A Japanese Theme Wedding

Updated 9-12-13

My wedding was on May 10, 1997.  Since I am half Japanese, I wanted to do something different.  Luckily, my husband-to-be, Dan, was flexible and agreed to go along with what I had in mind.  Our wedding took sixteen months to plan.  There were specialty things I searched for and lots of things I had to make myself.  We made several trips to San Francisco looking for shoes, hair combs, fabric, etc.  My Uncle Takeji in Japan helped me alot by sending catalogs showing the current fashion in kimonos and Japanese hairstyles.  My brother made the Torii Gate that we stood under for the wedding ceremony itself.  I was so lucky in finding some of the decorations for the wedding!  There are wonderful stories about almost everything that was used in the wedding.

[Dan and I]

Our Wedding Picture
It is traditional for the groom to carry a white fan.  It's a symbol of fidelity.  The crests on his kimono are from the Clan Gunn, since Dan is part Scottish.  I found my hair decoration at a Japanese Beauty Salon in San Francisco. I made my bouquet using silk flowers and a red paper fan.  It's mostly white flowers, with a little of each color flower added from the attendants' bouquets.

[Back of my kimono]

This is the back of the kimono I was wearing underneath my formal outer robe.  The white embroidered peacock came from the sleeve of a used kimono.  I bought just one sleeve panel at the AQS quilt show in Paducah, Kentucky some years before, cut out the peacock and appliqued it on the back of this kimono that I made.  I had no idea what I was going to do with it at the time I bought it, but it was so pretty I had to have it.  Am I glad I did! 

Since so many people have asked about kimonos and how to wear them, I'll recommend The Book of Kimono as the best reference book that I found for learning about kimono. Please visit my Amazon estore at Scarlett Recommends for Sewers, Quilters & Crafters to purchase The Book of Kimono and other books about Japanese crafts.

Back of Scarlett's formal kimono

Since there has been so much interest, this picture shows the complete back of my formal outer robe. Picture added 7-12-07

[The Ladies in Their Kimonos]

This is all the ladies in the wedding party. Starting on the left is my niece Heather, Matron of Honor Rose Marie Straw (now deceased), myself, Matron of Honor Mary Peard and my niece Ami. The colors of their bouquets matches the lining in their kimonos, making each of their kimonos different.  Heather's lining is pink, Rose Marie's is yellow, Mary's is purple and Ami's is blue. The patterns I used for the kimonos are still available directly from Folkwear, #113 Japanese Kimono for adults and #136 Child's Kimono & Vests for children.

Behind us is the Torii Gate my brother Vance made, using a picture he found as a guide. Since I have had many requests for more information about how he made the Torii Gate, I've added a page with his instructions. Click on Torii Gate for the instructions.

[Mary and Rose in their kimono]

This is a close-up of Mary Peard and Rose Marie Straw.  Mary did a lot of silk ribbon embroidery on the front and back of her kimono.  Also, she machine quilted in gold thread one of my celtic designs on the sleeves, down the front and around the bottom of the kimono.  Rose Marie hand quilted overlapping circles around the bottom of her kimono and down the sleeves.  I did the silk flower bouquets each lady is holding. Rose Marie passed away suddenly in January of 2001. I am so glad that my dear friend was able to be a part of my wedding.

[The men in Their Kimonos]

This is all the men in their kimonos. Starting on the left, in back is my brother Vance, Chris Hiler and my husband Dan. The man in the wheelchair is my father Ellis (deceased 2-3-03).  My father and brother have Rose patches on their kimonos for our family crest.  Chris, the best man, chose dragons for his, since he doesn't know of any symbols or crests for his surname. All the mens' kimonos are from the same Folkwear pattern that I used for the ladies, with Dan also wearing hakama made from #151 Japanese Hakama & Kataginu also available from Folkwear.

Full wedding party in front of the Torii Gate.

Here's the complete wedding party in front of the Torii Gate my brother Vance made. Added 7-12-07

[Wedding Cake]

This is our wedding cake.  It was designed by Verla Green of Anderson, CA.  I wanted a Japanese Tea Garden, so she came up with this fabulous creation!  On one side is the traditional raked sand garden with two "rocks".  The other side has a pond with smaller "rocks" along the edges. Scattered on both sides are cherry trees in bloom.  The bride and groom dolls were found  by Sheryl Sadohara at a garage sale about a month before the wedding!  Her husband, Yogiro, made the maplewood bridge.  Behind the dolls is a rock waterfall that a friend borrowed from her chiropractor.  The small cake, on top of clear pillars filled with bamboo, is decorated with a garden temple, wisteria and some crane decorations. Click here to see pictures of another wedding cake that was inspired by mine.

[Reception Hall]

This was how the Senior Citizen's Hall looked for our reception.  The trees are real Bonsai, brought in by the Redding Bonsai Club.  They were so kind in sharing their trees with us for our special day!  There are tubs of bamboo along the walls and on the stage in front I hung two of my quilts.  The empty space in the center is for the Uchikake, or outer robe I wore for the ceremony.  When we came in for the reception, I had already removed this garment so my attendants could hang it there.

[Close-up of Bonsai]

These Bonsai were on the stage in front of my quilts.  There were so many!
Some were in bloom at the time of the wedding, too.

[Ready to cut the cake!]

Another kiss before we cut the cake!  In the background, there's my uchikake hanging in its place.

Since so many people have asked about the kimonos and how to wear them, I'll recommend The Book of Kimono as the best reference book that I found for learning about kimono. Please visit my Amazon estore at Scarlett Recommends for Sewers, Quilters & Crafters to purchase The Book of Kimono and other books about Japanese crafts.

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