Weddings are at the same time the beginning and the end of something, a turning point in a couple’s life.
Since we got married actually nothing has really changed yet, we are still living in different countries for the next few months and we are the same couple we were before, but the truth is that celebrating our love together with our family and friends has made our bond stronger than ever.
There has not been in our story a precise moment when we realized we wanted to get married, it was just natural to find ourselves talking about marriage as if it was a common topic of conversation among us.
Since the beginning we planned a double ceremony. We are both interested in each other’s culture and we like to learn and experience about it so having our wedding ceremony only in one of our countries would have meant missing something. Besides, we both have aging grandparents who could not travel. A double ceremony, one in Japan and one in Italy, was the perfect solution.
The first thing was to set the date for the two ceremonies.
In Japan employees are allowed only one week off for their wedding but in our case one week was not enough to combine both the second ceremony in Italy and our Honey Moon so the only option we got to have more time was to get married just before New Year and combine one week wedding holidays with one week New Year holidays.
As I mentioned in a previous post about our friend’s wedding the traditional Japanese calendar sets lucky or unlucky days and days that are half lucky and half unlucky.
There are 6 kinds of days:
先勝 – Sensho Good luck in the morning, bad luck in the afternoon.
友引 – Tomobiki Good luck all day, except at noon.
先負 – Sakimake Bad luck in the morning, good luck in the afternoon.
仏滅 – Butsumetsu Unlucky all day.
大安 – Taian Lucky all day.
赤口 – Shakku Bad luck all day, except at noon
Such calendar is called 六曜 (Rokuyo), you can find one here.
We are not superstitious but it is traditional in Japan to choose a lucky day for marriages so at the end the only day that was right for us was December 23rd and we were super happy about it because it was a taian day, a holiday in Japan (it is the Emperor’s birthday) and, most important of all, it is our anniversary day! We become officially a couple on December 23rd 2011 and got married exactly 5 years later. I couldn’t be happier.
The first thing we did after setting the date was to book the shrine for the ceremony in Japan. Being a lucky day many couples wanted to get married on that day and many couples, even if they are not living in Kyoto, decide to get married in Kyoto because of the beauty of the city and its shrines. My husband’s family lives in Kyoto so it was natural for us to get married there. We choose Kamigamo Shrine because the Kamo river had played an important role in our story being the place where we strolled hand in hand for the first time on our first date. Again we were lucky because the shrine was already almost fully booked and we got the 12.45 slot.
Setting the date for the Italian ceremony had been definitely easier. First of all winter is not the season for weddings in Italy, the large majority prefers to get married in spring or summer, moreover we didn’t choose a fancy or much famous location. We got married in a small mountain village in the northern Alps that is famous for sports and holidays but not as a wedding venue. For us it was the perfect setting for our small wedding.
I choose this village because it is the place where the priest who celebrated my parent’s wedding lives. He moved there some years ago and we kept in contact. He was overjoyed when I asked him to celebrate our wedding on January 5th 2017. He also helped us a lot because, since my husband is not Catholic, we needed to obtain a special permission from the Catholic Church in order to get married with a Catholic ceremony. My priest is so dear!
So now we had the dates! December 23rd in Japan and January 5th in Italy.
The next step was to inform our family and friends and send the invitations.
We have friends from overseas and many of my Italian friends now live abroad so, in order to give them the big news, and also provide travel information, we thought about creating a website about the wedding. One of my best friends is a designer and she creates websites as a job. She created not only the website but also all the design of it. It was her wedding gift for us. The website is in 3 languages, Japanese, Italian and English and it included all the information for the weddings, a tool for guests to confirm their presence and a gallery with our pictures. Here you can meet my talented friend and have a look at the website.
As for the website we needed also invitations in 3 languages, and for two ceremonies. After researching the web for a few days I found La Coccinella Wedding in Milan, the city where I work. When I met Angela, the owner of the shop, and she showed me her creations it was love at first sight. Everything is handmade and unique. I had confused ideas and wasn’t sure about what I wanted but she guided me with suggestions and her experienced taste. Here is the result, blue for invitations in Japanese, red for the ones in English and ivory for the ones in Italian. All hand-made with Japanese paper Angela ordered for us.
Finally, before telling you about our two unforgettable days, let me tell you about our Honey Moon.
Our Honey Moon lasted one week and we managed to place it right between the two weddings and spend a romantic New Year’s Eve.
We had been talking for a while about northern lights, we dreamed about a trip to Norway since at least a couple of years so when it came to deciding where to go for our Honey Moon it was an easy choice. Usually couples go for the beach or for a road trip or a romantic city like Paris but well, we like to be special and we went for the cold and dark polar circle and guess what? It has been incredibly romantic and we loved every second of it, from the hot saunas, to the open air Jacuzzi of the roof of our hotel where we soaked while it was snowing, dog sledding on the first day of the new year and obviously the northern lights! We had New Year’s Eve dinner in a Sami tent and also slept in a sami tent. I was worried about the cold but the old wood stove made its job in an excellent way and we stayed warm in our sleeping bags until the morning. Our trip was organized by Baltic Travel Company.
Part 2 of the Chronicles will come soon with all the details of the Japanese ceremony and loads of pictures, same for part 3 about the Italian ceremony (I know, my website is about Japan but I am so proud of how the Italian ceremony was I just need to share it!). Stay tuned and I hope I can give you some ideas maybe for your own ceremonies!