Emily Mariko's Wedding Could Be the Most Influential of the Year
It started with a salmon bowl. San Francisco-based content creator Emily Mariko skyrocketed to fame in 2021 when a video of her making lunch—leftover salmon reheated on a bed of rice with avocado, roasted seaweed and kewpie mayo—went viral. Unlike other TikTok stars who've become household names with flashy dances, trendy beauty routines, or comedic impressions, Emily Mariko's ascent was anything but. Often posted without sound, music or voiceovers, the 31-year-old's videos were much simpler. Her content highlighted trips to farmer's markets, organic farm-to-table recipes, cleaning vlogs, and an occasional trip through the In-N-Out drive-through. (Animal-style fries with chopped chilis, always.)
Her community of 13 million-and-counting across platforms watched attentively, no matter how many times the same recipes were shared. Within the last two years, her TikTok account has racked up nearly 700 million video views to date, while her Instagram page has nearly 2 million followers. Following her October 2021 engagement to Matt Rickard, the bride-to-be slowly let her viewers into her planning journey, slowly at first—and then all at once. She proposed to her bridesmaids, took viewers along for wedding dress shopping appointments, and gave subtle peeks at the colorful, hand-painted stationery. The content was there, but it wasn't saturating her feeds. The internet's interest was piqued.
On June 22, 2023, Mariko and Rickard married in a romantic ceremony at a chapel in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. Once again, Mariko captivated her audience with her wedding aesthetic and it's clear why. Off the heels of Sofia Richie's ultra-viral wedding in April 2023, there's been a building obsession with the "quiet luxury" aesthetic across weddings, particularly, with no signs of slowing down. How exactly do you define this term that's become so ingrained in our vernacular? Quiet luxury, also called "stealth wealth," is modern minimalism; it's timeless style without logos or branding, with an emphasis on investment in quality, rather than overconsumption and quantity.
But over Richie's star-studded event in the South of France, we predict Emily Mariko's to be the most influential "quiet luxury" wedding of the year, because it was just that—quiet, and luxurious, and seemingly easy to replicate among fans.
While many have credited Richie with bringing this buzzy term into the zeitgeist, we must acknowledge that her nuptials weren't exactly quiet, by such standards. In fact, the music scion even rebuked the phrase in a recent interview with Who What Wear, saying it's not how she would describe her event.
Richie's nuptials, held at one of the most exclusive resorts along the French Riviera, were the epitome of loud luxury. Custom Chanel dresses, jaw-dropping floral installations, a performance of "Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous" by the bride's brother-in-law Joel Madden, and a real-time social media rollout all contributed to its sheer grandeur. We understand why the internet was riveted: Richie's wedding was simply luxurious, tasteful and beautifully executed.
Emily Mariko's wedding, while lavish, had a simpler, more attainable feel—and it's for this reason that we predict it may become the most influential in 2023. We explore why the internet can't get enough of this buzzy celebration, and how it may influence trends for the coming year.
The menu was thoughtfully curated.
Considering Emily Mariko made a name for herself on the foodie side of TikTok, her menu was one of the most anticipated elements of the big day. Although the infamous salmon bowl didn't make the cut, plenty of her other favorites did. In videos shared from the day, guests can be seen grazing tables brimming with displays of vibrant fresh fruit, charcuterie spreads, crudité platters, towering raw bars, and cocktails topped with fresh flowers.
Dinner was served family-style at an outdoor table tucked within a cocoon of whimsical string lights. Options included grilled fish, steak, and one of Mariko's go-to recipes: fresh lemon pasta under heaping piles of parmesan cheese. At the end of the night, the newlyweds treated their friends and fam to one of their favorite snacks with an In-N-Out catering truck.
Though not necessarily reinventing the wheel, Emily Mariko's wedding menu was a nod to her online presence, making it feel familiar and personalized.
The fashion was understated and timeless.
Further fueling the "quiet luxury" aesthetic was the bride's wedding wardrobe. Though her online niche skews toward food and lifestyle content, Mariko began her journey as a YouTuber focusing on fashion and styling. Though she's since strayed away from that style of content, her modern-yet-minimal fashion sense is just as discernable as her recipes.
The bride wore six looks throughout her wedding weekend, all of which elicited comments praising the soft luxuriousness of it all. She began the weekend in a ruched halter-neck Magda Burtrym mini dress with floral appliques for the welcome party, accessorizing with a pale blue Dior handbag. She later slipped into a Ralph Lauren vest-and-trouser set for the rehearsal dinner.
For the car ride to the ceremony, she opted for a ruffled white mini-dress with ballet flats and a low bun. The true pièce de résistance was her strapless A-line Mirror Palais wedding dress with a cathedral-length train, accented with a simple tulle veil. As the reception began, she traded her first gown for an ivory slip dress with a cowl neckline, which she accessorized with a chiffon shawl dropped over her arms and around her neck. By the end of the night, she changed once more into a strapless mini dress with a unique handkerchief hem and a flower detail at the neckline.
The beauty was in its simplicity. In forgoing flashy elements, Mariko proved that timeless and elegant pieces can—and will always—steal the show. Just take a peek at her comments for proof, where you'll see viewers continuing to praise her for nailing the quiet luxury look.
The social media rollout was intentionally postponed.
These days, weddings of public figures generally roll out two ways. Some prioritize their privacy, opting to never publicly release photos or details, like Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds. Others choose to share their nuptials in real time, à la Justin and Hailey Bieber or Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker, documenting every moment on TikTok, Instagram Stories and Reels, essentially making viewers feel like they're actually in attendance…through their screen, that is.
Plus, there's the rising trend of branding and sponsorship. In recent years, it's become increasingly common for those with sizeable followings on social media to have their weddings and related events hosted by buzzy brands or corporate sponsors.
Emily Mariko's wedding toed the line between these two forms of publicity. Carefully-curated content was shared leading up to the big day, including highlights from prewedding events (such as the bridesmaid proposals, the bridal shower and the welcome events). Her social profiles went silent on the actual wedding date, only for her to release highly-anticipated documentation of the proceedings in the weeks after.
It's enough content to capture and maintain your interest, without a barrage of branding or exclusivity. Her short-form clips capture the essence of the day while simultaneously leaving you constantly refreshing her Instagram feed and TikTok page, wondering what other incredible details you may have missed but desperately want to see.
The aesthetic felt luxe, yet attainable.
It's one thing to turn to celebrity weddings for inspiration, knowing it's just that: something to add to your Pinterest board. The weddings of famous couples are glitzy and glamorous, and they allow you to daydream about what your wedding could be, albeit often scaled-down versions.
Was Emily Mariko's wedding attainable? Maybe, for some. Although she had access to lavish floral installations, an extensive wedding wardrobe, sophisticated catering options and plenty of imaginative add-ons, the apparent simplicity of the event makes it feel like anyone can have an Emily Mariko wedding: all you need is a backyard and a dream. (And a fabulous team of vendors.)
One of the biggest pieces of advice wedding planners will share with you is that while you can't (and shouldn't) exactly recreate a celebrity's wedding, you can achieve a similar look of luxury, even on a tight budget.
The quiet luxury trend shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, we'd dare to say it's just heating up. Why, you may wonder? Quiet luxury doesn't require an endless budget, but rather, attention to detail. Flashy elements aside, weddings feel luxurious when they're intentional, thoughtful and honest to the couple—as we've seen firsthand with Emily Mariko's. And it's for this reason we predict that her viral nuptials will go on to inspire others for years to come.