When falling in love leads to a long distance relationship, travel just comes naturally!
That’s how Lisa + Travis found themselves on a romantic elopement adventure in Kyoto, Japan. Years of long distance meant that these two were no strangers to airports and passports and making big journeys.
A traditional wedding in Hawaii near Travis’s family was on the table until just two months before the wedding date when these two leaned into their wanderlust and started making plans for Kyoto. At that point Japan’s COVID restrictions still prohibited international tourism. In moments when the whole experience seemed touch-and-go, the couple leaned on the travel coordinating team at Eighty Days Japan. They helped navigate the logistics and smooth out all the details of Lisa + Travis’s wedding journey.
Luckily Japan opened in the nick of time!!
Henry Tieu, a photographer who specializes in elopements, was onboard for the excitement of the event and even helped to plan some of the excursions that made Lisa + Travis’s wedding so special. The beautiful photos Henry took tell the story of a couple exploring together and loving every moment abroad.
About Lisa + Travis’s long-distance love story, Lisa says: “There’s a story my mom used to tell me, about two lovers that were separated, but once in a rare while, the heavens allowed the birds to form a bridge across the sky so they could meet briefly. American Airlines isn’t exactly a bridge of birds, but it got the job done when I was stationed overseas with the Navy. Travis worked weekends and evenings to save up enough money, and when my ship was in port long enough, he would meet me wherever I was.
For a few moments each year, we would have a brief rambling rendezvous of an adventure. These were as desperate as they were brief, and we drank in each moment so we could live off the memory for another year apart. We spent 5 years this way. Our wedding day was inspired by one of these short adventures, with the idea that each moment is fleeting, so we had the entire day to cherish each other’s company and fully embrace the Japanese phrase ‘Ichi-go ichi-e,’ or ‘This moment comes only once.‘”
This beautiful full-train floral two-piece gown is the “Amalia” from Monique Lhuillier’s Fall 2022 Collection and was originally Lisa’s pick for a reception dress back when a larger wedding was still something she and Travis were considering.
Using a travel coordinator helped Lisa + Travis handle a range of elopement elements, from translation to cultural sensitivity : “Eighty Days Japan planned a very special trip tailored to our vision. They arranged transportation and lodging, and scouted photo sites in advance. They took care of the language barrier, the logistics, and the details. They also helped us to be more courteous visitors so we didn’t go trampling through temples and revered spaces without acknowledging appropriate customs and their history. In retrospect, our wedding wouldn’t have been what it was without them.”
Lisa paired the look with her grandmother’s jade earrings and a pair of white shoes that were a gift from her mother.
Obsessed with this gorgeous two-piece silhouette? Check out more two-piece wedding dress options!
An Oceanside Ceremony
The couple said “I do” on a beach north of Kyoto with volcanic rock formations and crashing waves in the background.
Our Favorite Memory From The Wedding
Travis: It was seeing all the things in Japan with Lisa! Honestly, we could have been anywhere though, and it still would have been special because I always have a good time with her.
Lisa: At sunset on a lonely isthmus to Tateiwa Rock that only appears at low tide, Travis said “I know how strong you can be, but you don’t have to do things alone anymore, let’s face life’s challenges together…I promise you’ll always be heard and never be ignored.” I didn’t expect to feel such immense relief, followed by helium light elation, I could have floated away in that moment.
Before Lisa + Travis decided to elope, this stunning sheer lace dress from Galia Lahav’s GALA line was Lisa’s pick when shopping for a bridal look for a more traditional wedding. When their plans changed, the flowy romantic silhouette fit perfectly into their beachside vow moment. Just a few days before this ceremony, Lisa impulsively decided to pair it with these amazing floral and lace platform sneakers from Yosuke.
Some sake to celebrate!!
The bride + groom sliced into their fresh-fruit-covered wedding cake right there beside the sea!
LOVE this editorial silhouette composite photo!!
Lisa opted to remove a few of this dress’s original layers of tulle to create a more a-line silhouette. Inspired by the shape? Check out these a-line wedding gown ideas!
Who doesn’t love a drone shot?!
Rainy Day Adventures
Our Advice To Those Planning Now
Travis: Start early and don’t be afraid to ask for help from the professionals like planners and photographers. It’s a once in a lifetime event!
Lisa: Fill the day with people that will allow your attention to focus on the important things. You don’t have time for love if you’re busy sweating the logistics.
Get a planner. In late 2022, Japan’s Covid restrictions required that we be accompanied by a tour guide, and it was the best decision that fate ever forced on me.
And if you’re going to cut costs, skimp on anything but your photographer. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
So in love with Lisa’s adorable monochrome white outfit! Perfect for feeling a little bridal while exploring a new city. Recreate the look with a midi shirt dress and some white sneaks!
A thought from Lisa about the pros of eloping or keeping a wedding celebration small: “If I’m hosting a large party I’m wholly absorbed in being the host, and my attention is focused on entertaining my guests. I can’t help it. Due to Covid, we chose a very intimate group to join us for our wedding, and I didn’t have to worry if the vows we wrote were too long or not entertaining enough, or if the open bar served a wide enough selection, or if the service was religious enough or current enough to please everyone. I didn’t have to worry about being enough. My focus was free to be in the present, with Travis.
Part of the perfection of that day was that for a moment, I left what everyone thought behind, and I was surrounded by those that love me and find me to be enough. It’s still a bright memory that I hold close to me like an amulet for my return to normal life.”
Here’s to so many more thrilling travels!! Congrats from GWS, Lisa + Travis!!!
photography: Henry Tieu Photography // planning: 80 Days Japan // wedding dress: Monique Lhuillier and Galia Lahav // bride's shoes: Yosuke
Wow these photos are GORGEOUS! Love the different dresses and different backgrounds, and that editorial silhouette photo is amazing!
All three dresses are amazing.
I’m in love with the first one. OMG.
Oh, and the photos are lovely, too.