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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Written by Janet Butler

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Janet W. Butler is a freelance writer, editor, and editorial consultant by day and a “small soprano” by night. An RWA Golden Heart Winner, she is the author of the inspirational romance From the Ashes (“the best little book no one’s ever heard of”), published by SANDS Publishing in 2001; and a romantic suspense, Voice of Innocence, from Desert Breeze Publishing. She is a Chicago native transplanted to northeast Indiana, where she lives with her husband, daughter, and Cassandra “Trouble” Butler, S.R.C. (Spoiled Rotten Cat).

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