Mayumi + Dan

This beautiful couple epitomizes the best in international relations.  Far from a culture clash they illustrate harmony and unity.  I truly loved this wedding.

Because Mayumi’s family is in Japan I want to start off by letting you know they are ok.  That way you can read the blog in peace.  Here is what Dan replied when I inquired, “…We’re happy that Mayumi’s family are all okay in Japan. They mostly live around Utsunomiya, a ways north of Tokyo, but were far enough inland that they only experienced a big quake. Just some minor damage, so we’re thankful!”

And now, on to the good stuff… Mayumi’s reflections on their cross-cultural love story:

“Dan and I met at an Asian Cultural Festival at Iowa State University. Dan grew up in Story City, Iowa. He had lived in Japan for two years after college before returning to the US to live in New York for a few years, and had just recently moved back to Iowa. I grew up in Japan and was working at the time on my master’s degree at ISU. We both sat on the same table, but the only words we exchanged were: “(This ice cream is) delicious.” It was love at first sight for me, though. I felt like there was a light coming out from him. I desperately wanted to know who he was and how I could got hold of him, so although I would never have normally done such a thing, I started asking around about him. I finally got a hold of Dan’s email address and sent him an email asking if I could see him again. Later that month, we had our first date and after two years and two trips back to Japan, Dan asked my dad for my hand in marriage. The answer was ‘yes,’and, yes – he did have to ask in Japanese!

While hiking at Mississippi Palisades State Park with our dog in 2008, Dan suddenly proposed from a scenic vista overlooking the river. The ring was carried by our dog Magni in a little pouch on his collar, and he started to wander off right when Dan went down on one knee! It worked out great once Magni decided to come back and help out with the proposal.

From the start, we envisioned our wedding first and foremost as an occasion for our families to get to know each other. Since we grew up on different sides of the Pacific – and with our families still living on different continents – it’s rare that everyone can be in one place at the same time. Dan’s father had met my parents in Japan when Dan asked for permission to marry me, but for everyone else the wedding was their first meeting. We opted for a very small wedding in order to provide a more intimate setting with lots of opportunities for conversation – and for easier translation, since we were the only translators! Dan’s hometown of Story City and the local fine dining restaurant made a nice, quiet setting that was close to Dan’s parents and siblings’ families.

For my gown, I decided on wearing a traditional Japanese kimono. My mom sent a kimono colored in shades of orange with many elaborate patterns. Dan picked out a new charcoal suit during a trip to Chicago and selected a light green tie that matched some of the accents on the kimono. Although we hadn’t given it too much thought, this moved us towards a theme of cultures coming together. We decided that the outdoor ceremony would have a bit of an Asian influence, while the dinner following the ceremony have more of a American vintage style. The decision for a small wedding made it a lot easier to add some homemade touches without worrying about how much time it would take to make individual decorations.

Fortunately, we were blessed with sunny weather on the day of the ceremony, and it took place in the garden behind the Cottage on Broad. We stood with the pastor under a pergola, since we don’t have them in Japanese-style ceremonies, we chose not to have a wedding party stand up with us. We did have Dan’s three nieces as flower girls, though!

To make up for the roles of the best man and the ring bearer, we bought an old antique book from a consignment store, hollowed out a small compartment in the middle where the rings would fit, and decorated it in lace ribbons. My mom then sewed a fabric flower to go on the front. In traditional Japanese ceremonies, the bride and groom enter together, so Dan carried this book as we walked down the aisle together and placed it on a small pedestal next to our pastor. The ceremony was done in English except the vows, which Dan recited in English and I recited in Japanese.

For our wedding photographer, we chose Amy Allen, based out of Des Moines, Iowa. We saw her photographs on her website, and we immediately fell in love with her style. She is wonderful to work with, and we really feel she did a great job capturing all of the wonderful moments we experienced that day.” -Mayumi

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