Despite the Tsuyu, June is a popular month for weddings in Japan. You may have even heard the term ‘June Bride’ thrown around. Supposedly a movie made in the late forties called ‘The June Bride’ started the trend.
But what are weddings like in Japan? And how can you go about attending one without embarrassing yourself?
Japanese traditional (Shinto) or Western Style(White)
Being invited to a traditional Shinto wedding, would in most cases, mean that you are a close friend of the couple. Traditionally only a small group of family members takes part in the elaborate ceremony.
The public celebration is for the wider family circle, friends and acquaintances. The event usually takes place at a hotel or some other adequate venue. This part is not too different from a formal western-style after-party.
White or western style weddings are close to what wedding ceremonies in Europe or the States look like. Apart from, the priest is usually just some guy cosplaying. And the altar and everything resembling the inside of a church is a stage prop.
After the ceremony, there is usually an after-party with games, music, cake cutting, dancing and all the like.
What to prepare for a Japanese wedding?
Should you receive a written wedding invitation, make sure to send a reply. There are several words you should not use in the letter because of superstitious reasons.
It is best to keep it brief, for example: ‘Congratulations! I will come!’.
If you go alone from thirty up to fifty thousand. And If you go as a pair, double that.
Of course, these are the recommended amounts. If you are also known as ‘Moneybags’, the sky’s the limit.
There are special envelopes for wedding money gifts. Designs of the envelope correspond to the sum inside- more money flashier envelopes.
Thank you letter
In the thank you letter you compliment the newlyweds and wish them all the best.
What to wear?
It depends on the style and theme of the wedding. It helps if you can check with the organizers/planners.
Conservative colours. Windsor or Balthus knots with waistcoats under the jacket for gentlemen. Covered knees and shoulders with not too aggressive heels for the ladies seem to be the standard.
If you have to wear a kimono, make sure you know how/have the right one.
Like with many other formal social events, common sense and blending in help. If it is your first time being at a wedding, a good rule is to always remind yourself whose special day it is.