Getting ready for the “Big Day” at Angel Springs
Following family tradition, I didn’t have any bridesmaids – just my sister.
And as odd as it sounds, I liked it that way. I was a bundle of nerves the entire morning… having Anna there helped calm me down. Family, man, you can’t do any better than that!
The solid gold wedding bands were a wedding present from my Nonnie. They belonged to my Nonnie and my biological (and deceased) grandfather. I never got a chance to meet him (and I absolutely adore my Nonnie), so the rings meant a lot to both Ryosuke and I.
On the inside of the ring is the engraving from over 50 years ago “Nelda & Maurice” along with the new engravings, “Grace & Rio.”
In a hilarious turn of events, we couldn’t find a jeweler able to fit Ryosuke’s rather long name inside the ring without erasing the previous engraving. We decided to shorten his name to “Rio” instead.
Ryosuke loves telling that story to friends.
The Miraculous Dress(es)
The story of my wedding dress(es) is pretty unique. Notice how I said dresses – as in plural?
I wore two dresses at my wedding.
The first dress:
This is the dress I fell in love with as a little girl. Both my mother and my Auntie M wore the same wedding dress – while dress shopping when my mom was getting married, they fell in love with the same dress and begged my Nonnie to spring for it. Both girls would wear the dress – alone it was outside my mother’s price range, but together, it was within their combined budget.
My Nonnie bought it.
My mother and Auntie M both wore the dress – making it a family heirloom.
My sister and I also planned to wear the dress.
Recycling is good, I really just can’t get into the strapless wedding dress trend, I loved the style, and the heirloom dress was free. I tried it on for the first time a couple months before the wedding and it fit perfectly.
Except then we took it to a dry cleaners to clear up the stains (it had been preserved after my Auntie M’s wedding) – only to discover the dry cleaning company had ironed the stains in, bleached the front, and stuck it in an acid box, ruining the dress. The stains were obvious and permanent. The company kind of assumed the dress would never be worn again.
They were wrong.
They’ve also been out of business for about fifteen years now (probably for doing the same thing).
In any case, I wrote an open letter for the internet to see, titled A Letter to the Company that Ruined my Mother’s Wedding Dress. It got picked up by Huffington Post and viewed close to 90,000 times.
As a blessing in disguise, I got about twenty emails from other brides offering up their own wedding dresses (since I couldn’t wear mine). A neighbor of my Nonnie’s who founded the Reid’s Dry Cleaning business in the Austin/Round Rock area also read the article, recognized me as my Nonnie’s granddaughter, and “borrowed” the dress for a month and a half, trying all sorts of experimental cleaning techniques.
And 45 days later, he had all but fixed the dress.
He couldn’t get the faded color out – but I liked the dress in Ivory anyways. It was beautiful.
The second dress:
Good things come in pairs, I’ve heard. Received a lot of blessings at my wedding – but my second dress was one of the most memorable.
Remember when I said that I got a collection of emails from brides who wanted to let me use their old wedding dresses? One of them was a good friend of my mothers.
I never intended to use the dress – I didn’t feel comfortable taking some else’s “something old” and possibly ruining it. But I made one exception with my mother’s friend. We went to her house, to try on the dress.
“Once you’ve tried it on, you can make a decision.” My mother insisted. She was a tad bit frustrated because I was still holding onto the idea that maybe, somehow Mr. Reid would be able to fix her dress (he did).
Unlike my mother’s old dress, this dress had never been used. A wedding had been planned, but never happened. It still had the original price tag. “It’s a good thing,” our family friend told me, “I’m happy. And I have the most beautiful baby boy in the world.”
I cried when I put on my mother’s friend’s wedding dress.
It also fit perfectly… and absolutely breathtaking – everything I wanted in a wedding dress and more.
I wore my mother’s old dress for the beginning and cocktail hour – and switched into the “new” dress for the ceremony and reception.
Us “Bucheles” are a complicated folk.
The Pre-Wedding Pictures
We were a bit nervous, but Jade and Kyle were so helpful and supportive.
Not only did they capture all the “essential” shot for a wedding, but they got some wonderful, “accidental” shots of us chatting, laughing, and walking around.
The First Look:
We hadn’t seen each other the entire day of the wedding – a difficult feat because we both had spent the last two weeks at my parent’s house in Texas. I slept at a neighbors house that morning and called the home phone (warning Ryosuke to get out of the house) every time I had to come back to get something else I had forgotten (several times). My father is a tad bit old fashioned and was pretty adamant we not see each other the day of the wedding.
Until the “First Look” photos, at least.
When I walked outside, Ryosuke was standing there with his back to the venue. They positioned my dress perfectly before I was allowed to call out to my soon-to-be husband.
It was romantic.
Like I said before, this was my first “professional” photo shoot. I didn’t get high school graduation photos (or sweet 16 photos, because apparently that’s a thing). Ryosuke and I didn’t have time to take professional engagement photos. Neither of us got college graduation photos.
This is it.
And man, the photos turned out absolutely beautiful. Thank you, thank you, thank you Jade & Kyle Photography.
The “Long Distance” aspect of our Relationship
As many of you might know, Ryosuke and I only dated for about 5 months before he moved back to Japan. We met the first day of my Sophomore year of College, during his one-year study abroad at Ursinus College (from Akita International University in Japan).
We stared off as friends, before graduating to “best friends,” and then “lovers.”
When he moved back to Japan, I followed him for a 15 month study abroad program of my own.
Even in the same country, we were an 11 hour bus ride away from each other. Still, every other weekend, one of us would board the lonely, cramped night bus for a trek to the other’s city.
We did this for 15 months – getting engaged half-way through.
Then I moved back to America to finish up my degree. Thankfully I’m a freakish over-achiever and was able to graduate a semester early with my double-major (even though I had spent so much time abroad). I graduated, we got married, and now we live in Tokyo.
At our wedding, we took a “Long Distance” photograph.
Jade lined us up and told Ryoske to walk toward me. “This is the most distance that will ever be between you now,” she told me. I almost cried. It was true. The long distance was finally over.
I’ve been married for over two months now (I finally have enough time to blog about it) and I can’t believe how happy Ryosuke and I are.
Marriage is really fun – especially when you’re married to your best friend!
We had a seated wedding, mostly because we used the same venue for the ceremony and reception.
The ceremony was short, sweet, and unique. Both my mother and father walked me down the aisle; my father donned his “pastor stole” and did the ceremony. At least we know he truly approved of the wedding :)
We said our vows in both Japanese and English – just to add a bit of a twist. Everything else went off without a hiccup.
And the kiss?
The kiss was pretty magical.
That was it!
We were married!
And of course, walking back to the room for a quick make-out session before rejoining the party, Ryosuke burst into tears.
He tells me they were tears of joy. I secretly wondered they were more of a “well, it’s too late now. Here goes the rest of my life!” tears. He looks cute when he cries.
And of course, since he was crying, I started crying too.
The Reception… Dancing!
There was lots of dancing at the wedding (which is how you know it was a really great wedding).
One of my best friends from high school choreographed a dance to Justin Timberlake’s “Mirrors.” It was our first dance.
And, you know, we were only able to practice for a bit the day before, so of course we forgot most of the steps.
It’s cool, though. We improvised.
No one else could tell.
The Father-Daughter Dance and Mother-Son Dance was to Jason Mraz’s “Lucky” (one of my mom and dad’s favorite songs). Early on in the wedding planning, we realized it would cost more to fly Ryosuke’s family to Texas (mother, father, younger sister, older sister + husband, older brother + wife + three kids, grandparents) than it would cost to just hold another wedding in Japan.
Coupled with the fact no one in Ryosuke’s family speaks English, the parent’s didn’t feel comfortable being on a flight that long, and no one had ever traveled to America (or, really, any Western country) – the decision was made to hold two ceremonies.
Long story short – Ryosuke danced with my mother (who was still a tad bit fragile after surgery) for the dance.
Basically, there was a lot of dancing. For like, several hours.
The “coolest” dancer was probably my 95 year old grandfather (who has also published quite a bit of stuff). He was quite a dancer. Just look at this:
Cutting Cake and Popping Bottles of Champagne
Ryosuke was far too excited about the cake (we were both a tad bit tipsy).
I painted peg doll cake toppers the day before, after a futile and frustrating search for interracial cake toppers (or really, any cake topper that looked anything like us)
We both had a couple problems with the pouring each other champagne. It’s harder than it looks.
Notice anything wrong with this picture?
You’re supposed to drink your own drink, not your partners. Oops.
Aren’t we cute?
In case you can’t tell, that’s my dad up in there between us, showing us how to properly drink wedding champagne. They really should make a class for this (like “Driver’s Ed,” but for weddings. Or babies. Or paying taxes).
The Bouquet Toss Fail
So the first time I threw bouquet, I threw it too hard. It sailed up, hit the chandelier, and dropped like a rock. The chandelier swung a bunch, but didn’t fall. And the venue didn’t charge us anything for hitting it (even though they totally saw it).
This picture isn’t really me throwing the flowers. It is a picture of the flowers falling (hard) after hitting the glass chandelier.
The second time, I threw it much lower… smack into the face of a semi-small child. The metal pins at the bottom of the bouquet (used to hold the ribbon together) cut her forehead, causing it to bleed quite a bit.
Which is basically just a long way of saying I’m like the worst bride in the history of Texas.
She was super-proud of her battle wound, though, and at her modeling audition the next day, she told everyone her story. They were impressed.
I still felt bad.
The garter toss went better.
Probably because there were no small children in the boy’s section. And really, how much damage can you cause with a little scrunchy of fabric? Come on.
The Grand Finale!
We used fireworks!
Or not really fireworks. Sparklers. It was still really cool.
Our wonderful wedding coordinator heard Ryosuke ogling her car the day before (at the rehearsal) and let us borrow it for the send-off.
Friends and family lined up along the road with sparklers and shouted encouragements to us.
It was neat.
I felt loved.
All in all, Ryosuke and I had a fantastic wedding. No stress, lots of friends, memories, and tons of gorgeous pictures.
The Details of the Wedding
The ceremony and reception took place at Angel Springs in Georgetown, Texas at sunset. They were very easy to work with and didn’t even charge me extra for totally hitting the chandelier with my bouquet. I highly recommend using Angel Spring for your wedding (especially on weekdays – which is far cheaper than weekends).
The wedding planner (aka, the entire reason I didn’t have a breakdown and call off the wedding mid-planning) was family friend Donna Gostecnik from The Wedding Belles of Austin. I highly recommend her!
The cake was made by a family friend at Just Desserts. She made the entire cake lactose-free (because of my milk allergy, I didn’t think I would actually be able to enjoy my on wedding cake) and absolutely delicious!
I painted peg dolls as cake-toppers, since I couldn’t find any inter-racial cake toppers online or in wedding shops. Shame, shame. They turned out lovely, though.
My father, a missionary in Ghana, West Africa, (Serving In Ghana.Org) did the ceremony. He also walked me down the aisle. It was pretty neat.
My Uncle Nick (of Bagpipes for All Occasions) did the entire music selection.
He was pretty cool.
We outsourced a lot of work to family members.
My Auntie M did the calligraphy for all wedding invitations, I did my own makeup, and everyone else lent a helping hand.
Our good friend Marla from Mecca Hair Salon did both my sister and my hair for the wedding.
And, as I said before, all of the photography was done by Jade and Kyle from Jade & Kyle Photography.
And all the love and inspiration for this post, the wedding, and my life from here on out comes from my wonderful, supportive, and silly husband – Ryosuke!
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