Naomi & Arian's Serene and Personal Japanese Garden Wedding

January 20 2009 | offbeatbride

The offbeat bride: Naomi Graham-Hormozi – Manager/Researcher/Kimono Addict/Textile Artist

Her offbeat partner: Arian Hormozi

Location & date of wedding: Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, California on September 26th, 2008

What made our wedding offbeat: Our wedding was very private and serene. We are both big no-fuss people, and the thought of a large wedding just didn't appeal. It also didn't help we had many couples just married telling us NOT to have a large wedding as they were nothing but stressed during theirs!

Arian and I met talking about Taiko (Japanese drumming). We decided we wanted a Japanese element in our wedding and got married at the local Japanese garden, Hakone Gardens.

Seeing as I'm a collector of kimono it was only natural I'd choose a kimono to wear. Arian also really wanted me to wear kimono as well. I had already decided I didn't want to wear white, or any other super fancy wedding uchikake. I wanted something simple and elegant. After much consideration, I realized I had the perfect kimono already in my possession! A gorgeous, rich indigo kimono from the Taisho era (1920) with very fine silver pinstripes, the Kiyomizudera temple and barn swallows flying over it. It was a kimono I had not worn before… and barn swallows pair for life!

Our ceremony was held in the little bamboo garden at Hakone with the reading of a Shinto Prayer by a very close friend of ours. Two other close friends were our witnesses. They were married on the same day (Friday, the 26th of September) 22 years ago and have been happily married ever since.

Our biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge was deciding on having a private ceremony. As much as we would have loved having our friends and family, it was a logistical nightmare. My entire family and best friend live in Australia. Arian's entire family lives in Wisconsin (we're in San Francisco) and all our close friends are scattered all around the country. Thankfully both our family and friends were very understanding and supportive of our choice.

My favorite moment: Slipping in "Resistance is futile" at the end of my vows, and both of us giggling.

My offbeat advice: Remember that the wedding is a celebration of love between two people. How you decide to celebrate that is completely your personal choice. Just don't let family, friends, strangers, cats, etc. bully you into having something you do not feel comfortable with!

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn: Click the photo below for more serene, stunningly beautiful shots from Naomi & Arian's wedding!

  1. How strange! I've been researching and learning about japanese gardens very recently, so this wedding has hit a chord with me! It looks serene and stunning – I love the kimono. Love it.

  2. That is so cool how you already had the perfect kimono, and it was something you hadn't worn before! I also really like the idea of including your friends who have been happily married for a long time. Congratulations to you both on having a day so personal to you.

  3. I'm so glad you had the wedding of your dreams. I wanted to get married in a Japanese garden, but there aren't any good ones around here (Kansas). I thought about MN, where some of my family live, but his family wouldn't be able to truck it up there. although.. I've been thinking more and more about having a tiny wedding, currently I'm planning for a rose garden.

  4. I am getting married at Hakone Gardens this September…but we are going the semi-big route. We rented the whole place for the sunset ceremony. It is such an amazing place! Congrats. Your photos are lovely!

  5. What a beautiful wedding and a gorgeous kimono [I fell in love with Kiyomizu-dera after visiting it this past summer :)]! As someone also looking to include elements of Japanese culture in her wedding, yours is very inspirational. And of course huge props for the Borg line! Congratulations!!

  6. Ah! Naomi is the most ridiculously stylish lady ever. I have been following her kimono collection over on the Immortal Geisha forum, which she runs.

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