IMR: Events: The Reception

[ Jen and I ]On Saturday, April 4, 1998, Jen and I (through the generosity of my parents) hosted sixty of our closest friends and family members at a belated wedding reception in the Pagoda Hotel East International Ballroom.

Since it came several months after our wedding -- scheduled to coincide with a planned visit by Jen's parents -- it was more of an all-around reunion-type gathering than anything ceremonial.

Although Jen's parents ultimately could not come, it was still a wonderful evening.

It was the first time in years I saw people from both sides of my family in the same room, and old friends and colleagues from my days at Ka Leo were also there. It was also the first time many of them met our daughter, Katie.

Although the date was set well in advance, serious planning didn't begin until two weeks prior. Despite the short notice, we were able to arrange for a buffet at the hotel and get the word out just in time. Nearly everyone we invited was able to attend.

Mom's Side: Grandma Henderson, mom, Todd and his girlfriend Heidi; Uncle Al, aunty marge, uncle Jack, cousin Diana and cousin Jennifer (Noelani) Kayatani; cousin Jennifer, husband Daryl and son Trevor Harada; aunty Lynn and daughter Cristen Clark; and uncle Howard, aunty Tomiko, aunty Martha and Mr. and Mrs. Katsuhiro Ishii.

Dad's Side: Grandma Ozawa, grandma Hatae, dad and Gayle; Uncle Gordon, aunty Jane and uncle Leslie Ozawa; uncle Paul and cousins Romy and Chad Hatae; cousin Donna Ozawa; cousin Mark Ozawa and wife Leilani Fortuno; and cousin Debra and husband Rocky Finseth.

Special Guests: William, Nate and Jaimee, Kim, Christy, Donica, Jason, Mio, Veronica, Michelle, Ruth, Jenny, Josh, Robin, Greg and Marlene (Ka Leo colleagues); Gracie and niece Felicia Manzano, Erin and husband Fred Sanidad (Jen's coworkers); Eric Fong and Kory Kado (my coworkers); and Keith Higaki (mom's friend).

William, the good sport that he is, revisited his role as Best Man and gave a short speech. I did as well, even though I lost my notes minutes before and had to wing it in the end.

Of course, I found them in my pocket at the end of the day:

"It was four years ago this week that Jen and I succumbed to the proclaimations of our friends and decided that yes, we were indeed a couple. Perhaps a month later, she playfully asked -- as young lovers often do -- what we'd name our child should we one day marry and have one together. 'Katherine,' I said.

Yet, even one year ago, I never imagined I'd be here today. In these last few months, we have faced more challenges than ever, and yet discovered whole new worlds of joy I never knew existed.

I've held many titles in my life. Student, journalism tot, writer, editor... but I can now say that without a doubt, the ones that bring me the most pride and inspiration will never appear on a business card: husband and father.

Now that I am here, I can't imagine being anywhere else.

There's no better time for me to rediscover myself, to succumb to my inner student, to get back on the Dean's List and -- this is for you, dad -- plan realistically for graduation.

There's no better time for Jen and I to be joined in marriage, for us to realize how right we are together, and for me to discover I like being a family man.

There's no better time for Katie -- our daughter, Myra and Walter's granddaughter, Irene and Hanako's great-granddaughter -- to come into this world, and to bring meaning to my life.

And there's no better time to see you all here, for you to join us in celebrating this wonderful life. For us to thank you, from depths in our hearts we've only now discovered, for showing us that even when it seems the whole universe is changing, some things will always be: the bond between friends, and the love among family."

Further Exploration:

Preparation for the reception began in earnest in late March. An entry describing the special day in some detail was written a few days later.


© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 7 April 1998 · Last Modified: 7 April 1998