ULTIMATE NO-FUSS WEDDING IN A JAPANESE FRIENDSHIP GARDEN
Julianna and Thaddaeus became husband and wife, surrounded by just their closest family and friends, at the beautiful Japanese Friendship Garden in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. It was enriched in cultural tradition and meaningful touches. Upon arrival guests could say a prayer over the bride and groom’s wedding rings. The couple’s unique guest book was a set of stones for guests to sign, as historically, stones are used as metaphors for strength, permanence, stability, and refuge- all characteristics we desire to emulate in our marriage. Once the ceremony began, couple exchanged vows and rings, as well as a hand fasting ceremony in honor of Julianna’s Irish heritage. To incorporate Thaddaeus’s French culture, he participated in a sabrage, which is basically cutting the end of a champagne bottle off WITH A SWORD. No, I’m not joking, but it sounds awesome!
“We love the downtown vibe, plus most of our guests live in that general area and we felt that keeping things close by added to the intimate, no-fuss feel we wanted for our big day. The ceremony was at the Japanese Friendship Garden, which I loved because the setting was beautiful and low-maintenance. The price was great too because you are basically just paying them to unlock the gate and set up some rows of white chairs and you don’t really need to add decor when your guests are already surrounded by trees, flowers, and a pond with a waterfall. ” She explained.
“The reception was a 5 minute drive down the road to a funky spot called The Duce. We kept things really budget friendly by only reserving the patio, keeping the rest of the venue open to the public. Again, no decor was needed as they already had bright flowers and unique retro gadgets placed throughout the space.”
“Our goal was to keep things intimate and relaxed. We wanted the focus to be on celebrating what the day represents.rather than getting caught up in a bunch of details that most people won’t remember anyways.” She continued.
“I happen to be an event planner, so I handled the bulk of my wedding planning but as with any event, I did worry that something would happen to derail my plans, although even if everything else ended up bursting into flames, it was a success as long as we were married at the end of the day.”
“Don’t over-complicate things, and don’t stress thinking the wedding has to look a certain way or include certain traditions. We were really intentional to think through everything that is normally included in a wedding and decide, piece by piece, if we wanted to include it in ours. Rather than my dad walking me down the aisle, my husband (fiance at the time) and I decided to walk down the aisle together. Rather than doing a unity candle, we each researched traditions that represent our heritage (a handfasting ceremony to celebrate my Irish heritage and sabrage for his French). Rather than cutting a cake, we had “milkshake shots” that we did a toast with. We had so much fun coming up with ideas to make the day feel like it was truly ours.”
Photographer: Katelyn Cantu Photography | Bride’s Dress: Brilliant Bridal | Ceremony: Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix | Reception and Reception Decor: The Duce | Catering & Dessert: The Duce | Bride’s Shoes: Converse | Hair: Hair by Kaylee | Custom Bridal Jewelry: Sarah Madeline Jewelry | Ceremony Musicians: Sweetwater Strings |