden setting, amazing kimonos and an authentic Japanese feel – the kind you can only get here in Japan.
Unfortunately, many gardens don’t contain a lot of cherry blossom so we sadly had to adjust the original plan. However, luckily we have some great back ups! The opportunity to have an intimate wedding followed by personal dinner service was too good to miss. We booked our friends in Kawagoe, Ryoutei Yamaya, for this. It is a beautiful 150 year old restaurant in an area of the town known as Little Edo, due to its historical feel.
It didn’t disappoint!
Meeting the Couple
While we had spoken to the couple several times on Skype and through countless emails, we met them in person for the first time the day before the wedding. It was like meeting old friends: the conversation flowed! This was good, because we had a fair train ride across Tokyo from their hotel to our first port of call.
We took them in person to visit our kimono vendor in her studio, where she has hundreds upon hundreds to choose from. Many of her kimonos are pieces of art, and at the same time many are also antiques. When you wear them you are wearing history! It can be quite daunting making any decision when presented with so many choices. However, the bride knew her favored color – green – and made her choice very quickly. Not only did the Hoshiya-san, the kimono vendor, provide the kimonos, but also the hair pieces, which too are antique works of art. The bride was going to be a stunning, walking museum!
Our second meeting would come the very next day – wedding day!
The Wedding Day
We met them bright and early, for the 4o kilometer train ride north to Kawagoe, and it was quickly apparent that this was going to be another warm day. One of a few such days in the generally cold spring we had been experiencing up until that point. It was a good omen.
While we are at the restaurant setting up the ceremony spot beforehand, the business owner told us of a river nearby that was lined with cherry blossom trees in full bloom. She offered to take the photographer and I there to check it out, to see if it was a viable option for photographs. Knowing how much the couple wanted to include some cherry blossom in the day, we immediately went to check it out. It was phenomenal; we had to make use of it: the cherry blossom wedding was now on! But first, the bride and groom had to get ready.
The restaurant was kind enough the provide us a few rooms which could be used for the bride and groom and the small army of helpers. Getting into a kimono is never a one person job! Hoshiya-san, brought two helpers with her, one for the hair and make up, and the other to assist with the kimono.
While all this was happening, the koto player arrived. We had used a koto for the first time in January a Tea House Elopement and it helped to create the perfect ambiance. After the couple heard about this, they had to have it too!
We held the ceremony itself in the garden of the restaurant. It was a beautiful, little, secluded area with a gorgeous canopy of greenery overhead and the sounds of nature all around.
Just prior to this however, we did the “first meet” photography. This is aways fun. There is always a bit of waiting around as the couple get ready, and in the meantime the anticipation of what each other looks like builds. The photographer selected a spot where the groom waited to meet his bride.
She, as predicted, looked stunning. Usually brides choose red; this was the first time I personally had seen green worn at a wedding. Yet it suited her “to a T”! Hoshiya-san and her helpers had done a fantastic job with the hair, the make up and the kimono. And, judging by the groom’s reaction, he thought so too! Smiles all-round; nerves dissipated: now time to do the ceremony.
This took around 20 minutes and included the reading of their personal vows; ring exchange; an introduction to the legend of the red string of destiny and the signing of a specially made wedding certificate from Serendipity.
We hired one of our favorite photographers for this event, Iwata Kohyoh (@koh.yoh), and yet again, he didn’t let us down. His eye for detail and his artistic approach to the whole affair makes him one of the best we have worked with. After shooting the ceremony we all piled into two taxis and made the short trip to the river with the cherry blossom. It was gorgeous. I’ll let the photographs speak for themselves!
Last but not least was their private dinner together in the restaurant. The staff at Yamaya were keen to introduce them to an old Japanese custom, the breaking of the salt. A tai fish is cooked in salt which solidifies under heat and needs to be broken in order to get to the fish. This whole tradition is akin to the cutting of a wedding cake in western weddings. And, it is delicious!
“We were so lucky to find Serendipity’s Ross and Ayako! The time they spent making our day effortless was beyond our expectations. Dan and I had a private garden wedding in Kawagoe. The tradition and beauty of our surroundings was breath taking. Our day consisted of love, laughter, tears, Kimonos, cherry blossoms, more laughter, food, beauty and cherry blossoms, all of which have created the sweetest of memories. When I first started planning for our day I found the language barrier and cultural differences challenging. But then I found serendipity flowers and everything fell into place. Ross and Ayako are not only the top of their game in regards to weddings they are the very nicest of people.”