21c: Tell us your proposal story.
Aimi: I’ll be telling the story from my prospective as a new wife (I’m finally getting used to saying the words “wife” and “husband”). I’m from Okinawa, Japan and it took a while but we finally had the opportunity to visit Okinawa. We were both very excited for our travel because it was the first time going abroad together and Mitch always dreamed of going to Japan. Also, very important because I knew I did not want to marry someone that didn’t know or understand the environment and culture I came from. Okinawa shaped my identity and we felt that he needed to experience everything that made me who I am before I could feel completely whole with him.
So the story goes like this…
We arrived to the very humid island on a summer night in June of 2018. You could immediately feel the heavy breeze and smell the saltiness. After visiting with my relatives and picking up the rental car, we drove closer to the beaches, crossing the ocean bridge to the island of Henza where we had rooftop access to the ocean view. We unloaded the car and I walked into the apartment with arms full of luggage. M sits down on the dining room chair, dropping the stuff around him sweating profusely because of the high humidity and heat. Very normal to the sub-tropical island. I’m standing about a meter in front of him with arms full of stuff, bags, luggage, and food we’ve just picked up, assessing the best place to set it all down.
This is when he pulls out a wooden box and stretches his arm out to me, “will you marry me?” Well, maybe he asked liked that, haha… I don’t remember how he exactly asked but I said, “yes, but now? Couldn’t you have waited few more minutes for me to set the stuff down or walk across the street to the ocean or the roof?”
M said “no, it felt like a bomb in my pocket” and he couldn’t wait anymore.
That was very much M’s style. Regardless of the scenario we were happy to adventure into new stages of life with each other as the best friends we are.
21c: How did you meet?
Aimi: I was a ceramic student at Bowling Green State University. The studio courtyard was shared with the glass studio and the sculpture studio, with all its refused headstones that were used by stone carving students. The courtyard was called the studio grave yard by some students. I had 24-hour studio access and was working late night in the quiet studio. I used to smoke so I went out for a break to the courtyard, sitting on the table we used for loading and unloading ceramics for kiln firings. That’s when M rolled in on his bicycle, saw me, and fell in love. He says it was love at first sight and he has been waiting for me all his life.
21c: What were you looking for in a venue? How did you know you found the one?
Aimi: We were still in Okinawa when we shared the news to M’s parents who are in Louisville, KY. So they started the venue search. M and I are both artists and live in Baltimore. We knew we wanted something easy and simple that didn’t require lot of our time and guidance. It was M’s mama that knew 21C was the perfect venue and we agreed. It had art, food, and a great atmosphere. A majority of the event setup was in-house which was very helpful and didn’t require complex gymnastics of trying to coordinate from another state.
21c: If you channel some magic penguin-godmother magic and relive your favorite moment from your wedding day, what would it be?
Aimi: Everything was magical and there was happiness in the air from family and friends that supported our love. That was amazing. What I would want to re-live would be the food because I never get tired of eating. I tried to eat as much as I could while talking to everyone but definitely did not get enough hors d’oeuvres! I should have appointed a group of my friends to deliver food!
21c: What was the dreamiest dish from your reception?
Aimi: I have to say the mashed potatoes. It was yummy and I could have easily had another large dollop.
21c: Which detail are you most proud of?
Aimi: My husbands’ beautifully made glass vases on each table with flowers arranged by me and my sisters. The plants gave off a nice fragrance that warmed the air. Also, my amazing friends from Baltimore who (impromptu) decorated the isle and, of course, I can’t leave out everyone who made the whole event fun. Without our guests it wouldn’t have been such an amazing celebration.
21c: How did your wedding reflect who you are as a couple?
Aimi: Both of us being artists made the art-filled space an important part of our event. Art really allows for grounds to share and communicate each of our own world views that differ for and from everyone else. We were happy to have a space that reflected our beliefs and create an open space for our family and friends that come from very different communities and background to enjoy a shared space.
21c: Which piece of art got the most Insta love?
Aimi: The large photograph in the lobby seating area with birds eye view of the glass factory with all the glass objects in its colorful piles. I think it added a nice context to our guests of the art making material M and I are immersed in.
21c: Do you have any tips for brides-to-be to make their day as stress-free as possible?
Aimi: Trust your family, friends, and especially 21C’s vary own Mary Burks. She worked hard to make our celebration a magical one and we are very thankful.
21c: What did your out-of-town guests love most about Louisville?
Aimi: The bourbon scene! The art! The food! Louisville is a place everyone wanted to come back to!
Make a big statement with an intimate wedding at 21c.
Photos by Crystal Ludwick Photography