“Spirited Away” Hayao Miyazaki-inspired whimsical wedding
Qifei and Mollie’s whimsical wedding was inspired by the animated masterpiece “Spirited Away,” and like the film’s young heroin, guests were transported to another world. To do so the brides went to great lengths to honor director Hayao Miyazaki’s vision. They searched far and wide before selecting the magical Jubilee Farms as their venue, complete with its fairy tale Japanese garden and koi pond with a signature red bridge.
They sprinkled subtle details that resembled iconic movie elements, like a parasol and blush and sage green flowers. They also prepared custom fan wedding programs that fit right in with the “Spirited Away” theme. Qifei’s custom-made rose-gold shield shaped engagement ring was not only symbolic of the movie, but also its engraving and mill-work represented the two female forms, forever embraced. Qifei and Molly even scheduled their special day to coincide with a full moon, which set the stage for one of the most dramatic wedding exits! Yet what impressed me the most was that instead of distracting guests, these carefully chosen details placed the focus squarely on the brides and their love for one another.
Equally important to the brides was that they pay homage to Qifei’s Chinese heritage. The day began with a traditional hair combing ceremony, where the lucky lady of their choice blessed them with a harmonious marriage and a houseful of children (and grandchildren). Next, Mollie was not allowed to see Qifei until she solved 10 puzzles written in DIY note cards, another Chinese tradition. The last one led Mollie to the banks of the Potomac River, which borders Jubilee Farms and where Qifei waited patiently, resembling a river spirit from afar with her flying veil and delicate bejeweled wedding gown. It was the perfect spot for a first look. As a final touch, all of the guests read an ancient Chinese poem “To The Oak” in unison while the brides took ceremonial bows to honor heaven, earth, their parents and lastly each other.
“Our roots closely intertwined beneath the earth,
Our leaves touching in the clouds.
With every whiff of wind
We greet each other
But no one can
Understand our words.
You’ll have bronze limbs and iron trunk,
Like knives, swords
I’ll have my crimson flowers
Like sighs, heavy and deep,
Like heroic torches,
Together we’ll share
The cold tidal waves, storms, and thunderbolts;
Together we’ll share
The light mist, the colored rainbows;
We shall always depend on each other.
Only this can be called great love.”
The good vibes continued inside and around the reception barn with “Spirited Away” signature cocktails and congratulatory hugs. The rest of the night was a wonderful kaleidoscope of waltzing by the full moon, heartfelt speeches, love in the air and magic sparks.
From the photographer, Kuralay Nurmanova
The Wedding Biz Podcast
- Rustic chic farmhouse wedding by the beach
- Travel-themed wedding ideas + a glam black wedding cake
- Pittsburgh engagement session after a grocery store meet cute
- Creating the wedding budget—tips from our book: Equally Wed: The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your LGBTQ+ Wedding
- Breathtaking Iceland elopement