Caroline Nie was born in Hong Kong. She learned English when she was 2 years old and then immigrated to Toronto, Canada when she was 12 years old. Caroline graduated from York University with a Major in Visual Arts Fine Arts. She’s founder and CEO of Image Concierge, consultants for women’s apparel, fashion, accessories, leather goods and shoes.
Kenzo Ohuchi was born in Tokyo and studied Architecture. He received his Masters from Nihon University in Tokyo. He obtained the Architecture License. After graduation, Kenzo specialized in traditional Japanese Architecture and built “SADO” tea ceremony houses. He hand crafts wood furniture in the traditional way…by order. Please visit his website at www.e-ku-do.com
ASIANCE: How did you meet?
Caroline: We met at a Yoga retreat in the Mitaka Mountain, Sept 2009.
ASIANCE: How did he propose?
Caroline: He proposed 2 weeks after we started going out, one night as he was walking me back to my place.
ASIANCE: What was the theme and inspiration of your wedding?
Caroline: It is a traditional Shinto style Japanese wedding.
ASIANCE: Where was it held?
Caroline: It was held at the Four Seasons Chinzanso Hotel in Meijiro Hotel. This is where Kenzo’s parents were married. That is one of the major reasons why we picked this place besides it’s historical and scenic reasons.
Tokyo’s Japanese Garden Restaurant, Chinzan-so, is situated in a historical and scenic part of the city. The area, also known as “Camellia Mountain”, was the estate of Prince Aritomo Yamagata, a noted politician and state man during the Meiji Era(1868-1912). Naming his manor “Mansion on Camellia Mountain” it was the site of important government meetings and conferences of which Emperor Meiji was a participant. Later, Baron Heitaro Fujita commissioned the construction of historic monuments and also developed the beautiful grounds.
The Chinzan-so Garden, covering an area of upwards to 66,000 square meters is rich in historic remains and artifacts, all relics of the past that shouldn’t be missed when visiting Chinzan-so.
Inside the hotel, there is a Shinto Shrine and the ceremony took place there.
Later, we took group photos in the hotel studio as well as in the beautiful garden.
The lunch reception was held at a Japanese Restaurant in Chinzan-so called “Kinsui”. Japanese receptions are normally held during the day, not in the evening, as this makes it easier for all guests to travel to and from the wedding.
Then there is an option to have an after party in the early evening for guests and other friends that did not attend the formal wedding from the morning.
The refined, traditional Japanese restaurant, “Kinsui” is set in a beautiful greenery garden. Serving formal kaiseki cuisine and other authentic Japanese dishes, the elegant presentation and fastidious service is sure to satisfy.
We also included a personal gift, personally bought and selected color cashmere muffler for all the guests with a personal thank you note as this is Japanese tradition to give back gifts to guests. There was also a chocolate cake from “DEMEL”, a famous Chocolate/Bakery from Vienna. Also, we gave a small parting gift to all our guests at the door. It was a beautiful towel pressed into “TAI” fish shape. Since “tai” rhymes with the word “medetai (auspicious)”, it is regarded as a good luck fish in Japan. Also the Japanese consider red (aka) as an auspicious color, therefore it is often served at weddings and other happy occasions with an auspicious dish, sekihan (red rice). On festive occasions, the preferred method for cooking tai is to boil it and serve it whole (okashira-tsuki). It is said that eating tai in its full and perfect shape is to be blessed with good fortune. The eyes of tai are especially rich in vitamin B1. Tai is also considered as the king of fish because of the their beautiful shape and color. Tai is only available in Japan, and the fish that most people associate with tai is porgy or red snapper. Porgy is closely related to sea bream, while red snapper is only similar in taste.
ASIANCE: What was your favorite part of the wedding?
Caroline: It is a very small and intimate wedding of just family and friends, about 50 max.
Memorable moments are:
1) Shinto Ceremony
2) The special short film that my friend made for the occasion
The RED ribbon [HQ] click on this link. This summarizes how we met and how we got married.
Ellis Lee is the director
In Zen philosophy, marriage is like 2 red threads connecting together to form a ribbon…and it is like fate and destiny that brought 2 different people from different orbits, connecting as ONE… And it is a story of what the video about.
3) Speeches made by friends of bride and groom.
ASIANCE: Would you change anything about the wedding?
Caroline: No it’s perfect.
ASIANCE: Would you like to recommend or give a shout out to anyone who worked on the wedding?
Caroline: All Japanese weddings are usually held in hotels. They have a complete wedding service where they provide you with the wardrobe, hair, make-up and the reception planning. They worked on tableware, flowers, the Master of Ceremony, gifts, entertainment ideas, music, etc.
Our Master of Ceremony for the wedding reception speaks 3 fluent languages – Japanese, English, Mandarin. She was also part of the hotel service list .
Everything is run like clockwork and very precise and we had many, many meetings in advance.
For example the music for the complete reception, we provide the music for each section and they have precise timing for each tune.
ASIANCE: Where did you honeymoon?
Caroline: Not yet. But maybe India or Bhutan.
ASIANCE: Who designed your dress?
Caroline: It was a traditional Japanese wedding kimono called “Shiromuku”. I used my own hair to do the traditional hairstyle.
Basically, the hair and make-up team also helped to dress the bride as it is complicated to wear a kimono.
Every item is rented from the hotel. The rental fee is extremely expensive, about USD6,000.
At the 2nd party, I wore a vintage Irish crochet lace top with a long vintage Levi’s skirt with a train.
Ellis Lee, the hotel photographers and friends are the photographers of theses great photos.