Lisa and Dillon, a Canadian couple, first met when Dillon crashed Lisa’s bookstore work party and her co-worker Geoff (his friend) introduced them. One of the reasons for the introduction is because he thought they’d have a lot in common, both of them being half-Japanese!
Lisa had a feeling Dillon was going to pop the question and decided to beat him to the punch. On their first camping trip together on Sidney Island, Lisa had arranged for Parks Canada staff to hide the ring inside an official geocache under a dock at the beach. Dillon “discovered” the geocache and when he opened it, instead of the usual contents, a ring box was inside. Lisa then surprised him with a proposal. Dillon was shocked and amazed. The only witness to the proposal was their dog. The ring had a koa wood inlay, as a tribute to all the wonderful times they had on trips to Hawaii, their favourite place in the world.
On 9th July 2016, Lisa and Dillon got married at the Takata Japanese garden at the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific in Saanich, BC Canada. Dillon’s great grandfather co-founded a Japanese garden and tea house in Esquimalt in the early 1900s. After the second world war, the garden was forced to close as everyone of Japanese descent was moved to internment camps in the BC interior. 20 years ago the Takata gardens at HCP was constructed as a memorial garden, commemorating the original garden and tea house.
Lisa wore an airy, blush dress and an ethereal halo, both from BHLDN. Peeking underneath were wooden Japanese geta sandals, a gift from a tiny mountainside town in Japan where she lived for a year. Lisa’s simple pearl and gold earrings were handmade by her jewelry designer cousin Katherine of Foe and Dear, who also made her wedding ring. Stunning hair and makeup services were provided by Artistry by Alexa.
The groom’s outfit
Dillon wore a white Antonio Valente shirt from Outlooks for men in Victoria and summery blue pants from Banana Republic. His cherry blossom-patterned tie, from Kiriko, was made from fabric from Japan.
Given the locale and their shared heritage, They wanted to showcase a minimalist Japanese aesthetic. They share an appreciation of negative space, simple adornment and small details. Simple white lanterns were hung from the ceiling and warm ambiance created with candlelight. They wanted their wedding to be truly representative of them, rather than try to emulate scenes they’d seen in a magazine. For example, they included the Takata family crest on their chalkboard schedule. Dillon’s father and his partner Johanna had the idea to fold 1000 colourful paper cranes which adorned the walls, tables, and backdrops for the ceremony and reception.
The events began with a traditional Japanese tea ceremony performed by the local tea ceremony club, the Urasenke Tankokai Victoria. Approximately 10 members wearing gorgeous kimono served tea to the guests.
Dillon and Lisa also used a old Japanese-style patchwork quilt his grandmother had sewn for the children to sit on at the ceremony. Dillon’s professional violinist aunt set the tone with Vivaldi’s Four Seasons while guests were arriving for the ceremony. The ceremony took place outside in the bonsai garden, set in front of a lush bamboo backdrop. Dillon’s actor brother Brendan officiated the ceremony with plenty of style and humour. The wedding was summery and casual with guests encouraged to bring pets (who wore adorable bow ties and wandered freely through the gardens and reception room).
Food and catering (including drinks)
When Dillon and Lisa first moved to Victoria, they were ecstatic to discovery a truly authentic casual Japanese eatery (Uchida Shokudo) two blocks from home. They asked if the chef (Yasu Uchida) might be willing to cater their wedding. Though he’d never catered for an event like this before, he was excited to give it a try. It took a bit of extra work to rent the equipment he needed and get the food to the venue, but in the end it was well worth the effort. He prides himself on using only high-quality local and organic ingredients.
Dessert featured Hello Kitty and Totoro-themed macarons from Gourmand Macaron. Local bakery Crust provided vanilla, chocolate and custom matcha cronuts. Drinks were a selection of beers, wines and ciders, all from Vancouver Island. The couple also created a signature drink made from Japanese ingredients, such as Calpis and Ramune soda.
When Lisa and Dillon first came to Victoria on an apartment-hunting adventure, they wandered into their hotel lounge and heard the Eryn Sharpe Trio playing. Two years later, the decision to have to the play at their wedding was an easy one. Lisa’s brother-in-law and Dillon’s friend shared DJ duty during the night.
The reception flowers were arranged by a Japanese florist Yuki Kato of Zen Floral Studio in ikebana style. They left the design completely up to him after learning that their order would be his very last before retirement. Lisa’s bridal bouquet was from local flower shop, Flowers on Top. The bouquet featured chrysanthemums, the national flower of Japan, along with bicolour roses, which Lisa fell in love with in the beautiful gardens Victoria is famous for.
Favourite part of the day
When the sun finally peeked through the clouds after what was an unusually cool and dark July day.
Easiest part of wedding planning
Choosing their favourite chef. Choosing their day-of-coordinator Anne Pollock of Party Mood who went above and beyond to make their day run smoothly and minimize any pre-wedding stresses.
Hardest part of wedding planning
Seating plan. They had a small wedding of 50 guests from many pockets of their lives. And their short planning timeline. They planned it in 6 months, expediting it to ensure Lisa’s ailing grandfather would be able to attend.
Is it harder to plan a wedding when the couples are from different faiths/culture etc?
Neither of them had envisioned marrying a fellow half-Japanese person, but it certainly made their wedding planning easier. It was fun to think of ways to inject their heritage into each small detail.
Photographer: Christian Tisdale Photography
Makeup Artist: Artistry By Alexa
Bakery: Crust Bakery
Cinema and Video: Faganello Video
Floral Designer: Flowers on Top
Bakery: Gourmand Macaron
Event Planner: Party Mood
Other: Pedersen’s Rentals
Culinary: Sen Zushi
Musicians: Sharpe Sounds – Eryn Sharpe Trio
Favors and Gifts: Steam Tea
Other Location: The Gardens at The Horticulture of The Pacific
Culinary: Thrifty Foods
Culinary: Uchida Eatery Shokudo
Tea ceremony: Urasenke Tankokai Victoria
Floral Designer: Zen Floral Studio
Dress Designer: BHLDN
Jewellery Designer:Foe and Dear
Groom’s shirt: Outlooks For Men
Groom’s trousers: Banana Republic
Groom’s tie: Kiriko Made
Submitted via Two Bright Lights