Real wedding: Aika and DongYoung’s small and intimate wedding ceremony

Sand ceremony, London wedding. Photo credits (c) Daniel Morrell.

Weddings come in all shapes and sizes. Big, tiny, lavish, luxury, simple, creative, serious, hilarious, traditional, unconventional, loud and still. In the ‘real weddings’ blog posts I describe how I work with couples to create and conduct bespoke wedding ceremonies to celebrate this special moment in their lives.

The below is an impression of the small and intimate wedding I conducted for Aika and DongYoung in North London on a sunny day in spring.

I could make you happy, make your dreams come true
There’s nothing that I wouldn’t do
Go to the ends of this Earth for you
To make you feel my love.

Aika, the bride, walked down the aisle while Adele sang these beautiful words. They couldn’t be more fitting for her and DongYoung, the man she was about to marry. Both had lived in different countries all over the world before they met and even during their engagement they lived in different parts of the world: the bride in Japan, the groom in United Arab Emirates.

We had prepared the wedding ceremony via Skype and email during the few available time slots that due to the time differences suited us all. After our engaging and fun meetings in the virtual world it was wonderful to finally meet them in person on the day!

An intimate setting

Aika and DongYoung had decided to say their ‘I do’s’ in London, the place where Aika’s parents had settled a few months before, at the picturesque environment of Stephens House and Gardens in North London.

Their special commitments were only witnessed by their close family members, who had met for the first time the day before the ceremony. An intimate setting, celebrating not only the unique love of two beautiful human beings, but also the coming together of two families.


The ceremony was held in English, but we had Korean translations available for the groom’s family and I welcomed the guests in their mother tongues: Japanese and Korean.

Multilingual wedding ceremony. Photo credits (c) Rosalie Kuyvenhoven

Photo credits yours truly

In the ceremony, we spoke about the challenges and the beauty of a long-distance relationship:

“Despite the miles that have kept them apart, they have always felt close to each other.”

Aika and DongYoung had written their own vows which they had handwritten on special cards. I always find it a very moving moment in the ceremony when a couple expresses their love for one another and their dreams for the future in their own words. The words they spoke to each other brought smiles and tears to everyone in the room!

Sand ceremony

After the vows and the ring exchange we did a sand ceremony in which all family members were included. By merging two colours of sand, green and white, into one inseparable unity, Aika and DongYoung not only wanted to express the coming together of their individual lives, but also the new unity of their combined families.

They started after which their family members also poured sand into the unity vase, while listening to gentle contemplative music played by Yiruma, a South-Korean British pianist.

Photo credits (c) Daniel Morrell.

Photo credits (c) Daniel Morrell @luma_moments

We had prepared personalised mini-bottles with blended sand for each family member to take away.

Photo credits (c) Daniel Morrell.

Personalised sand ceremony bottles. Photo credits (c) Daniel Morrell @luma_moments

Another day of sun

After this symbolic ritual the newly-weds sealed their love with a kiss. We all cheered and clapped when they walked out together at ‘Another day of sun’ from the film La La Land.

Wishing this beautiful, cute and special couple that all their days together may be filled with sun, laughter, happiness and love!

Photo credits (c) Daniel Morrell.

Photo credits (c) Daniel Morrell @luma_moments

“I will treasure this day forever”

It has been an absolute honour and pleasure to work with this lovely couple. A few days after the wedding they left a wonderful review on my Facebook page:

“Rosalie went above and beyond to make our wedding ceremony so meaningful and personal. Rosalie living in the UK, my fiancé (now husband) living in Abu Dhabi, and I living in Tokyo, we had to discuss everything through Skype and emails. She took time to get to know us and our story, created a beautiful script, and because I couldn’t go to the wedding venue in London, she went ahead to make sure all the logistics at the venue were well prepared. Rosalie, thank you so much for an amazing wedding. It definitely wouldn’t have been the same without you. My family all loved the wedding ceremony and I will treasure this day forever.” Aika Yamane

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