I don’t quite know how to describe this event without some major perusing of the images by Rad + In Love. They do it way more justice than any introduction that I could give. My description goes a little something like “bohemian, backyard awesomeness with a side of rad ring bearer jackets”. See, looking through the images is way, WAY better. Do so to your heart’s content right here.
From the Bride…We’re artists, parents, multi-ethnic and multi-national, and we wanted a ceremony that reflected all those aspects of who we are as a couple. What resulted was a bohemian ceremony at my sister’s house in LA (who was the matron of honor) followed by a party outdoors under the night sky. We were inspired by a December we spent in Paris, where it was freezing, yet the energy of the street was so alive with people bundled up drinking mulled wine and hot apple cider under christmas lights. That was the starting point for our cozy autumnal wedding in Los Angeles, with our friends and fam sipping warm drinks and soup and bundling under blankets to keep warm during the ceremony.
With the personal feeling we were going for, we had a lot of our friends and family pitch in with their talents. My mother has always loved flowers and she did all the arrangements. I asked a dear friend of mine who is like a brother to me to marry us, and he got his officiant’s license to do so! Catering was provided by another friend of ours, Chef Alisa Reynolds who is so energetic and ridiculously talented – she totally eased my anxiety in planning this and she is so easy and fun to work with. Her sister bakes and made the most amaaaaaaaazing strawberry cake that I’d tasted years and years ago – the cake came about by sheer mistake. I asked for “the accidental cake” to be our wedding cake, and Alisa said that she had never seen a wedding cake get eaten up so quickly in her career! I received so many texts about that cake days after the wedding, it was hilarious. It really was THAT good.
A dear girlfriend who is like family to me helped us execute our vision for the lighting which was major because I had no idea how we were possibly going to pull off what I was seeing in my head. She gifted her friend, Steven Gerstein, who came in to do the lighting and event design and just like that, another bundle of light came into our lives to make the process so much smoother and a lot more fun. It was exciting to see all of our ideas come to life so perfectly. The ceremony took place on a simple stage we had built above the backyard pool, surrounded with candles and string lights in the trees. The guests sat on couches and pillows facing the stage. We wanted the feeling to be dreamy and romantic, and it truly was.
Another friend of ours is an incredible composer/arranger and plays viola. He offered to gift us with his string quartet to play at our wedding, which would have been so beautiful. But we soon learned that his brother would be getting married on the same day at the same time! It was a bit of pressure figuring out what to do – being musicians, we definitely felt like we had to come up with an amazing alternative for the music. Our solution was to nix the live music plan, and simply play songs that what we liked and not take ourselves too seriously. We have sons from previous relationships, ages 6 and 10. They looked so handsome during the procession, of which they came out to Yusef Lateef’s “Love Theme from Spartacus” which is so so beautiful. As for me, I decided to come out to something TOTALLY different than originally planned: “Lovin’ You” by Johnny “Guitar” Watson.
I have a pretty huge family and incorporated nine of my ten sisters (other than the matron of honor) in the ceremony by having them enter the backyard, each opening a paper umbrella to hide their faces and obstruct me from view as they stepped into their positions on either side of the door. Once I stood in the doorway, my sisters raised their umbrellas to reveal the bride…quite dramatic but I loved the fanfare! It was also a subtle nod to the groom’s Japanese heritage. I wore a lace Marchesa gown and a veil that I tea-stained with a friend. Our boys wore jackets made by family friends, inspired by Jimi Hendrix and Hussar Dolman.
During the ceremony, Mark’s brother joined us onstage to light a paper lantern in honor of their father who just recently passed away. That was a beautiful moment, watching the lantern waft into the sky. After we exchanged our wedding rings, we really wanted to include our boys in this union and did so by inviting them up on stage to join us and presenting them with a pendant necklace to signify our new family unit that all four of us were marrying into. The necklaces were all from the same piece of gold cut into four, designed with our friend, jewelry designer, Suzanne Hollingshead. The pendant makes a circle when put together, with X.XX.XII engraved on each piece: the date of the ceremony. We had a case designed from rose quartz to house and charge our pendants when they aren’t being worn by a friend of Mark’s from New Zealand, stone cutter, Joe Sheehan.
Our ceremony was followed by a hearty “comfort-foods” dinner with reflections instead of a traditional toast. Our table was placed on the stage where we had just been married, and our friends lined up at the side of the stage, each of them visiting us to offer congrats. Dinner and reflections quickly turned into a full-on dance party. With no shortage of DJ friends, we were so happy to have a few DJ the wedding. Mark proposed on New Years day, a day that has always been a favorite holiday of mine. With that in mind, we wanted to give the night a subtle New Years Eve feeling with loads of confetti throwing and sparklers to close out the night. We ended the night with the bouquet toss. Our best man arranged a limo for us, where I tossed the bouquet backwards through the top of the limo before we drove off, waving to our friends. The whole night felt like magic! Every bride deserves to feel as special as I felt that night.
Photography: Rad + In Love | Lighting Designer: Steven Gerstein | Rentals: Del Rey Party Rentals | Caterer: Chef Alisa Reynolds | DJs: DJ Spinna + DJ Jedi + Ge-ology | Wedding Dress: Marchesa | Headpiece + Shoes: Zara | Ostrich Coat + Jewelry + Purse: Vintage | Veil: Found downtown and dyed w/black tea with help from Via Davia Vinatage | Boys Jackets: Custom made with help from Via Davia Vintage | Groom’s Clothing: Zara | Hat: Goorin Brothers | Shoes: Barneys New York Family Pendant Necklace: Custom Made by Suzanne Hollingshead of Zanne Jewelry | Rose Quartz Pendant Case: Joe Sheehan,Custom