Style blogger Reiko, 36, and poet Sean, 33, were introduced by a mutual friend who knew he’d be “just her style.” Three years later, in 2008, Sean proposed while he and Reiko were hunkered down at her home during Hurricane Ike. On July 30, 2011, they met at the altar during a surprise wedding ceremony at The Mosaic in Houston, Texas.
Sean proposed to Reiko with a little help from a custom made Build-A-Bear — you know like the kind you see in those mall stores? — which he programmed with his voice saying, “Reiko, will you marry me?” She still smiles at the thought of Sean’s unexpected proposal style. “Admittedly, the Build-A-Bear was corny,” she says. “But we still laugh about it to this day.”
For Reiko, picking a wedding dress style was as simple as putting on a pair of shoes — literally. “I knew that I was going to rock my leopard print L.A.M.B heels, and there was no way I was going to hide them by wearing a long dress,” she says.
The happy couple wanted more of an organic and candid feel to their wedding photos, so they met up a few hours before their ceremony and posed for pictures at The Magnolia Hotel where they could relax and just be themselves for the camera.
Sean and Reiko were even able to sneak in a game of pool and a few cocktails before it was time to exchange vows. We love how this couple took all of the pre-ceremony plans into their own hands. Don’t they look all the more relaxed for it? We sure think so.
Reiko and Sean fell in love with the clubhouse’s dark wood floors, white sofas, and huge windows overlooking the city. “I wanted the venue to speak for itself,” says the bride, who was determined to use minimal decorations on her big day. “I am so anti all of that kitschy stuff. I rebuked any sign of plastic plants spiraling down a faux column or tables sprinkled with marble or glitter. Nope, not on my dime.”
Budget-conscious bride Reiko was thrilled when her friend Candie, of Candie’s Fine Catering, offered to help out with these delectable food spreads. (She says guests couldn’t stop raving about the food presentation.) To wash down the meal, guests enjoyed sweet tea vodka — the couple’s favorite drink and their signature cocktail for the evening — which the groom made himself that morning.
We’re noticing that more and more brides are skipping the hair weaves and braids in favor of natural beauty on their wedding day. Reiko was no exception, and she says Sean loved her “fro of fury” from the minute he first saw her take out her braids.
Reiko remembers the exact moment she knew Sean was the man of her dreams: “I had a feeling that he was going to stick around when he insisted I go to my grad school graduation ceremony, which I wasn’t planning on attending. He made sure that I was there with bells on. The fact that he made that moment a priority for both of us was the sign that I needed.”
The overall vibe of their wedding day was very important to the newlyweds. “We wanted it to be genuine and not a production,” says Reiko. “We wanted people to get us when they went home that night. We included things that screamed Sean and Reiko.”
Playful couple Reiko and Sean decided to prank their guests on their big day. They told them they’d already married at the courthouse, and they wanted them to attend their reception celebration. Imagine their guests’ surprise when they found out they were actually there to witness the couple exchange their vows. The big reveal came as the couple walked in hand-in-hand and escorted each other down the aisle as the DJ played “The Truth” by India.Arie.
Reiko was the video wardrobe stylist for new R&B artist Lee-Lonn, and while working together they became friends. When she called him and asked if he would perform his debut song “Maybe” at their reception, he was more than happy to oblige. (He even serenaded the groom’s grandmother, who Reiko says, played coy but loved every single minute of it.)
“We had to keep our guest list down due to our tight budget, but we did go out of our way to give extra hugs to everyone,” explains Reiko. “We had family members and friends who traveled from all parts of the world, even China. We saw that day how important we were to so many people because they made it their priority to celebrate with us.”
Reiko is one savvy shopper. She proudly told us all about how she snagged this gorgeous Calvin Klein cocktail dress that “screamed Reiko” from the clearance rack at Dillards. She had it altered, added some crinoline, and put on her leopard shoes, and wham, her fierce wedding day look was complete. The groom found his look at Zara, and his Nicole Miller bow tie from Marshalls.