Zephyr & Rory’s Colorful Japanese Fusion Wedding

You might recall the Berkeley engagement session we did with high-school sweethearts Zephyr and Rory (and several hungry squirrels). It was cuteness personified, and we were thrilled to see how they incorporated their fun, creative personalities into their Ranch at Little Hills wedding.

“The Japanese cultural influence of my heritage played a big part thematically, with an unofficial secondary theme of polka dots. And a few bunnies,” says Zephyr.

She looked stunning in a vintage-inspired, ivory, polka-dot dress (her mother made the straps from the belt and created a new one from habotai silk), which paired wonderfully with her artful uchikake (traditional Japanese wedding kimono). The kimono’s rich colors of dark purple, vermilion red, and gold informed the rest of the wedding. Rory, for one, rocked a gray suit with a purple gingham shirt, red bowtie, and a polka-dot pocket square and socks. Their wedding party was no slouch, either. Zephyr’s bridesmaids wore coordinating haori (short kimono jackets) over black dresses, while Rory’s groomsmen complemented Rory in gray vests, purple polka-dotted shirts, and purple bowties.

“I also wanted to follow the Japanese tradition of senbazuru, or 1,000 origami cranes,” says Zephyr. “According to legend, cranes live for one thousand years and mate for life, making them classic symbols for longevity and marriage in Japanese culture….A bride-to-be folds senbazuru to wish for a long and happy marriage. In Hawaii, 1,001 are folded, the last one being for good luck and usually completed by the groom. Rory’s crane was in my bouquet.”

She somehow had time to fold kusudama origami flowers, too, which found their way into her gorgeous bouquet of vibrant, fresh flowers as well as the boutonnières, centerpieces, and other aspects of the wedding. What a superwoman!

For the ceremony, our couple had the good fortune to come across a handmade circular arch “made by an awesome artistic couple for their own wedding,” says Zephyr. “Reminiscent of a traditional moon gate, it was absolutely perfect to bear the 1,000 gold cranes I had spent a year preparing.”

We couldn’t agree more! The arch and golden cranes served as a beautiful backdrop for their heartfelt and humor-filled ceremony, which both revealed a few of their secrets (tuna and peanut butter is a good taste combo?!?!) as well as showcased their deep love for each other. How fun that their officiant welcomed guests with a delightful impression of The Princess Bride‘s Impressive Clergyman (“Mawwaige!”) and our couple practically skipped down the aisle through clouds of bubbles after their first kiss!

The ensuing celebration was a blur of misty-eyed toasts, colorful furoshiki (Japanese wrapping cloths), heated rounds of Bananagrams with customized banana sacks, Jenga signings (from Zephyr’s family’s original set from 1991!), and dancefloor shenanigans. The sweets, from chewy boba tea to several types of mochi creams and decadent pie (including butterscotch banana cream pie, which they enjoyed the night Rory proposed), were the icing on the proverbial wedding cake.

Says Zephyr, “We just feel very fortunate to have such supportive family and friends to have helped us over the years and for this wedding. After being together nearly 17 years, growing up together, we feared the event might end up being somewhat anti-climactic, or people would react with a ‘why bother now’ attitude. That wasn’t the case at all and people came together for us in a overwhelmingly positive way to celebrate our union.”

Here’s a look at that very special day.

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Bride’s dress: Christos via PreOwned Wedding Dresses (straps created by bride’s mother)
Bride’s shoes: Bandolino
Bride’s earrings: Swarovski
Bride’s Totoro ring: Studio Ghibli Museum
Bride’s glasses: FACE A FACE
Bride’s uchikake kimono: traditionaljapan88 (eBay)
Bridesmaids’ dresses: Weddington Way
Groom’s suit, shoes & socks: Hugo Boss, Ted Baker & Isaac Mizrahi
Groomsmen’s suits: Ted Baker
Vests: ASOS & J.Crew
Bow ties & suspenders: The Tie Bar
Rings: Lang Antiques (bride), Benchmark (groom)
Officiant: Alison Hurwitz
Florist: Ash + OAK
DJ: Verducci Event Productions
Ceremony musicians: Subito Strings
Desserts: Chow (pie), J.sweets (mochi creams)
Pie topper: LuLu Amour (Etsy)
Sweetheart table signs: Host & Toast (Etsy)
Coordinator: Marci Newton of The Ranch at Little Hills
Hair: Regis Salon
Make-up: Sabrina Foster
Boba: Boba Guys
Photobooth: Magnolia Photo Booth Co.
Cardboard cat standees: Shindigz
Origami paper: Maido, Paper Source, various Amazon & Etsy
Marquee letter kits: Jo-Ann
Custom Bananagrams favors: Bananagrams
Bubble shooters: Joissu
Invitations: Minted

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