Japanese and Jewish Wedding
Yuri Nakagawa, hailing from Kanazawa, Japan, and Russel Cook, from San Antonio, Texas found love when Yuri was in the states as an Au Pair (guys, she was MY au pair!!)!
You’ll swoon over this international love story and Jewish Kendall Point wedding.
Yuri came to the U.S. from Japan in 2017 as an au pair and never expected to meet the love of her life in a local coffee shop in Texas. Russell caught her eye and the two immediately hit it off. After a year of dating, the two decided to tie the knot in a small courthouse ceremony and start the process of blending their Japanese and Jewish cultures and making a home together. Because of American immigration policies, Yuri was forced to return to Japan for almost TWO YEARS to wait for paperwork to be processed and political policies to be changed, and then…just when there was a light at the end of the tunnel, COVID-19 hit. Their actual wedding celebration never happened, and that was a tragedy our vendor team was determined to change.
Our vendor team put together an intimate celebration for the couple, highlighting beautiful design, but also giving the couple space to enjoy the meaningful event. Russell’s mother was the only family member in attendance due to travel restrictions, but Yuri’s family was given first access to photos of the day! The couple shared cocktails and sweets and even smashed a glass to solidify the marriage in Jewish tradition.
We created a celebration that embraced the couple’s Japanese and Jewish cultures, while balancing being authentic and creating a fine art editorial look. It was kismet – the stationer, Charlotte with Callirosa, has always had a deep admiration for Japanese arts and was thrilled to create paper goods inspired by the Japanese attention to detail and textures. Anna Kay Photography also spent 3 years living in Japan – adding a deep understanding to the execution by All In The Details Events. One of the most unique elements of the day was the origami crane escort card wall that served as a backdrop for the reception. The cranes were hand-painted with the names of loved ones written in beautiful calligraphy.
Our floral inspiration focused on using both Sakura (cherry blossom) branches mixed with classic white blooms. Our team created Japanese-inspired sake cocktails and an assortment of mini desserts. The table was set with glasses made in the bride’s hometown and a wedding chopstick set that they received as a gift from family.
As is a tradition in Japan, our bride wore a kimono and then a western gown. The veil she chose was embroidered and became the bridge between eastern and western design with its intricate details. Our bride’s hair was styled in a way that was reminiscent of a Japanese geisha, but not as dramatic, so as to symbolize her adopted American culture. The groom’s attire was a classic dark grey suit (customary for Jewish weddings), so as to compliment both of the bride’s looks, but adding a Sakura to his boutonniere. Japanese weddings are typically more of a dinner party and not quite the large celebration you’d see in the states – which is what is reflected in the reception design. We opted to take formal bridal kimono portraits and of the couple to honor the simplicity of the Japanese ceremony. After the formal portraits, the bride wore an off-the-shoulder white gown with a rose gold belt for the Jewish part of the ceremony, as well as cocktail hour.
We utilized the existing venue architecture and transformed the gazebo into a Huppah for the bride and groom to share sentiments of commitment and be wrapped in the Tallit (decorated cloth blessed by their Rabbi), symbolizing being surrounded in holiness together. You can even see the Breaking of the Glass, which holds multiple meanings. Some say it represents the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Others say it demonstrates that marriage holds sorrow, as well as joy, and is a representation of the commitment to stand by one another even in hard times. Mazel tov!
“We can’t even say in words how much this means to us. We’ve waited so long to really celebrate being married and to actually be together. This day made us feel so special, we are just grateful. And so happy to be starting our life together finally.”-Yuri and Russell
Creative Team: Photography: Anna Kay Photography | Ceremony Venue: Kendall Point | Event Planning: All in the Details | Floral: Evember | Stationery: Callirosa | Wedding Cake: My Asukar | Rentals: Peerless Events and Tents | Hair: Keziah Bevans | Makeup: Keziah Bevans | Wedding Dress: Olivia Grace Bridal Shop | Groom’s Attire: Rex’s Formal Wear | Veil: Olivia Grace Bridal Shop
Anna Kay Photography is a San Antonio-based photographer that works in the Austin, San Antonio, Hill Country area and destination weddings worldwide. Known for making couples feel comfortable and beautiful while creating stunning imagery, her work is romantic and effortless. Anna Kay Photography takes a limited number of weddings each year and is currently booking for 2022.
To inquire about your wedding day, click here.
Did you love this Jewish Kendall Point wedding? Interested in seeing more from Anna Kay Photography? This Indian Fusion Wedding at Ma Maison shows another beautiful blending of cultures and then be sure to click here for engagement session inspiration from Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.