Today we are thrilled to feature the wedding of a a Japanese bride who married her South African groom in his home country after meeting in Japan where they plan to return. Their photographer Cheryl McEwan tells up as bit more about this FAB couple…

Yuka and Aidan’s love story is one of pure romance that stretches across the globe! It goes a little something like this.. Dashing young South African boy jets off to Japan to teach English and meets Yuka, beautifully elegant Japanese girl, romance begins and Aidan proposes at the top of a beautiful mountain in Japan, they fly out to South Africa and tie the knot in a wonderfully intimate ceremony at Blaauwklippen in the heart of Stellenbosch. Wow I can’t tell you all how blessed I was to capture this amazing couple and how excited I was to photograph my first beautiful Japanese bride! Yuka got ready at the gorgeous SW1 guesthouse in Somerset West, which is a photographer’s dream for bridal portraits…

When and where did you first meet, and how did you fall in love?

Well, we put a twist on the “we met in school” classic. In Japan, at my old junior high school, I was a student teacher and he was an English teacher. We still joke about our meeting together, he was working on his computer (i.e. Facebooking) and I was waiting in the meeting area for another teacher. My first words to him were, “Oh, do you have Facebook?” He was very surprised and his response was, “ah, you speak English?” We started out as friends but it soon became more than that. We quickly fell head over heels in love and after 2 years dating, got engaged!

We spoke about getting engaged but he maintained that we should do it in South Africa. To my surprise he “popped the question” on top of Murakuni mountain (which has one of the best night views in all of Japan, officially). He planned it for months and as we soon learned, things don’t always go according to plan.

He had the ring, dinner reservation and a huge party organised for the evening. However, I had a terrible day at work and was starving. Imagine my dismay when he decided to make a detour and drive to the top of the mountain. It was raining and all I wanted to do was go to the restaurant. Finally I followed him up to the platform where he had flowers and a bent knee waiting. He asked me to marry him. I was so confused because of the surprise and my mood. It was clear the proposal wasn’t what I expected, but I still said, “YES”. I knew that my answer was yes no matter the situation and that this unique proposal made it special. And it is something we will always remember and laugh about.

Why did you choose South Africa as your wedding destination?

After we got engaged we went to Aidan’s home country, South Africa. We decided to have our wedding there. It was a difficult decision for us, knowing it would be almost impossible to have both families at the wedding at once, we decided to have a small, intimate wedding in beautiful South Africa with his family and friends. Also I felt that in South Africa, I could have my dream wedding with the wide open gardens and beautiful backdrops.

We didn’t have a wedding planner because we wanted to do it by ourselves and add our personal touch.

The most difficult part was also not having a wedding planner, we had to do everything ourselves. Including on the day, the groom and his friends were setting up before the wedding. It was a lot of pressure to make sure everything went according to plan. Another big challenge was that I didn’t have my mother and close friends to share this time with. It was difficult to get their opinions when they were so far away.

What unique touches did you include in the wedding in order to make it more personal?

Our vision for the wedding was a beautiful garden wedding with a classic western element, and a touch of Japanese. We also wanted to make it intimate, so that people could feel comfortable mingling with each other. Our theme colours were white and green. We made all the invitations and stationary ourselves. This included: paper cones, origami hearts for the invitations, origami flowers for the cake and a wishing tree.

What was the best decision you made?

The best decision was to add our personal touch even though it took us forever it was worth it because the guests enjoyed and appreciated it.

Another great thing was that the family was very involved and helped make our day great. Aidan’s aunt did the flowers, his father arranged hay bales, his cousin did my make-up, our friends helped make the invitation design, and the best man brought a film crew. This made the day extra special.

What advice would you give to other brides to be?

My advice is to start gathering what you want for your special day as soon as possible so that it gives you enough time to think. Once it gets down to the actual planning the time goes by so quickly. Plan hard but when the day comes, just ENJOY!

Thank you so much Yuka and Aidan for sharing your wedding and story with us!

Photography: Cheryl McEwan | Venue: Blaauwklippen | Wedding Dress: Robyn Roberts | Bridal Hair: Barbara from Carlton Hair, Waterstone Mall | Bridal Makeup: Dominique Falconer (Groom’s Cousin) | Shoes: Aldo South Africa | Cake: Nelle Cakes | Florist: Deborah Dingemans (Groom’s Aunt) & The Rose Room | Stationary: Ryan Carlse

2 Responses

  1. Friday’s FAB 5 | Fly Away Bride

    […] Our good friend Mary-Elizabeth O’Neill from Voyage New York Weddings shared Curt and Beth’s engagement on New York City ice on Wednesday and yesterday, we had the pleasure of featuring Yuka and Aidans dream wedding in South Africa […]


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