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.
Here’s another fun shot from the couple’s laid back pre-ceremony photo shoot.
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.”
The groom’s signature bow tie look was a hit with all the guys.
As the guests arrived, they passed this lovely custom painting of the bride and groom created by Atlanta illustrator Shanda Ferguson.
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.
“I wanted an eclectic look for our desserts, so we had a collection of mini-cupcakes, traditional cupcakes, and cupcakes in shot glasses,” says Reiko.
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.
In lieu of flowers, fashionista bride Reiko chose to decorate the clubhouse with candles and pretty pillows.
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.
With help from the Eskay Entertainment team, Reiko and Sean were able to transform the clubhouse into the perfect ceremony and reception space without going over budget.
Reiko and Sean exchange vows before their closest friends and family.
In order to keep with their big surprise plans, Reiko and Sean weren’t able to select a bridal party. Instead, they asked their siblings and parents to join them at the altar.
After making it official, Reiko and Sean beamed as they walked out to the cheers and applauds of their overjoyed guests.
After the couple’s planning team transformed the space into a lounge-style reception party, Reiko and Sean made their grand entrance.
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.)
The newlyweds cut into their buttercream cake.
“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.”
“The hubby rocks bow ties and Chuck Taylor sneakers on the regular, so that was mandatory on our wedding day,” says Reiko. “He splurged on custom ones that read ‘Sean-N-Reiko.’”
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.
“We took away the elements of a wedding that bored us to tears, so that we didn’t bore our guests to tears,” says Reiko. “It worked. Everyone had a blast.”
Reiko and Sean succeeded at planning a unique wedding day that was “totally them” and that their guests enjoyed. Join us in wishing the new Mr. and Mrs. Foster a lifetime of bliss.