When you plan your Washington, DC wedding while living in Tokyo, there’s a good chance you’ll see a Japanese influence in it and you certainly do in Amy and John’s from Miho Aikawa Photography. While the DC skyline still made it’s appearance on the place cards (Did you spot at their wedding ceremony, too?), Japanese details took over, and you can spot them in everything from the flower vases to the table numbers to the cupcake toppers! And while I love all these travel-inspired details, I think the tradition brought in from the groom’s Filipino heritage is my favorite. A money dance! Check out the pictures of this unique custom (and more!) below.

Blue Skyline Wedding Place Cards

From Amy: I feel like we planned this wedding completely upside down. Most people sit down and discuss an overall theme, but we really had fun thinking of small details first, then worked backwards. We did a lot of our planning while still living in Tokyo, so we were obviously influenced by things over there.

Orange and Blue Wedding Reception Decor Orange Wedding Flowers

We incorporated many Japanese influences- we lined our invitation envelopes with pages from a Japanese comic book and our photo booth props all came from Japan. Every table was named after a place we visited in Japan and our “cake toppers” (actually just plastic figurines on cupcakes) were famous Japanese cartoon characters (Totoro and Hello Kitty)

Travel Themed Table Numbers

My favorite detail has to be the DIY table arrangements. I had a pretty specific vision here that I had to leave in the hands of my capable sisters, bridesmaids, and friends. I had been collecting jars and other glass containers for months. Some of them were even sake bottles brought back from Japan. I wanted a mix of sizes per table, and I wanted the flowers to look very natural and rustic- more like something you’d put on your own table at home than a wedding arrangement. I had no control over this detail on the day of, but it ended up being my favorite thing!

Orange and Blue Wedding Flowers Carnegie Institute for Science Wedding Reception in Washington DC

Carnegie Institute for Science Wedding First Dance

Salt Wedding Favors

We were excited to include the Money Dance which is a standard at Filipino weddings. Guests line up to dance with us, but they have to put money on us first. It’s a way for people to wish us good fortune in our future together.

Filipino Money Dance

Traditional Filipino Money Dance at Weddings

 My mom made my sash, my sisters made three kinds of cookies that went out as a late night snack, and the groom’s brother was the MC of the reception.

Unique Wedding Cupcake Topper

Hello Kitty Wedding Cupcake Topper

Amy’s advice to other DC-area couples:

My advice is going to sound very generic, but it’s true: don’t second guess your instincts. If you really want to have all orange flowers, but everyone says that sounds crazy- do it anyway! If you want to hire a photographer from another city who has never been to your venue, do it! In the end, you will be thrilled.

Carnegie Institute for Science Wedding Reception

The following Washington, DC area wedding vendors contributed to Amy and John’s wedding:

Wedding Venue: Carnegie Institution for Science
Caterer: Well Dunn Catering
Photographer: Miho Aikawa Photography
DJ – DJ Rhyme Deejz Alfaro
Flowers – Wholesale from Potomac Floral Wholesale, Inc., designed by the bridesmaids and sisters of the bride
Hair + Make-up: Alison Harper & Co.
Videographer: Washington’s Best
Wedding Invitations + Paper Goods: Paper Source
Wedding Dress + Veil: Hitched
Men’s Tuxedos: Men’s Wearhouse
Alcohol: Corridor Wine & Spirits
Vials for Favors: Sunburst Bottle

Don’t forget to visit our vendor guide for more fabulous Washington, DC area wedding professionals or our real wedding gallery for more beautiful Washington, DC area weddings!

Photo Credits: Miho Aikawa Photography

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