Japanese Saké Sharing Ceremony in Massachusetts is bursting with culture and meaningful moments with family, honoring the couple’s past, present, and future together.
Even though they grew up only 50 miles apart, it took a restaurant/bar opening in Beijing in early 2016 for them to cross paths.”From the Bride & Groom’s Wedding Site
Love finds us when we least expect it and often in the least expected places. For Alyssa & Drew, their love story began one fateful evening in early 2016 in Beijing.
At the time, Alyssa was in Beijing running a non-profit focused on US-China relations and Drew was coaching and playing basketball. That night, Alyssa and her roommate (now Maid of Honor) decided to check out a new restaurant/bar that was opening in the city. Drew was also there meeting a mutual friend. They spotted each other and although Alyssa happened to be on crutches at the time, Drew mustered up the courage to go over and spark a conversation. They quickly realized how much they had in common. From their shared love of music, food, dancing and their family and friends, they also realized they grew up only 50 miles apart from each other! From then on, they dated for 2 years while living in China before moving back to the states, living together, and now tying the knot!
On June 10th, 2022, they said “I-do” in a Traditional Japanese Saké Sharing Ceremony. Set at the Lake House Guest Cottages in Lanesborough, Massachusetts, each and every detail of their ceremony was beautifully planned. The day had many meaningful moments, including Alyssa’s mother learning all the proper dressings for her ceremonial Uchikake (gown), and Alyssa wearing her mother’s passed down Kimono and her great grandmother’s obi (sash). Other cultural elements included the tradition of San San Ku Do. The tradition (symbolized by the drinking of the Saké cups) honors the couples past, present, and future.
More sweet details on their traditional Japanese Saké sharing ceremony below!
- Couple: Alyssa Farrelly & Andrew Heath
- Occupations: Alyssa is the COO & Director of Social Impact at an investment management company. Drew is the Athletic Director and basketball coach at a private school in San Francisco. He also runs his own basketball training company
- Wedding date: June 11, 2022
- Wedding location: The Lake House Guest Cottages of the Berkshires, MA
- Gifts for their bridesmaids & groomsmen: Each Bridesmaid received a yukata (a casual kimono) and a personalized champagne cup. Groomsmen were gifted personalized flasks.
- Gifts for one another: They chose not to exchange physical gifts as they are both more into sharing experiences together. Instead, they indulged in their honeymoon to Portugal!
- Ceremony entrance song: For their Japanese ceremony, they played Gagaku music which is Japanese classical music. It is often used for ceremonial events.
- For their western ceremony: “The Point of it All” by Anthony Hamilton (For the wedding party) and “Beyond” by Leon Bridges, the instrumental version (for the bride’s entrance).
- First dance song: “Find Someone Like You” – Snoh Alegra
How they met…
Even though we grew up only 50 miles apart in the tri-state area, we actually met at a restaurant/bar opening in Beijing, China, where we were both living, in early 2016. I was at the event with my roommate (who ended up being my Maid of Honor). I ended up meeting Drew when he came to meet a mutual friend. We dated while living there for about 2 years before moving to the Bay Area 4 years ago!
Drew proposed in December 2020 when we were both back home on the east coast visiting our families. It was the day after Christmas and we were walking around the National Mall in DC with his sister and cousin. They were taking our photo when Drew got down on one knee. I thought he dropped his mask but it turns out he was taking out the ring!
Wedding style & attire…
For our Japanese ceremony, I was wearing my mother’s kimono and my grandmother’s obi (sash) which was given to her by my great-grandmother. Drew was wearing a custom-made Montsuki Haori Hakama (Japanese formal attire for men) with my mom’s family crest sewn into it.
We had two ceremonies! We had a Japanese ceremony and a western ceremony.
For our Japanese ceremony, we chose to celebrate with a traditional Japanese sake-sharing ceremony called “San San Ku Do”. San means three and ku means nine so three, three, nine. We drank sake three times, each from three different sized lacquer cups symbolizing the exchange of our marriage vows and honoring the past, present and future. Our parents also took three sips each sealing the bond between our two families and our union.
We also each wore traditional Japanese wedding attire and had a contemporary taiko (Japanese drumming) group, called Shindaiko, perform! Our friends and family also helped us to fold 1000 origami cranes (since cranes mate for life, they symbolize good luck, longevity, and peace for marriage) that we used as decor.
Japanese Saké Sharing Ceremony…
Favorite wedding day memories…
There were so many amazing memories! We loved celebrating our love with all of our family and friends who live all over the world! But, if we had to choose:
For Drew, his favorite moment was the mother-son dance. “For the mother-son dance we chose a song sung by my late grandfather who was a renowned jazz musician, Jimmy McDaniels, which was really special for our family.”
Alyssa’s favorite moment was related to her attire. She shares, “Wearing the kimono that’s been handed down in my family was particularly special because my grandmother in Japan wasn’t able to fly to the US because of health reasons.”
Reception space & decor…
Wedding advice for other engaged couples…
There will be so many details and other people’s opinions on things that you can easily get overwhelmed with wanting to incorporate it all—but try to keep in mind what you and your partner truly want and what your priorities are! For us it was good food and music that everyone could dance to! Also, make sure to step back & pause on the actual day to soak it all in because it flies by!
Looking for more multicultural wedding inspiration like this Saké Sharing Ceremony?
- Photographer: Rebecca Castonguay of Moments with Ada Photography LLC.
- Venue: The Lake House
- Planning & Design: Rebecca Daly & Danielle Pelleriin of Danecca & Co.
- Florist: Belinda Bennett of The Rose Thief
- Band: ShinDaiko
- Videography: Coby Porter of Captured by Coby
- Catering: CRISP Catering
- Lighting: Maryanne Gillooly of Gillooly & Co. Design
- Rentals: Mahaiwe Tent