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a love story.


Stylish Marquee Outdoor Wedding The House Meadow Kent England UK | JOIE TAKAKI PHOTOGRAPHY | Artistic Destination Wedding Photographer

I have a secret to share …

(And this isn’t a typical love story) …

When I was a little girl, I had a secret treasure chest hidden under my bed.

I found a big sturdy box and filled it with all things romantic. Love letters. Love stories. Love games. Love tips and tools. And a handful of pretty dresses I hoped to wear on a date some day. In my mind, I felt that life was so much better with romance and love in it. In my mind, this was the epitome of the kind of relationship I wanted. In my mind, I wanted this so badly. Simultaneously, in my mind, this was just a fantasy. It’s not real. This kind of romance? It was just for the movies. Or if it is real, it’s short lived. It won’t last. But in the privacy of my own thoughts, I could daydream about this, couldn’t I?

Years and years later, when Mark proposed to me, I can honestly say I was that rare girl who didn’t have a single romanticized vision of marriage. Marriage was hard work. Marriage was compromise. Marriage was responsibilities. Marriage was going to be a tough battlefield. And I straight out told him all of this. (Yeah, can’t believe anyone would want to walk into a marriage with someone like that! But it wasn’t an attitude. It was simply reality to me, because it was all that I knew. It was all that I saw around me.) A romantic happy marriage with an ending that’s happily-ever-after? “Don’t be a fool. That’s just Hollywood.”, I kept reminding myself.

But a girl can dream, can’t she?

And dream I did.

That box? It’s still in my parent’s house, in the basement with all my other boxes, untouched, ever since I moved away.

By the time I was in university, I was less allured by romance, and far more fascinated with love

Romance is the stuff you see. The flowers, the fancy dinners, the opening of doors, the gifts, the grand gestures, the big dreams he promises, the things he says.

Romance seemed more for show.

Romance seemed … temporary.

Love is the stuff you feel. You don’t necessarily see it, but you know it’s there. It’s the sparkle in his eyes at the first sight of you. It’s the way his fingers tremble when he takes your hand. It’s his sudden quietness and the tears he chokes back when you both part. It’s the sacrifices he makes for you without ever telling you he’s doing it for you. It’s what he does.

Love reveals the truth.

Love is silent, but it speaks volumes.

And love … seemed to linger …

So I never stopped thinking about love. I looked for it everywhere. By now, I was no longer looking for someone to love. Instead, I became more curious and smitten with how people responded or connected while they were in love with someone, or while they were in love with doing something.

Then, without realising it, something interesting happened.

I think because I thought about love so much, and paid so much attention to it all around me, what started out as a fantasy for romantic love, this fascination somehow transcended into other aspects of my life. This notion of love started to seep into all the other areas of my daily living.

It was no longer a love for romantic love.

It became a love for life, a love for well-being, a love for others, a love for oneself. It was romantic love, extended.

And then something else happened that was a remarkable point in my life.

I discovered that I was completely wrong about marriage.

Ten years after our wedding day, I look back on my journey with Mark, and I cannot really fully comprehend our story. Yes, there were endless struggles, and loads of responsibilities, and never-ending compromises, and mega challenges, and a boatload of tears. I was right about that. But what surprised me the most, what really baffles me, was that LOVE LASTS. That over time, over years and years of tirelessly battling obstacles together, my own marriage proved to me that marriages can SUSTAIN ROMANCE and experience MORE LOVE with each challenge and each year that passes!

If I were to tell my younger-self this discovery, my younger-self would shake my current-self silly and tell her that she’s delirious.

So now? Now, I no longer just believe in the power of love. I live it.

The saying is this: “Laughter is the best medicine.”

I say to that: “Actually, LOVE is the best medicine.”

Laughter helps you cope. It makes you feel better, momentarily.

But love?

Love cures you.

Love fixes you.

Love changes your life.

I believe the best way to change ourselves, and change our lives, and even change the world, is through love.

And I want to share and show you a love like that!

I fill my days with DOSES OF LOVE, and I want to do the same for your’s.

So hello! And welcome! I want to do more than just inspire you with real life romances from weddings around the world. I want to share my musings on what I think is to be the most important thing in life.

When you pop by to visit, please bring an open heart and a nice cup of something soothing; … kick up your feet and take a quick break, or stay awhile … Hopefully your day feels a little brighter from your visit here, so you can pass on the light.

When we spread a little love, we make the world a better place …

With Love,

“Joie de Vivre”

Joie *