Romantic Cherry Blossom Elopement in Kyoto: Roy and Fanny

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Staying true to their love for travel, Roy and Fanny decided to take the road less traveled and elope on a trip that was to be both their wedding and vacation. The couple flew to Kyoto, Japan, during sakura season and said their “I dos” in a simple ceremony captured by The Synchronal Photography beneath soft, pink clouds of cherry blossoms with just 4 of their closest friends.

“We would totally recommend eloping! As you know, weddings can get very expensive these days. With Roy and I, we have a lot of friends from all over the world that we would like to invite. However, that can cost a lot of money, not just for us but for our friends and we didn't want that burden for them.” ~ Fanny

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How did you meet?
“We met through a mutual friend who had known Roy since the 6th grade. She and I were friends then became co-workers, and she thought Roy and I would get along because of our love for eating and drinking. After months of persuation from her to meet Roy, I finally joined them one night for dinner. The three of us had a great time and promised to get dinner again when Roy returned from his travels. After a few months, the three of us got together and Roy asked for my contact information. We started talking and for our first date, he surprised me by taking me to a country music concert even though he does not like country music at all.” ~ Fanny

What was the proposal like?
“Roy told me that his company was going to have a dinner party I had to dress up for. After I was done getting ready, he proposed at home and took me to one of the highest-rated restaurants - Providence in Los Angeles, that he had made reservations for a few months prior.” ~ Fanny

Please tell us more about your elopement!
“We knew the cherry blossoms were going to be pretty so we didn't choose any colors in our flowers, shirts, ties or dresses that would take away from that. Since my dress was lace, I wanted my two girl friends to wear lace dresses as well. Our male friends opted to wear colors other than black since Roy was wearing a black suit. 

Food and travelling are very important to Roy and me, it's what excites us. We usually travel overseas at least once a year to a country we've never been before. We chose to vacation in Bali last November for our engagement photos, that only a few friends knew about. Roy had only briefly been to Japan for layovers and I had never been. I'd always wanted to go during cherry blossom season so I thought it would be a great location for our wedding, and would have amazing food we would be able to experience. We wanted this trip to not just be about the wedding but more about a vacation with our 4 closest friends. We wanted them to witness our special day but to also experience Japan with us. Only a few of our friends back home and our parents knew about the wedding - we wanted it to be a surprise! On our wedding day, we finished the photo-taking and ceremony by noon. We continued the day by having an all-tofu lunch (since Kyoto is known for tofu). We then went sight-seeing and celebrated by having a BBQ beef dinner followed by bar-hopping.” ~ Fanny

Would you recommend an elopement with just a few family members/friends to other couples?
“We would totally recommend eloping! As you know, weddings can get very expensive these days. Roy and I have a lot of friends from all over the world that we would have liked to invite. However that can cost a lot of money, not just for us but for our friends, and we didn't want to burden them. If parents are up for it, it would be great for them to attend but in our case, we wanted the focus to be on a vacation.” ~ Fanny

How did you go about getting married in Kyoto?
“The person who officiated the wedding is one of our closest friends that came on the trip. In Japan, in order to get married, the couple has to go to city hall and spend a full day there with documentation. Our friend is ordained in the city we live in, so he performed the ceremony and we signed the paperwork when we came back from Japan.

During the process of choosing the location for our photos, we worked with Synchronal Photography for a list of places to take photos and perform the ceremony. The night before the wedding, we met them at the hotel lobby and they showed us a picture of a location that they had gone to that day, which they felt would be the perfect place. We agreed and trusted their judgement and went to that location the next day. This is why it's very important to have open communication and an open mind because if we didn't trust them, our pictures would not have looked as amazing as they did.

We only took pictures and had a ceremony before parting with Synchronal Photography so there was no reception or anything like that. This might also be a reason why an elopement might not work for everyone. It's non-traditional and a lot of things are out of your hands. For example, my bouquet – I was only able to tell the florists what colours I like and briefly what flowers to include. I was not able to go into a flower shop and design something in person or pick and choose from previous samples. If the couple is very hands-on with every little detail, it might be hard to plan a wedding overseas. Because of the simplicity of our wedding, the only things we brought with us were the gown, suits, shoes and accessories. After the ceremony, we shipped all that back to the U.S. through the hotel and continued our trip to other cities in Japan.” ~ Fanny

Will you be holding a ceremony/reception in the U.S. for family and friends?
“We will be holding a small dinner for our family in the coming week. We would like to host a bigger party for our friends and it will most likely happen for our 1 year anniversary. We will most likely rent a space to have food and drinks catered, there will not be a ceremony or any of the formalities that go with a traditional wedding. Essentially, we just want a big party without all the stress for us and our guests.” ~ Fanny

What were some of the reactions from your family and friends when they learned that you'd eloped?
“Family members were happy for us when they found out and said it made sense because of the number of people we would have had to invite for a traditional wedding. Prior to the wedding, Roy and I had contemplated how we wanted to make the announcement to our friends – whether it was going to be through an email to selected friends or to announce it once we got back. We decided to make the announcement through Facebook right after the ceremony. Our friends were very surprised since no one back home had any idea it was going to happen and travelling overseas didn't raise any flags about the wedding, since we travel often. They loved the photos that we were able to post (taken with our phones) and were very happy for us. Some did not believe it and tried to confirm with the people that were on the trip. Some wished they were able to take part in our ceremony and said they would've come to Japan if they had known. Most people thought it was perfect for us and were surprised that we (including the friends in attendance) were able to pull something off like that without spilling the secret prior to the trip.” ~ Fanny

Any tips or wedding advice for other brides and grooms to-be?
“When you’ve never been to the location of your wedding, trust your photographers to know where the best spots are for photos! Open communication and setting expectations are very important as you're meeting someone for the first time who will be taking some of the most important pictures of your life. Look around for vendors, ask to see their work and do not settle until you feel completely comfortable. Know that not everything will go as planned but it will all be all right in the end so just enjoy the day!” ~ Fanny

What do you think makes a strong marriage?
“Open communication! Compromise and while putting your spouse before you, never stop doing what makes you happy.” ~ Fanny

 

 

Congratulations on your marriage, Roy and Fanny! Thank you for sharing your beautiful elopement with us, we’re sure it'll be an inspiration to other couples.

 

 

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Vendor Information
Photography: The Synchronal Photography
Wedding Dress: Custom-made by MermaidBridal on Etsy
Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka
Groom’s Outfit: Custom-made by tailor
Groom’s Shoes: Allen Edmonds
Jewellery: Mikimoto
Hair and Makeup: The Synchronal Photography
Flowers: Florist at The Westin Miyako Kyoto


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