Hiromi + Chris love to travel. And in their adventures abroad they fell in love with San Sebastián, a gorgeous coastal city in the Basque region of Spain. Rather than take on the massive task of a European destination wedding during a planning process that was already full of pandemic-related stops and starts, Hiromi + Chris opted to bring San Sebastián to their friends and family in LA with a staycation-inspired wedding!
They decided the best way to capture the magic of San Sebastián was with color. “When I scrolled through our San Sebastián photos,” says Hiromi, “there were a lot of turquoise and ocean blues, gold and yellow, and splashes of coral on the boats and architecture, so that was our initial color inspiration.”
Just Merried Events teamed up with the couple to fill organic and industrial DTLA venue Millwick with these coastal Spanish hues, and we are absolutely obsessed with the way that Hiromi worked the bright blues and yellows into her breathtaking bridal look!!
Hiromi is from Japan, and Chris is from the UK (though they both grew up and met here in the US!), so folding in elements of their Japanese and British heritages was high priority, too. All these international elements came together to create a vibrant wedding day that totally captured Hiromi + Chris and their love story! And we are so glad photographers Joe+Kathrina were there snapping these gorgeous photos!
We are head over heels for Hiromi’s vibrant watercolor wedding day look. It’s actually made up of two pieces: an ivory silk dress from Express as a base layer and that sheer, ethereal skirt by designer Leanne Marshall on top.
“I never fantasized what my wedding look would be like until getting engaged but I knew all white for the ceremony was not for me,” Hiromi says. Hiromi fell in love with Leanne Marshall back when she was on season 5 of Project Runway. “She’s a sustainable designer and her style is not overly feminine; minimalist and dreamy but bold.”
Hiromi gravitated towards this skirt as soon as she spotted it online because it fit the bridal vibe she was searching for and because it included all of those sunny, San Sebastián golds and turquoise blues! When she heard that the designer would be retiring her bridal collection, Hiromi decided to trust her gut and pull the trigger on the skirt without a try-on!
Obsessed with the yellows, golds, and oranges that Shindig Chic worked into these ceremony backdrop floral towers.
Chris-I have so many favorite moments! It was truly the best day of my life. I will always remember Hiromi walking down the aisle, being surrounded by so many friends and family, our baby attending the ceremony, and being so lucky to have a truly dream-like performance from Kishi Bashi to surprise Hiromi, a feat unto itself! The moment I would like to highlight here though was created by my good friend and former roommate, Mike. He gave an absolutely amazing speech. He had us all in stitches sharing stories about me. It was fun to be reminded on the day of my wedding of the man-child I was, living in Los Angeles for the first time. And it was great to see everyone laughing who didn’t know me back then.
Hiromi-Besides my uncle belting out "My Way" as a tribute to my dad, my friends' officiant speech and toasts, and Chris surprising me with Kishi Bashi--my head kind of floated into space after that part, I distinctly remember feeling a tremendous sense of happiness and relief after we kissed and exited the aisle holding hands. I glanced both sides to see so many of our dearest friends and family, who made the effort to be there for us from near and really far, standing with a big smile across their face, and my sister holding our confused but calm baby, who we were convinced wouldn't last midway through the ceremony without crying so we had an exit plan in place (it's like he knew it was a very important day for us!). It was at that moment that it hit me--our celebration finally happened! A few days later, my mom left a voicemail saying that my dad would've been proud and so touched by the food served and that she will always deeply cherish our vows to each other that was translated in Japanese for her by a mutual friend.
Processional: "No Surprises" by Radiohead (Regina Spektor cover)
Recessional: "Making Time" by The Creation
First Dance: "Le Festin" from Ratatouille
Check out our roundup of 89 recessional songs for an epic ceremony exit if you’re on the hunt for the right tune to head back up the aisle to!
Nomad Cocktail Co. supplied the libations for the night. And Hiromi made sure her specialty cocktail had a low alcohol content for people who wanted a less boozy option!
Snag a set of gold heart shaped wire card holders to recreate this simple, metallic-detail table number look!
Hungry Bear Catering Co. was in charge of the evening’s delicious dinner. Hiromi + Chris put udon on the menu as a starter to pay tribute to Hiromi’s late father who was a chef. Fish and chips were offered as a snack to tie in Chris’s roots in the UK.
Love the way that incorporating fresh grapefruits, oranges, and figs adds so much opulence and texture to the table decor.
Focus on priorities not perfection so invest your time and energy in finding a good vendor team, especially with those you would work more intimately with. They're going to set the tone for the day and you need to trust them to execute your vision so you can be present and not worry. I interviewed several vendors throughout the last few years and after the initial chat, we just sat with how we felt with the energy and conversation for at least a week, and then made a decision. In my opinion, if you don’t feel like you can speak up or be honest and vulnerable, it’s ultimately not going to be a good fit on both ends. Our coordinators never pushed us into a decision nor made us feel guilty for being clear and specific about our wants, only encouraged and supported.
We experienced withdrawal immediately following the wedding not only due to having so much fun celebrating with our loved ones but also because we missed collaborating with our vendor team who went above and beyond to make our day extra special! With such long relationships, it felt like a breakup afterwards, so we genuinely hope to see and/or work with them again one day. On a side note about budgeting (and reducing waste), we were always mindful of it but if we wanted to add a few extra decor or details, we tried to include pieces that we wanted to have anyway like I've been wanting a neon noodle sign for our dining room wall, a bubble machine and Lite Brite for our son, and I purchased a pair of Madonna Inn water goblets during our anniversary trip after getting engaged knowing we may use them on our wedding day and would continue to bring us joy.
Look carefully: You’ll spot fabric remnants from Hiromi’s gorgeous skirt that were sewn into a table runner for this sweetheart table!
Chris is an animator, so the couple let their guests have a go at self portraits for this unique, illustrated guest book!
Check out our list of the 31 best wedding guest book ideas for every style!
A performance by musician Kishi Bashi was a totally romantic surprise for Hiromi orchestrated by Chris!
“There were so many highs and lows throughout the last 3 years of the pandemic and planning,” Hiromi says, “so when we watched Everything Everywhere All at Once together, it blew us away and we talked about it for hours and months afterwards.”
We love when brides switch it up for the reception! Take a look through our collection of the best wedding jumpsuits for every bridal style if Hiromi’s tailored second look has you inspired.
The bows and cutouts of Hiromi’s all-white Madly In Love Sleeveless Jumpsuit by Anne Barge was a fun and playful contrast to her colorful, billowy ceremony look! Check out this similar jumpsuit from Bloomingdale’s!
Congratulations, Hiromi + Chris! Your San Sebastián-inspired wedding was a totally romantic adventure! Best wishes from GWS!
photography: Joe+Kathrina // venue name: Millwick, Los Angeles, CA // event design: Just Merried Events // florals: Shindig Chic // wedding dress: Leanne Marshall // wedding dress boutique: Stone Bridal // hair stylist: Kelly Zhang Studio // makeup artist: Kelly Zhang Studio // videography: atomic tangerine film co. // catering: Hungry Bear Catering // cake: Flouring LA // music: thisisgoodmood.com // photo booth: YoroKobi Photos // cocktails: Nomad Cocktail Co.