Destination Elopement in Kyoto | Japan Elopement Photographers


Bride and groom kiss in the rain under umbrellas during Kyoto, Japan elopement

The Couple and Their Decision to Plan an Elopement in Japan

No matter how much I’ve learned in life, there are moments when I don’t know if the next step is the right one.

There are days I feel uncertain. There are days I feel small and insignificant like nothing matters yet somehow they all matter at the same time.

Whatever you may call it: fear of the unknown, anxiety, imposter syndrome…Whatever it is, it is a force from within and this force has the power to drain every ounce of one’s self-worth when it comes along.

When Lisa and Travis inquired about their elopement in Japan, all of us were quite uncertain of what was next because Japan wasn’t yet open to international tourists.

We took a chance. Or, in a more accurate description, Lisa and Travis took a chance on me. They took a chance on whatever life had in store for us and decided to continue planning their elopement in Japan despite the unknowns.

Not gonna lie, there were times when all of us felt so uncertain we didn’t know if Japan would happen for us.

Thankfully, the stars aligned, and with lots of planning and coordination, we were finally able to all travel to this incredible country for their destination elopement!

This international elopement in Japan is now featured on Green Wedding Shoes

From Adventure Photos Before the Ceremony to Multiple Wedding Dresses and a Beach Elopement Ceremony, This Is How To Elope In Japan Adventurously

For their Japan elopement, the three of us decided to flip the traditional elopement timeline and create something completely unique!

To ease the couple into the day, I met up with Lisa and Travis on the morning of their elopement to document some photos for them in a remote village in Japan. It drizzled and the air outside was crisp. It was a different Japan than what we all had seen and expected, but it was beautiful nonetheless.

These slow morning moments are some of my absolute favorites! Even though they may not be the WOW photos that often get a lot of attention, they are some of the most powerful ones and ones that I wholeheartedly love.

We then headed to a nearby temple for their first look and some adventure portraits. One of the things I absolutely love documenting is finding elements that are meaningful to each couple. So the day before their elopement, I found a temple and asked for permission to photograph. We implemented some cultural aspects into the day and I absolutely loveeeee how they turned out!

At sunset, we all headed down to the beach for their Japan elopement ceremony and celebrations with family. Lisa and Travis exchanged their vows with their parents as witnesses and afterward, everyone enjoyed celebratory sake shots!

Lisa and Travis, THANK YOU! Thank you for trusting in me, for being patient with me, and for allowing me to document your love. I really am grateful for you both and I can’t wait to see you guys again soon

– Henry

I picked Henry because he put less emphasis on “fashionable” and instead, focused on real people being their real selves with each other, and capturing that in an authentic way.

When we were looking for a photographer, my biggest concern was that we would be too awkward for our love to translate to photos. My partner feels uncomfortable hugging or holding hands in public, it only worsens if you point a camera at us. Top photographers’ websites had beautiful, model proportioned, twenty year old couples in natural poses with captions like “for the most discerning and fashionable couples.” Were we discerning or fashionable enough? We don’t look like that. How do I pose, where do my hands go and what do I do with my face? I didn’t feel prepared. I picked Henry because he put less emphasis on “fashionable” and instead, focused on real people being their real selves with each other, and capturing that in an authentic way.

Henry helped us feel so comfortable during our wedding day. We were jittery and nervous, but he gave us tips to help us relax and interact naturally in front of the camera.

He really brought a great creative energy to the day where it felt like nothing could go wrong because he could make amazing images from any situation. For example: it rained in the morning, and that was perfect because he had an incredible idea for it; it was crazy windy and the waves were ridiculous for the ceremony, but that made for dramatic drone photos and the light was great for what he wanted; our cab driver in Kyoto only spoke Japanese and wanted to leave, but Henry somehow convinced him to stay to backlight our photos on a charming street because “it will totally be worth it.” I have only seen sneaks of our shoot, and it totally was worth it, they’re unreal. The whole time, he switched lenses and messed with settings on his camera. It takes a very skilled and confident photographer to be able see the creative opportunities in a chaotic, uncontrolled environment, and embrace spontaneity. He was so adept at adapting to unknowns.

When we decided to elope in Japan, they had some of the strictest entry requirements: visas, proof of vaccination, and a registered tour guide. Henry gave us the option to postpone our elopement at no charge until requirements were relaxed. You can trust that even though you sign a contract with him, he will treat you reasonably and fairly, which was comforting especially with the changing Covid scene.

Henry does his homework. When we still went forward with our plan for Japan, he did all the paperwork to enter, and scouted out the photoshoot sites in advance. When a site had fewer than anticipated photo opportunities, he approached a beautiful temple close by to get permission to take additional photos there. It’s important to me to work with a photographer that I can trust to respect places of worship in another country and ask in advance for permission to take photos or use a drone.

My only advice is to plan early and in advance with him. When Henry is travelling for a different wedding, he may not be as responsive. That also means that when it’s your elopement day, he will give you 100 percent of his attention. He won’t juggle your day and emails.

I had very high expectations for my wedding experience and photos. My wedding day exceeded all my expectations and it will always be a very special memory. A photographer can make or break that day, especially if you’re travelling with them to another country and if there are a lot of variables and expectations. Henry was a big part of making that day wonderful. He’s funny when you’re nervous and a calming presence, he’s also a skilled photographer that will climb windows and do what it takes to get the perfect shot for you. We really loved our experience with him.
Lisa & Travis
Elopement in Japan

Meet the couple & the best Japan Elopement Photographer everrrr!!! 🙂😘


Meet The Best Japan Elopement Vendors:

Photographer: Henry Tieu Photography (aka Henry)

Planner: 80 Days Japan

Elopement Dresses: Monique Huillier and Galia Lahav

Bride’s Shoes: Yosuke


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