Stephanie-Shihai Wedding Ceremony

Late last year I was honoured to be the one to get these two hitched after a romance than spanned, not only the years, but also the continents.

Shihai was born in China and then lived in Japan. Steph was born in Australia, to parents of Austrian and Dutch backgrounds – what a rich cultural heritage their children will have!!!

They met when Steph travelled to Japan to teach English and improve her own Japanese which she had studied successfully at both school and university.


They had both joined a badminton club in order to broaden their circle of friends, and broaden them they certainly did!! Some of whom made the trip out to Australia to help them celebrate their marriage at the gorgeous Elizabethan Lodge in Blackburn North – an eastern suburb of Melbourne – only a simple 20-minute trip down the Eastern Freeway from the CBD.

They chose this venue not only for the stunning gardens – which provided endless photo opportunities for the talented guys from Honeycomb Productions (who I must thank for these great wedding photography images!) – and the beautiful chapel, but also because it provided extensive accommodation for their many overseas and interstate guests (at an affordable price).

The ceremony was a mix of English and Japanese in deference to our many Japanese speaking guests; and Shihai’s brother, Yohei, provided simple and succinct interpretations of some sections of the ceremony. Written translations had been given to the parents beforehand so that they had a pretty good idea of what was being conveyed at certain important parts in the service.

After a beautiful heartfelt ceremony where Shihai promised “to never give up, no matter what challenges we may face”, and Steph promised “to walk beside you and love you unconditionally for as long as we both shall live”, they danced the night away to the amazing talents of Matt Jeffries Entertainment.

Matt had the dance floor rocking all night and the guests couldn’t have been happier!

Part of the celebrations included a traditional Kagami Biraki – the opening of the wine barrel. It was great fun for all – although I’m a bit worried about how much Virginia (MOB) got into it!! Check out the photo – no prizes for guessing which one is Virginia!!!

All in all a really fabulous cross-cultural wedding!