The Wedding of…
Kazue Kazami & Satoshi Kiyono
Ceremony & Reception: Birchwood Manor, 973.887.1414
Gown: Custom, Victoria Spector,
at Victoria Spector Bridal Couture, NYC
Tux: J. Crew
Photographer & Cinematographer: Shaun Reilly Photography
Makeup & Hair: Self Done
Florist: Meadow Flowers Design
Cake: Birchwood Manor
DJ: Steve Guillen Productions
Our relationship began one rainy evening in a Manhattan ice cream shop. Our conversation flowed so easily we went right into a dinner date. We fell in love and felt we were meant for each other. Several months later, I graduated college and returned to my home country, Japan. We couldn’t give up on each other and agreed to a long-distance relationship. For a year and a half, we video chatted daily and made several visits between NY and Tokyo.
Satoshi proposed on one of his visits to Japan. We went to a hot springs resort with my family, where he spoke with my father about his intentions. The night before Satoshi had to fly back, he proposed at a lovely restaurant surrounded by my family.
Satoshi and I desired an intimate wedding but yearned for a picturesque venue with lush grounds and elegant rooms. Birchwood Manor was everything we wanted. Entering through a luxurious driveway and ornate gate, you see the impressive East Lawn featuring a fountain pond, a long archway, and the pergola. Inside, the main lobby is centered with a gorgeous chandelier and grand staircase. Our perfect ballroom had yet another gorgeous chandelier. A second beautiful garden, the West Lawn, offered a lovely arbor structure, perfect for our ceremony. The Greenery Room, with all glass walls, let our guests wander inside or outside. Each location enjoyed the lush view. Most of all, we loved Farrell Holleran, our banquet manager and maître d’. She was kind, friendly, knowledgeable, engaged, and supportive. She helped make our wedding dream come true.
Being of Asian descent but wanting a Western wedding, we didn’t know where to start. Farrell guided us and put us at ease. Satoshi is a construction manager and I am a vocalist, and we were thrilled to add our talents. Birchwood was happy to accommodate our special requests, letting us store all our DIY projects, such as the custom arch structure my husband designed. The staff and our florist had everything set up when we arrived. We also used their grand piano for a surprise performance with my husband playing and me singing, “It Had to be You.” They also let us go all over the property for our breathtaking portraits that we’ll cherish forever.
Our ceremony was held at sunset on the West Lawn surrounded by lush greenery. The arbor provided a wow factor and the arch my husband built was decorated beautifully by our florist. Our DJ connected to the sound system to play our selected music. Our photographer was in full gear, bringing a drone and mini-microphones for Satoshi’s pockets. I walked down the aisle in my custom-designed gown, wearing the veil I made for myself. Satoshi’s friend from high school officiated and guided us through our vows, a sand unity ceremony, and the kiss. We walked back down the aisle to our guests blowing bubbles from the wands we provided and led everyone right into the cocktail hour!
We had so many food variations for cocktail hour, it was incredibly easy for us to wow our guests. We chose a top-shelf bar and gave them a feast! We were busy with our photographer during the cocktail hour but Birchwood provided a plate of food so we could sneak in a few bites. It was absolutely delicious and our guests were extremely complimentary.
The ballroom was elegantly decorated by the Birchwood staff and our florist, with our DJ’s dance floor set up and our photo booth. The grand piano by the entrance held photos, our sign-in book, and our gift box. Round tables with white linen featured centerpieces in 24-inch glass trumpet vases; various sized glass tubes coupled with floating candles and flowers inside, surrounded by more candles on the table. The arch my husband made was placed behind our sweetheart table, which was the perfect quarter-circle design Birchwood provided. Our guests were served champagne when my husband and I entered the room and went straight into our first dance. Dinner was absolutely exquisite. Each guest enjoyed salad, sorbet intermezzo, and chose from our beef, poultry, fish, and vegetarian dishes. Dessert was a custom-tiered wedding cake created by Birchwood. During dinner we did our performance, and afterward our DJ did a fantastic job keeping the dance floor alive with popular songs and perfectly moderated our dancing games and the shoe game. We took funny photos in the photo booth and left with many touching messages and memories of our friends. Our guests had smiles all night!
Words can’t express how grateful we are to everyone who helped our special moment come true. Everyone exceeded our expectations and made our wedding perfect! We thank all our vendors and everyone at Birchwood Manor for their hard work. We will never forget the memories they created for us!
Birchwood Manor, Whippany, NJ