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Love Across Seas: The Couple Who Missed Their Own Wedding, Celebrated At Cielo Farms in Malibu

By: 
Mackenzie Sylvester

Though separated by more than 5,000 miles, Keiko and Kotaro were determined to give their guests a very real night of celebration. After facing visa issues, Keiko was unable to enter the United States, where the couple planned to host a destination wedding, from Japan. This hiccup did not stop the entire party from enjoying the night together—through a virtual ceremony. Planner Star Hanson led the amazing team of creatives who pulled it off. “It is so incredible that even with oceans between us, we were still able to move forward with Keiko and Kotaro’s wedding. The moment when we first connected to them and their images popped up on the screen was magical—everyone cheered, smiled, and waved,” she said.

Keiko was based in Japan, but the couple officially started their relationship while in LA, so they thought it a fitting wedding location. During a road trip to Malibu the two fell in love with the wine country views. After later touring Cielo Farms, it was obvious they found their dream setting in the cozy, warm atmosphere and gorgeous scenery.

Just two weeks before the wedding, the pair flew back to Japan for last minute planning. When it came time to head back to LA, Keiko was not allowed on the plane due to visa issues. After making every effort to make it back in time to say "I do" in front of their loved ones, it was time to consider other options. Keiko and Kotaro had planned for 10 months and had asked their guests to fly all the way to LA. They wanted their guests to still enjoy what they had planned, especially as a uniquely Californian experience for their friends and family hailing from Japan.

From the bride:

“My close friends were also devastated about the outcome and had tried to come up with ways to make it most memorable for us by doing a flash mob at the last minute. They knew how much I wanted everyone to enjoy dancing and just have fun and thought this would make me very happy - which truly did.

Although it would have been best that we could attend our own wedding...us not being able to attend had made it unique and memorable to all of our guests and also brought our family and friends together creating a great and cozy atmosphere which made us really really happy.

I cannot thank our entire wedding crew led by Star for being so flexible to change every details that were planned at the last minute and also coming up with cute and creative ideas like the life size props of Kotaro and I. Without them, we would not have pulled this through in the short time we had and been so comfortable attending from Japan.

I don’t think that all planners would have been able to pull this off so I am happy that I was surrounded by a team that were so caring and motivated enough to make this work with us.”

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