Initially, Mina Kaneda (who is 4' 8") was a little concerned about the obvious size difference between herself and Leroy Harris (who is 6' 2"). "I was very intimidated," admits Mina. "But Leroy is a big guy with a big heart, and I started feeling safe around him immediately." She also knew rather quickly that he was the one she was meant to marry. "My mother always told me that when you meet that someone, you just know, but I had never believed her," says the bride. "But when I first met Leroy, I felt like I finally understood what my mother was saying." So did he, and four years after their first date, Leroy proposed to Mina during dinner with her parents, which he had arranged at Mina's favorite restaurant.
To honor Mina's Japanese heritage, the bride and groom had to be engaged for at least one year, which was fine by Mina and Leroy - it gave her plenty of time to plan a fantasy wedding comprised of several events over a long weekend. A ladies' spa day and luncheon, a men's golf outing, and a "Cowboy Cool" welcome dinner preceded the traditional Episcopalian ceremony and the reception held at the Four Seasons Resort and Club near Dallas.
In order to turn her fantasy into reality, Mina considered only one man for the job: wedding guru Preston Bailey. "I've always wanted him to design my wedding, so I trusted Preston and his staff completely. The only criteria I gave him was 'Make it pink!'" And think pink, Bailey did. Down to the smallest detail, Mina and Leroy's wedding was created using every imaginable shade of the color - from the palest baby pink to the hottest bright pink. The floral design also incorporated two facets of Mina's cultural background; cherry blossoms to represent her birth country, Japan, and tropical orchids to pay homage to her upbringing in Hawaii. Mina's Vera Wang gown also provided inspiration for the lace motif found on the enormous glass centerpiece vases, which supported a profusion of flowers and hanging strands of crystals.
Three-tiered floral chandeliers hung overhead and Bailey's signature wall decor - floral arrangements resembling paintings - further defined the space as Mina's dream. The wedding cake, designed by Sylvia Weinstock, was a perfect fit, as all but the space featuring the couple's monogram was covered in pink sugared roses and cherry blossoms. The only element that was not done up in pink was the very special (and masculine) groom's cake that Mina had designed for Leroy in his favorite flavor, chocolate. It bore the official seal of the United States Military Academy at West Point, Leroy's alma mater.
But before everyone could savor dessert, guests dined on an Asian-inspired menu that included salad with edamame, lotus root chips, and sweet chili dressing; ginger-scented steamed barramundi with bok choy; and seared beef tenderloin with wasabi-mashed potatoes. They also worked off their meal with the help of a Motown-style band and a DJ - a special request from the groom. And just in case anyone was in danger of leaving the party hungry, each guest received a miniature chocolate wedding cake for the road.
While the decor and details of the reception were unforgettable, Mina looks back most fondly on the ceremony, specifically when the door to the church opened and she saw Leroy standing at the end of the aisle for the first time. She also cherishes the dance she shared with her father to one of their favorite songs, "Stand By Me." "The song reminded me so much of our times together; the memories just came rushing back."
After the wedding, the newlyweds enjoyed an "island hopping" honeymoon to Hawaii, a place both familiar and exciting to the bride. As they approach their first anniversary this fall, Mina and Leroy will have even more reason to celebrate: the couple is expecting their first child in September.