Last weekend, I shot my first Japanese wedding. I feel incredibly lucky to have had this experience. Though it was incredibly stressful, it was a beautiful event that I will remember forever. The bride and groom, Aiko and Steven, were amazing. They were married at Kihi Shrine, which is about ten minutes from our house. This shrine has been featured in television shows aimed at showing what life is like around Misawa.
The ceremony was small and intimate, with 20 or so family members and close friends. There were many ceremonial events that happened at the ceremony, including the drinking of sake and the reading of scrolls. I wish I knew more Japanese so I could have understood what was being said!
After the ceremony, we took photos. The sakura started to bloom the day of the wedding and we were able to spot a few buds on the trees at the shrine.
After pictures, we headed to Kizan Misawa, which is basically a building with meeting rooms and ballrooms for events such as these. The ceremony was bigger, with nearly 60 guests in attendance. The party went late into the night and the bride and groom (and photographer) were exhausted once it was over!
While I enjoyed every part of this wedding, the part that amazed me the most was the amount of intricate detail that went into the bridal outfits. During the ceremony, Steve and Aiko wore traditional kimonos. Aiko's was made up of about 10 unique layers and it took several people to get it on her! She also wore a traditional Japanese head piece that weighed about 15 pounds. She looked absolutely stunning after the artists completed their work.
After the ceremony, Aiko returned to the Kizan dressing room, where her assistants helped her to change out her headdress. The bright, colorful hair ornaments were swapped out for sparkling silver ones. The effect was stunning.
Halfway through the reception, both bride and groom returned once more to the dressing rooms to change into their last outfit of the evening. Steve wore his Navy uniform while Aiko wore a beautiful red, ruffled wedding reception dress. I was amazed at how quickly the artists took of the 10 kimono layers and headdress, completely redid her hair and makeup, and got her dressed in the gown. She was in and out of there in 20 minutes flat, which was an amazing feat in itself.
As I've gone through photos of the event, I have had trouble pinning down my favorites. There are so many beautiful photos of this beautiful event, and I am so glad I was able to take part in this very special day!