Today’s couple are from different sides of the world, but they both majored in New Media and RIT which is where they first met in class. J.R (groom) is from Erie, Pennsylvania and Akiko (bride) is from Gero City in Japan. They got married at The Back Room on September 20th 2015. Instead of having a surprise proposal moment, J.R and Akiko kept it very down to earth. They both knew that it was what they wanted and after having a few thoughtful discussions about it throughout their relationship – they were engaged! J.R tells us all about their American Japanese wedding in NYC.
“We were actually officially married months prior to our “wedding.” We wanted to get the boring stuff out of the way so we could focus on having a nice reception and enjoying ourselves without getting too stressed later on. We went to Times Square on a Sunday in July around 6 or 7 am when the streets were empty. My uncle officiated in the middle of the street. My uncle’s husband and my parents were the only others present.”
“We booked a hotel room near the venue to get changed and prepare before everything started. About an hour before things began we walked over to the venue for photos. We were all dressed up so people on the street were cheering for us. Bri did formal photos for us and our families before the guests arrived. She also just generally kept the whole night on track for which we were extremely grateful. After a while, we had a little ring ceremony. We had already been married for months at that point, so we didn’t exchange vows or anything. My uncle, who officiated our wedding in July conducted the ceremony. He had the idea of getting a ton of little glass votive candles and having everyone hold them during the exchange. It was really beautiful.
After that the band started to play and everything was a blur. We tried to say hello to everyone but the entire evening flew by. Akiko and I spent a lot of the time dancing. It’s a tradition in Japan to raffle off small gifts at wedding receptions, so at some point we went around passing out numbers to people. We had food catered, so they brought it out after the band finished their first set. Then after their second set the cake arrived from the bakery. There was nowhere to put it in the venue because it had to be refrigerated so we had to time the delivery just right.
After everything was over Akiko and I took a cab home and skipped work the next day. Nothing but fond memories.”
Favourite part of the day
“Our favourite part was the band for sure. They started playing right as our ring ceremony ended – applause turned to dancing and the energy carried right through for the rest of the night. By the end of the evening no one was sitting down. Another highlight was that friends from across the country were willing to come just for the weekend in order to attend. It meant a lot to have so many people make the trip. Lastly the cake was just wildly delicious. Shout out to Patisserie Tomoko.”
Wedding Planning Obstacles
“New York is of course not a cheap city, and expenses were the biggest obstacle. Fortunately neither of us wanted a fairy tale wedding, but on the other hand we tried hard not to be cheap about it.”
Easiest part of wedding planning
“Akiko and I both agreed on what we really wanted from our wedding. Skip the church, the bridesmaids and groomsmen, the speeches, and most of the traditional wedding stuff. Keep the cake and music and only the closest friends and family. Akiko’s mom picked up a few flowers from a bodega on the morning of the reception and made her bouquet before the ceremony.”
Is it harder to plan a wedding when the couples are from different faiths/culture etc?
We were fortunate in having families that are extremely open minded and not very religious. Our families had great time with each other, despite not speaking each other’s language. We were worried that language would be a barrier, but it was overcome immediately.
Photography: Bri Johnson
Venue: The Back Room Bar, NYC
Getting ready location: Hotel on Rivington, NYC
Catering: Indiana Market and Catering
Band: Lucky Chops NYC
Cake by: Patisserie Tomoko
Invitations by: The bride
Bridal Gown Designer: San Patrick, Dress “Aries”
Brides Shoes by: Converse Sneakers
Earrings and jewellry : Family Heirlooms
Bridal Headpiece by: Joanna Reed Bridal
Hair&MUA by: Hiroko Sacripante
Wedding Bands by: Rosie Chan & Jen Hollywood (Etsy)
Engagement Ring by: Shaesby
Grooms Tux by: Bindle & Keep
Grooms Shoes: Meermin Mallorca