We celebrated in one of the most stunning places we’ve ever seen—the iconic green tea fields of Japan. A Green Tea Field Wedding. With Mt Fuji nearby, and the local community so intent on making their day special, this all culminated in creating a stunning backdrop to their sweet ceremony. A beautiful intimate elopement celebrated with family both in person and other special friends and guests attending remotely from afar. The perfect adventure elopement in Japan.
If you’re at all familiar with Japan’s summers, you’ll know that a lot people might not think of summer in Japan as the ideal “peak season” for a wedding. The heat and humidity can be a lot for some. But sometimes, it’s not about the ‘ideal time’. Or the ‘perfect temperature’. Sometimes it’s ALL about the couple. The location. The celebration. As it always should be. These past couple of years have made dates and timing the least important part of celebrating. Changes, plan B’s, alternative dates, last minute cancellations, all making us realize that the perfect ‘when’ of celebrating doesn’t exist. ‘Perfect’ comes from deep within. Not from without. Seasons being just a fleeting representation of where we are on this life journey. And we should celebrate at any time.
― Anoir Ou-Chad
So, when Jenny & Ryo’s wedding plans in the Shenandoah mountains in the US were one of (literally) millions of weddings around the world disrupted by COVID-19, elopement plans here in Japan went into effect. And it was emotional and perfect.
And it was summer.
Planning a wedding in Japan can be overwhelming at the best of times, but getting it done in the days of covid was always going to be a challenge. But one the wedding planning team were up for. Outdoors and natural. Authentic and meaningful. A wedding showing the essence of Japan. A celebration perfectly matching these two beautiful souls.
Surrounded by the stunning green tea fields of Shizuoka, they exchanged vows. They danced in the sunset. They had US family virtually attend their Green Tea Field Wedding…
“When we saw the views we fell head over heels in love! We originally planned a wedding in the mountains in the US (but can’t go to the US now because of corona) and we’re so sad to have to cancel. So much of our original wedding vision has had to change, and since we are both in Tokyo we thought a wedding with mountain views wasn’t possible, but then Dee showed us Chanoma. We knew immediately it was the place for us! We are a laid back, very chill couple, so being out in the beauty of nature was very important to us…”
And it was spectacular. Here’s their story on the 37 Frames blog: Elope in Japan | A Green Tea Field Wedding | 37 Frames
We booked the most beautiful of local Airbnb’s for Jenny & Ryo — a 37 Frames favorite, UWANOSORA. It’s full of the spirit of Japan. And the family that own the rental are SO accommodating and always excited for our couples. UWANOSORA is all about embracing the theme of relaxation and calm.
They were having a quiet wedding breakfast when we arrived. To the sounds of rustling bamboo and running water. Feeling their deep connection, not just with nature, but with each other.
Megumi started Jenny’s makeup while Ryo started wedding shenanigans. The story goes… Ryo had found the perfect wine colored suit online for his wedding day. It truly was gorgeous. However, as sometimes happens with online orders… when it arrived it was fire engine red, not wine. And didn’t resemble the ordered suit at all. The cut, the style, the color. The fake pockets. Nope. Naturally Jenny immediately vetoed the suit for the wedding celebrations. But that didn’t stop Ryo from sneaking the suit into his suitcase for some wedding morning pranks. Ryo traumatizing Jenny with the suit making a surprise appearance. It had to be a part of the day. Of course.
After the suit-gate scandal subsided, Ryo went to get ready in another part of the Airbnb while Jenny zoomed with absent family and friends. Letters were read. Tears flowed. Laughter and emotions running high. Getting to witness the support and incredible love from family on elopement days is a privilege we’ll never take for granted.
Their morning was about candid moments and authentic excitement. And experiencing the gamut of emotions that a wedding day inevitably brings.
And then it was time for a first look on the stairs outside, surrounded by bamboo and the sounds of nature.Their first look was touching and emotional! Even the 37 Frames team shed a few tears from afar. That stunning morning light looking ethereal as Jenny came up the stairs.
After the first look, we all got into our cars and headed out to some local locations near the ceremony site. This was our nod to Japan. For now, our adopted home. Shizuoka is made up of two kanji, shizu, meaning “still” or “calm”; and oka, meaning “hills”. We held onto these references as we all drove through the calm hills in this part of Japan. Feeling the symbolism. All while we slowly made our way to the stunning tea ﬁelds.
We stopped for photos at a deserted shrine. The shrine embracing the virtues of wisdom and courage. Theperfect symbol of their union.
The team had gone days earlier to scope out a spot for a surprise picnic and some scenic places for their photos. As well as the shrine, they came across a completely charming campsite by a stunning river. The elderly owners, just over the moon about hosting a picnic for our beautiful couple. With woods and forests surrounding the river, and the place completely to themselves, it couldn’t have been more perfect. Was this really Japan? This peace? This feeling of remote privacy? And then Pip, Jenny & Ryo’s corgi arrived to join them. And that’s when this elopement turned into an even more magical experience. The 3 of them together. Family.
This part of Shizuoka is ﬁlled with incredible stories of endurance, life, love and history. The Old Tōkaidō road runs this length of coast where so many have walked in the centuries before us. Following in the footsteps of ancestors and travelers. The Old Tōkaidō road connected Kyoto to Edo. On this day, connecting two hearts. And then on to the ceremony location. Anticipation high. We drive through the small winding backstreets of local villages. Passing quaint settings and rural towns. All the while Jenny & Ryo forming a deep and profound bond with this special place, that is now forever a part of their history together.
We arrived at the tea ﬁelds mid-afternoon where we connected with the local tea master and got ready for the ceremony. Ryo’s mother had arrived to be the sole guest in person. Jenny’s family were zoomed in remotely. We had beautiful late afternoon light in the green tea ﬁelds. High in the hills. For centuries tea has represented harmony, peace, enlightenment and connection. And as such, it couldn’t have been a more perfect place to exchange vows and commit to each other.
Jenny and Ryo embraced all these themes during their vows, ﬁrst dance and toast. We were hoping for the added bonus of Mt Fuji presiding over the ceremony. But the summer haze had her tucked away out of view. Her presence was felt though. You can always feel Mt Fuji’s energy even when she’s hidden from view. Mt Fuji being called the heart and soul of Japan, her presence is always a powerful feeling of life and love.
Pip the corgi (kind of) excitedly walked Jenny down the “aisle” (after needing to be carried up the mountain – Pip, not Jenny!) — a tradition that can be included even when you’re off the beaten path in the wilderness! Alongside their immediate family members (both those present and online) and their beautiful dog, Dee led the ceremony, full of meaning and so utterly them.
It was a really heartfelt, kind ceremony — the vows were beautiful and meaningful. There was so much love up there in the summer heat, surrounded by all that is beautiful about Japan and more. There were laughs, and a few happy tears. Then they were married. And there were toasts, music and dancing well up to sunset. Pip always wanting to join in with the dancing and drinks and merriment. Green tea & champagne flowed.
We have to make sure to pack up and be down the mountain before it gets dark. Because it gets REALLY dark, very quickly out there in Japanese countryside. And it’s a slippery climb down.
We climbed back down the trail and made it to the bottom just as night set in. It might have been the end of the day. But it was only the start of Jenny & Ryo’s journey together. They drove back through those calm hills now as a married couple. Celebrating under the beautiful Japanese stars. Pizza and wine waiting back at the Airbnb for the perfect ending to the perfect elopement in Japan.
If you’re interested in planning a wedding or elopement in the Tea Fields in Shizuoka, please make sure to connect with us. We’re always here for you. We’d be honored to help you craft your perfect wedding, whether it’s here in Japan or beyond!
Wedding Planner: Dee 37 Frames – Destination Wedding Japan
Assistant Planner: Chihiro 37 Frames
Photography & Videography: 37 Frames
Hair & Makeup: Megumi Enokido
Florals & Design: 37 Frames + Eastside Tokyo
Special Thanks – 37 frames team: Tracey, Harumi, Nick & Junko + Kiyosato CampSite
BONUS to the Green Tea Field Wedding…: A quick stop at their local city hall in Tokyo to do the wedding legalities here in Japan.
As always, Pip there with them. Paperwork done. Legally married. That’s how you get married in Japan. Life’s journey continues. How beautiful…
To get legally married in Japan, 37 Frames can certainly help or give you some advice. Most of our couples do the legalities in their home countries, with our weddings and elopements being a purely symbolic ceremony here in Japan. It is of course possible to do the legalities here if you’re up for that adventure, but it generally takes about 3 days out of your trip (with pre-paperwork done before you arrive). It involves visiting your respective embassies, getting translations (everything must be in Japanese) then going to the local City Hall to finalize it all and one of our team there to assist you.
We can generally get it all done in 3 days but it can occasionally take longer. So you’ll need to keep that in mind when planning days for your destination wedding and honeymoon afterwards. Since most of our couples are also here for their honeymoon etc they don’t want to take too much time away from their plans. However it is all possible and a very only-in-Japan experience.
To do the legalities for you, we do charge a fee which includes the translation of documents, the preparation of Japanese paperwork and someone from our team being with you when you submit it all at the local city hall or ward office.
Then you’ll receive your marriage certificate and be officially married!! All in a Japanese office building!
(And just a quick note: our fee doesn’t include the translation of your Japanese marriage certificate to that of your native language that you’ll need when you return home. Translation costs at the other end are the couple’s responsibility. As it changes country by country and sometimes even state by state. However, official Japanese marriage licenses are recognized everywhere.)
Always here to help in every capacity.
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