When a French Texan bride marries a Japanese-Hawaiian groom, you know you’re in for a unique wedding experience. With guests coming from all over the world, this couple was surrounded by love at their dream wedding, for just $16K! We especially love the bridesmaid’s gowns and the gorgeous wedding ceremony decor. You will love this French & Japanese-Hawaiian Fusion Wedding! Xoxo, Jessica
Catherine + Josh
January 14th, 2018
Fort Worth, TX | The Stonegate Mansion
What was the total budget, and budget breakdown for your wedding?
Total spent: $16,050 (Budget $15,000)
– Venue: $8,500
– Catering: $2,400
– Cake: $1,100
– Bridal attire: $1,300
– Florals: $1,600
– Photography: $750
– Band: $400
How many guests did you have?
Guest count: about 140
How did you meet?
Joshua and I met at a work party welcoming him to his Post-Doc. We spent the entire evening and well into the night talking. It was such an instant connection. We went out after the party and before I went home, he had asked me out on a date for the next weekend. We’ve been together ever since.
What is your proposal story?
Josh has an old car. I was working that day, and he has meetings in a different city. He texted me asked me to call him when I got off work. When I did, he told me that his car had broken down and that he needed to be picked up. I got to him as quickly as I could, and I found him in a place where we had our first picnic together. He was there in a suit, with a blanket and candles. There was a bottle of wine and he had music playing. Our cat was even there, in a little suit of his own. It was so perfect and personal, just for me.
Tell us about your wedding vision.
Our wedding was meant to be the “marriage” of my background and Josh’s background. Because we had varying faith traditions in our families and ourselves, we really wanted to choose a venue that would be non-religious or tied to specific faiths, but homey and comfortable for our guests. We were so excited to find Stonegate Mansion, as it checked off everything on our lists.
Our theme was Hawaiian and French fusion, with a rustic touch, really focusing on the simplistic elegance of both of our styles. We decided to incorporate these elements by using a French band and traditional leis (tuberose lei, or kupaloke, for the bride and for the groom a hilo maile lei). Our food was centered on traditional French dishes, with quiches, tarts, petit fours, parfaits, mousse, and oreilles for guests to enjoy.
To keep our simple style throughout, we chose colors that mirrored our winter rustic theme: pale blues, grey, creams, and natural greens.
Tell us about your attire choices.
Catherine: I really wanted something simple for my dress, but wanted to really pull on my vintage style. I was able to find an amazing gown that was delicate and airy, but still simple. I don’t really like too much “bedazzle,” so it was a nice touch to add the belt to really highlight how gorgeous the fit of the dress was. I decided to forego the heels and chose Betsey Johnson flats to finish my look. I loved having something comfortable but stylish for my shoes and looking back I’m really happy I made that choice!
Josh: Because this was my wedding, I wanted to do something special and get a custom suit. The guys at Indochino were able to help me out with creating a suit that had a bit of the nontraditional feel on me, but was classic so that I can use it often in my wardrobe. I chose a softer color than black so that it would complement my style and the style of the wedding.
Catherine: The bridesmaids’ gowns were formal Adrianna Papell gowns that weren’t a part of a bridesmaid collection. I loved being able to choose a dress that my girls could wear again to a formal event and were more unique than some of the bridesmaid dresses I was seeing for my theme. The colors perfectly matched the wintery theme we were going for.
Josh: The groom’s party attire was the easiest part for me. My only thing was for them to wear a black suit, which allowed them to wear suits they already owned and felt comfortable in, without having to worry about renting.
What was most important to you two while planning? Was there anything you chose to splurge on or skip?
The most important aspect of our planning was the venue. Finding a place that was nonreligious, fit our theme, able to have the ceremony and reception, and felt comfortable for us was our overwhelming priority. Everything else made sense to us after that.
What were your favorite parts of the day?
Our favorite part of the day was the first look. I was so nervous coming down the stairs to see Josh but really couldn’t contain my excitement so I was super ecstatic at the same time. My sister helped me with my dress as I walked up to Josh, and as soon as I saw him everything melted away. We instantly started laughing and I went into his arms. That moment, being able to share the undivided attention for each other and just talk for a little, was really what motivated the rest of my day.
Tell us about your wedding flowers.
Thistle + Olive was amazing in making my floral vision come to life! I don’t have a super elaborate style, so I wanted florals that felt present but didn’t feel gaudy. Darcy was amazing in creating a backdrop of hand-strung flowers to really accomplish this. It was the perfect touch for our ceremony, as it provided the perfect decor element but didn’t obstruct the view of the garden behind us. All of our florals throughout the ceremony and reception embodied the wintery feel we wanted since we wanted to recreate winter even in such a warm place like Texas. The aisle was perfectly strewn with florals like dusty miller and chopped wood from Darcy’s land for the rustic theme.
My bouquet was absolutely perfect! My favorite flowers are peonies, and Darcy was able to include them in the best way. The bridesmaids had simpler bouquets to really play against the details in their dresses.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
One of the best parts of my reception was the Croquembouche, a traditional French dessert for weddings. I was so happy to have a croquembouche in my own reception to really tie in my family’s roots and traditions. My parents had one at their wedding, so it seemed only fitting to have it at my own.
What did you do for favors?
We decided to forego favors and decided to provide extra desserts for everyone since everyone was bound to enjoy that more.
Describe any handmade, DIY, or personal items.
We had a lot of handmade and DIY details at our wedding. My mama was absolutely amazing in helping out with all of the little things and details of my day. She handmade Josh’s tie and the groom’s party bow ties from bridesmaid dress alterations. My sister and mama helped me with my bridal makeup and hair because I really wanted something I felt comfortable with and they know me best. It was absolutely perfect since I didn’t want dramatic makeup, and don’t usually wear much myself, so they knew just what I wanted.
All of the vases were handmade by Thistle + Olive. Darcy was able to have my bridesmaid bouquets double as centerpieces, keeping the tablescape low and intimate so guests could easily talk across the table. The logs in our aisle were cut and sanded by her father, and all the picture frames of Josh and I were gifted by my paternal aunts.
Finally, one of my dear close friends Melissa helped me really plan everything from the beginning and was even there to guide my ceremony. My close friend from Jade & Joy Events was there to help step in to aid in the reception timeline and details.
Did you include any family heirlooms or special traditions?
My Mama hand dyed blue flowers that were originally ribboning from her own dress and sewed them into my garter to provide my “something blue” and match my theme. My bouquet had loops of pearls from my Mama’s wedding dress and was held together by my maternal great-grandmother’s handkerchief that she had hand-stitched.
Josh’s parents were amazing, bringing traditional handmade leis from Hawaii for the wedding. I wore a tuberose lei (kupaloke) accented with pink rosebuds, symbolizing love, congratulations, and commitment. Josh wore a hilo maile lei. This is traditionally worn by grooms for weddings, as it symbolizes a special event and signifies protection and bestows good luck. This is one of the oldest traditional leis in Hawaiian culture.
Do you have advice for couples planning their weddings now?
Do what makes you happy! Don’t get stressed worrying about other opinions and what everyone else thinks you need. Don’t do something just because it’s expected. Make sure to remember that day is all about you and your love for each other, so focus on that and let everything fall as it may.
Photography: LightRing Productions • Ceremony Venue: The Stonegate Mansion • Reception Venue: The Stonegate Mansion • Event Planning: Jade & Joy Events • Floral: Thistle + Olive • Catering: La Madeleine • Wedding Cake: Cakes’n Pearls • Rentals: The Stonegate Mansion • Linens: Thistle + Olive • Band: La Pompe • Stationery: Basic Invite • Wedding Dress: Mori Lee • Groom’s Attire: Indochino • Bride’s Shoes: Betsey Johnson • Bridesmaid Dresses: Adrianna Papell • Watch: Cartier • Engagement Ring: Van Cleef & Arpel • Bracelet: Swarovski • Groom’s Shoes: Salvatore Ferragamo • Submitted via: Matchology
Editor’s note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more pandemic wedding resources here.