The ceremony was Irish-themed (Erin is half Irish) and began with Erin’s uncle Patrick playing the bagpipes as he was the first to walk down the aisle.  The ceremony music also featured Queen May, an Irish sextet, playing Irish classics such as “Ragland Road” and “Fields of Athenry”.  Erin’s favorite Celtic singer, Irish soloist, Gavin Coyle, flew in from Chicago to make a special appearance  for our wedding ceremony.  Erin has been listening to Gavin Coyle since high school and it was an incredibly emotional experience to have him sing “She Walks Through the Fair” as Erin walked down the aisle.  It truly was a once in a lifetime experience!

    Maintaining the light-hearted and fun feel of the day, the Kaneko’s great family friend Judge Wade Olson officiated the ceremony.  Wade has known Erin since she was 7 years old and he’s known me since I was 11 or 12 years old.  Needless to say, the ceremony was unforgettable!  Once I saw Erin coming down the aisle - the day was quiet and there were no more nerves!  I took Erin’s hand from her father and planted a big kiss on her lips!!!!!  You should have seen Erin - as I went in for the kiss all she could say was, “not yet... not yet... not yet...” but I had my mind set and kissed her anyway!  Wade had to pry me off of her!  Ha! Ha!  After he told the crowd that I was an eager groom - we all had a laugh and from that moment on we were all smiles (with the occasional tear).  As for our parents, (especially my dad) they were another story - sobbing nearly the entire time!  We appreciated having such a wonderful friend be the one to marry us because it made for such a comfortable and relaxed moment for both of us.  Of course, as you can tell by the pictures, we had a THE BEST time! 

    Not to disregard Erin’s Japanese heritage on the day of our wedding, we also performed a “san-san-kudo” ceremony with Reverend Ito.  San-san-kudo literally translates as “three-three-nine times”.  It is a formal and ritualized drinking of a small amount of sake by the bride, groom, and their parents symbolizing the joining of two families.  My two sisters and Erin’s two maids of honor presented the sake cups and poured the sake for each participant.  After we all had our sips of sake (I think at the end of the routine, I had the most!) our families were united by a wonderfully interesting Japanese tradition. 

After the “san-san’kudo” ceremony, we read aloud our personal vows.  I must admit that was the most surreal moment in my life as the world was perfectly still and completely quiet.  We then exchanged rings, but not before I prematurely tried to grab the ring from Wade (TWICE) and he once again called me the most eager and overexcited groom he had met!  We rang our wedding bell as is Irish tradition and were finally pronounced “husband and wife”!  The sun began to shine through the light layer of clouds as we walked back down the aisle, beginning our journey as a married couple.  :-)

Photos courtesy of VCS Photography