A Cultural Garden Wedding at Black Diamond Gardens in Washington
As lovers of the outdoors, Melissa Chan and James Shigihara chose to wed in the naturally beautiful Black Diamond Gardens in Washington. Their celebration had a secret garden theme, as well as a lavender, French blue and blush-pink color palette. It also incorporated several Chinese and Japanese traditions, honoring the bride and groom's respective heritages. The couple hosted a Chinese tea ceremony, where they wore traditional garments and offered tea to their elders. "In return, the elders give gifts or words of advice," Melissa says. "We also hung paper cranes from the rafters in the greenhouse, since it's a Japanese tradition to fold 1,000 paper cranes for good luck." The ceremony took place in a modern outdoor space with white folding chairs. Pastel-colored flower arrangements lined the aisle and led to a simple white arch on a small stage. The reception had a whimsical, romantic and elegant aesthetic with soft pink accents. Tall centerpieces of cheery blossoms towered above the family tables. "James's late father Mark's favorite flower was the cherry blossom. In Japan, they are known for their beauty, a time of renewal and the fleeting nature of life," Melissa says, adding that wildflower centerpieces stood on the rest of the tables. James wore a custom black tux with jade fish-shaped cuff links from Melissa's dad. "To the Chinese, jade stone is the embodiment of the Confucian virtues of courage, wisdom, modesty, justice and compassion," Melissa says. She wore a white ball gown with a seven layers of tulle in the skirt, as well as delicate lace floral embroidery that cascaded past her natural waist. She later changed into a peach-hued dress with sequins and white floral embroidery for dancing.