You might never guess that their paths would cross. She, the little girl from Japan with a sweetness and sincerity about her and a knack for helping others and he, the little boy from Rwanda with a huge heart and a profound passion for community.
Namiko grew up and found herself doing an internship at the University of San Francisco. Jeffery grew up and found himself dubbed Mr. B., working at the Rio Lindo Academy, an hour and a half away from San Francisco. And despite the 70+ miles between Rio Lindo and San Francisco and the 7300+ miles between Japan and Rwanda, fate– or chance– or the hand of God– interceded and brought the two together in San Francisco. Immediately, they could not stop talking about each other to their friends.
Namiko and Jeffery are such a beautiful couple together and such a joy to be with. Their wedding was held at Rio Lindo Academy in Healdsburg where Jeffery once worked. It was a celebration of the many cultures and languages being brought together that day. Jeffery alone speaks six languages, and Namiko has always had a love for different cultures which has translated naturally to her work in international education. By incorporating various Rwandan and Japanese cultural traditions and facilitating group games for everyone, Namiko and Jeffery and their wedding party did an impressive job of creating a sense of belonging and truly celebrating their multicultural union.
I loved the school chair as a backdrop for some of Namiko’s detail shots, as both she and Jeffery work in and around education.
Jeffery was so sweet during the first look, as he anxiously awaited Nami’s arrival while she took her time making sure everything was in its place. He was so, so happy to finally see his bride.
They are such a gorgeous couple.
Namiko’s father looked so handsome in his tux. I loved the way they decorated the grounds for the wedding, sprinkling photographs all over the tree branches with clothespins and even attaching some photos to the tree trunks by circling some wire around them.
The reception was kicked off with one of those big group games of Bingo/scavenger hunt where all the guests had to walk around meeting other people to answer questions such as such as “find someone who worked with Nami in an airline company.” Then the best man and maid of honor led the couple in this game. They raise each the corresponding shoe to answer questions such as, “who is a better cook?” Of course, cautious treading and hilarity ensue.
I love the traditional garb. On the left, some girls in Japanese kimonos with Jeffery in a traditional Rwandan outfit for men. And on the right, all of Jeffery’s sisters wore blue mishananas, traditional Rwandan dresses.
Halfway through the reception, the wedding party and Namiko also changed into traditional Rwandan dresses. On the left, Namiko’s younger sister Masami. On the right, Namiko helps her maid of honor Mykel.
After the dress change, the women from Jeffery’s family did a traditional dance to welcome back Namiko and her wedding party, and as they reached each other in the middle, Namiko broke down in tears as she was officially welcomed into the family.
Then they joined together to finish off the dance.
On the right, a traditional Rwandan basket and a small packet of Japanese candies.
Namiko and Jeffery were my first couple to opt for the Instax photos at their reception. Guests were able to get instant polaroid-like photos of themselves for the guest book, shown below.
Everyone had a lot of fun with the Instax photos, and the guest book came out beautifully.
Finally, a few more portraits of the bride and groom. I love, love, love the sweetness of these moments.
Congratulations, Nami & Jeffery! I had such a wonderful time being immersed in your multicultural celebration. Much love to you both.
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Rio Lindo Academy
Hair & Makeup: JS Makeup Artistry
Florist: Amazonia Flowers and Uniquely Chic Floral & Home
Catering: Ted Lang, Rio Lindo Academy
Dress: Oleg Cassini
DJ: Stephen Weston, friend of the groom
Videographer: Andrew Fitzgerald, friend of the bride and groom
Wedding Cake: Cupcakes from Sift
Photographer: Anna Wu Photography, assisted by Lucy Saephan