Once realizing that I was going to have the opportunity to return to Japan to photograph a wedding photographer, I made two lists. Friends to reconnect with and food to destroy! Unfortunately, both lists were too ambitious and I didn’t get to see as many friends nor eat as many different kinds of food as I wanted to. Although, to say that the trip, portrait session and the wedding I photographed in Japan were wonderful, would be a huge understatement! Tomoko and Kohei, were simply adorable and perfect together. Between their broken English, my spotty Japanese and gestures, we were able to communicate fairly well (it’s good to know I haven’t forgotten too much). I had a blast hanging out with them and could really appreciate their kindness. It is always refreshing to meet wonderful couples like Tomoko and Kohei and such a pleasure to see how they interact with each other, which for them, the best way I can describe is like innocent school kids in love. Seriously, they were always playing with and making the other laugh. Very sweet and adorable!
A lot of people have asked me how a Japanese wedding is different from one in America. I always say, “completely!” Of course, just like weddings in the states, each couple puts their own persontal touch on it, but that is about where the similarities end. Religion is not nearly as big of deal in Japan as it is here and in fact, Tomoko and Kohei had no religious ceremony but simply put their hanko (stamps used as their signatures) on a document for city hall to officially get married back the fall of 2009. The other big difference is not only is there no first dance, but there is usually no dancing of any kind. For the structure of the party, there tends to be a series of parties (yes, series). For Tomoko and Kohei, they started off with a luncheon for family at a trendy soba restaurant in Omotesando. The second party, at the same location, was for their friends. Third party, new location, smaller group of friends, fourth party, new location even smaller group and this keeps on going until morning! A few other differences that stood out to me in this wedding, instead of a bridal bouquet toss, there was a bouquet ribbon pull (yeah I totally just made that name up). Instead of throwing the bouquet, there were ribbons handed out to all of the women and only one was attached to the bouquet (just like picking sticks). Also, it is customary for the bride and group to pour sake or another kind of drink for the guests and while they did this for their family members, for their friends, instead they served soba noodles.
I had an incredible time shooting this wedding in Tokyo and I cannot thank Tomoko, Kohei and their families enough for all their kindness. I was especially touched by the chopsticks I received with my name carved into them! Sweet! Again, congratulations on your wedding and the baby that is on the way! I am so happy for you!