Being Southern Weddings, we naturally have a huge passion for Southern wedding traditions–everything from bourbon burying to cake pulling sets our hearts aflutter! But, there are wedding traditions from a lot more places than just the South, and I think it’s so much fun to learn about the ways different parts of the world celebrate couples entering married life. Lauren and Victor did a beautiful job of combining their historic Washington DC locale with a few beloved Japanese wedding traditions, like a stunning origami crane display at their reception. Serendipitously, their venue, The Anderson House, represented both sources of inspiration to a tee–don’t miss the story behind why they chose it below!
Finding my wedding dress was a lot of fun. I wanted to try on dresses with my mom and future mother-in-law, who live in Los Angeles and New York respectively. My first appointments were with my mom and two of my bridesmaids who live in LA and I tried on every type of style, just to get an idea of what I liked. I went to a couple more appointments at home in DC before I went to NY to try on dresses with my mother-in-law and another bridesmaid. By that point, I was pretty confident that I knew what I was looking for: something fit-and-flare with lace and beading that had straps and an open back. The very last dress I tried on fit all the criteria I was looking for, and when they put the veil on and I saw myself walking in the dress, we all knew that it was the one.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Walking down the aisle, I chose “Canon in D” by Pachelbel, which I had always wanted to walk down the aisle to, ever since I played it in my eighth grade chamber orchestra. Walking back up the aisle, we wanted something fun, and we love how pop music sounds on string instruments, so we chose Journey’s “Any Way You Want It.” For our first dance, we chose a version of “La Vie En Rose” which is a song that has always been special for us.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The participation of our friends and family throughout the day really made our wedding special. My mom walked me down the aisle, as my dad had passed away a year and a half before. One of Victor’s best friends and mom, who is a judge in NY, served as our officiants. Two of my bridesmaids helped us with a Japanese sake ritual called “San San Kudo” that we incorporated into the ceremony.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Our biggest challenge during planning was that we both have jobs that require a fair amount of international travel. During the time we were wedding planning, I had at least four major work trips, including a three-week trip to Africa that ended one month before the wedding, and Victor had a trip to Europe one week before the wedding. We were so happy that we had decided to have planners, and we could not have enjoyed ourselves as much as we did without their hard work. They helped us stay on track and achieve exactly what we were envisioning, and when the day arrived, we trusted them completely and were able to truly be in the moment.
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We were looking for something that felt “DC” to us because all of our guests coming from New York and California. We liked the idea of a museum or historic building, and the Anderson House fit both of those. When we found out that the original owners had been diplomats and that Mr. Anderson had served as the ambassador to Japan in the early 1900s and brought back many beautiful antiques which decorated the venue, we knew it was perfect. My dad’s family is from Japan and I spent three years living there before I moved to DC, so the connection felt really special.
One of our major decorations was an installation of 1,000 paper cranes that I folded and strung (with help from my bridesmaids and several friends) as part of a Japanese tradition for good luck. The installation served as a beautiful backdrop for the evening.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Our most memorable moments from the day came during the epic dance party during our reception. Victor’s favorite part of any wedding is the dancing and we knew that we wanted everyone to be tearing up the dance floor, but the reality exceeded our wildest dreams. Our DJ did a phenomenal job of weaving together a playlist that included everything from 90s hip hop, today’s top 40s, and salsa (which we had taken lessons for). But the true highlights of the night included seeing my mom on the dance floor (I’ve never seen her dance before!), cutting a rug with Victor’s uncle, and the group sing-along to the Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way” and Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” for the last two songs of the night.
For dessert, we had a two-tier cutting cake in funfetti (my favorite flavor) and cupcakes for our guests in red velvet, vanilla bean, and funfetti flavors.
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in September 2011 through a touch rugby league in Virginia. Victor played rugby in college so when he moved to DC, he wanted to get back into playing again. I was invited to play by some of my friends from grad school who played in the league and were trying to get more women to sign up. I’d played flag football a bit in college and figured it would be similar and fun, plus it could be a great way to meet a guy. We both noticed each other immediately and resolved to talk to each other independently, although Victor was able to make his move first, pretending to need to take a water break when I took one so that we could have a chance to talk. Chatting on the field led to a nonstop conversation on the metro back to DC, where both of us took the wrong metro stop just to be able to continue the conversation. When it came time to part ways, Victor asked for my number, and despite me accidentally giving him some mixed signals, he still called to ask me out on our first date. The rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! Victor told me that we were meeting friends for drinks, but on the way, he stopped in front of this Japanese restaurant that I’d always wanted to try and told me that we were having dinner there instead. After the most amazing dinner, we went home and he told me that since he had accidentally opened a Christmas present early, he had one for me to open early too. He had written a beautiful letter about our relationship, how far we had come, and his hopes for the future, and when I looked up from reading, he was getting down on one knee and asking if I wanted to do this!
When did y’all get married? May 14, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 119
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did write our own vows. Victor’s vows were sweet and funny. He was able to be both sentimental and silly and used a line from “Baby Got Back” to describe the first time he saw me, wondering what a girl with an “LA face and an Oakland booty” was doing at a rugby game.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My dress and all of my accessories were new, I had a handkerchief with the date and blue flowers embroidered on it, and I borrowed my parents’ small wedding photo album to carry to have a piece of my dad with me.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? While planning our wedding, we mostly looked forward to the marriage, as that would mean all of the craziness from the planning would be behind us. We looked forward to being able to come home after work and spending quality time together rather than constantly focusing on the decision making.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Start early, seek help if people offer it, respect your partner’s opinions, and compromise!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Right now, we are enjoying just having our lives back to normal after all of the stress and excitement from the wedding, but we are both very excited with what the future may bring in terms of starting to see our family grow.
Photographer: Bonnie Sen Photography | Videographer: Simon Cook Films | Planner: A. Dominick Events | Venue: Anderson House | Florist: Highway to Hill Flowers | Caterer and Wedding Cake: Spilled Milk Catering | Rentals: DC Rental and Party Rental Ltd. | Lighting: Frost Lighting Company | DJ: Evan Reitmeyer | Paper Products: Flourishing Penguin | Bride’s Gown: “T172012” by Jasmine Bridal | Hair Stylist: Bridal Hair by Remona | Makeup Artist: Beauty Mark | Bride’s Shoes: “Packham” by Benjamin Adams London | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale | Menswear: Custom by Geoffrey Lewis | Crane Installation: Amaryllis Floral and Event Design | Tent: Sugarplum Tent Company
A. Dominick Events is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!