San Diego Sun-Splashed Garden Wedding — in the Japanese Friendship Garden

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This San Diego garden wedding is the picture of simplicity, with images from Jackie Wonders to illustrate it: beginning with the simplest of gowns for the bride, who goes veil-less and hatless, her hair instead “crowned” in golden sunshine. Bridesmaids are in silvery gray, each dress an individual style to suit the “maid,” a hue matched in the men’s formal wear accented with gold ties. California “gold” is in abundant supply here — in the bride’s casual bouquet of marigold and the tiny boutonnieres, held on the side until needed. The bride proceeds with both her parents down a garden path to the garden’s “Fujidana” — an open wood pergola — that precedes the wedding canopy, where she joins her groom before the rabbi. After the traditional breaking of the glass, it’s time for the reception to begin.

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Here, amid gracefully draped tables accented with peach-colored glass candleholders, is the wedding cake — dressed with marigolds, of course; it’s paired with several “tiers” of devil’s food “groom’s” cupcakes. Guests gather at tables set in “neighborhoods,” each named for a California region (La Jolla, Ocean Beach, Del Mar), finding their spots from a card that lists the “neighbors” at each. Once they arrive, amid rock gardens and floral accents, origami birds, and a koi pond, they are greeted by miniature bouquets tucked into pebble-filled glasses — including more tiny golden flowers. Finally, as a party favor, the couple provides wildflower honey, a sweet memento of their wildflower bouquets and decorations, for each guest. It’s a garden wedding with a unique Japanese atmosphere, a Jewish tradition, and warm friendliness in the California sunshine.

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