A modern Japanese wedding is a beautiful and very elaborate event. It requires a lot of planning in order to incorporate the necessary traditional rituals. But when done properly, it will be an affair that won't be forgotten any time soon. If you're thinking of throwing a traditional Japanese wedding, follow this guide on how to plan one.
Take your wedding date into consideration. Japanese people put a lot of thought into choosing their wedding dates. This is because certain dates are said to bring different kinds of luck. Your older Japanese family members will help you decide on an appropriate date for your wedding ceremony. But in general, you'll need to approach the old Japanese calendar in order to pick your wedding date.
Exchange gifts. Before your Japanese wedding, the bride and the groom also need to exchange yui-no gifts. Traditionally, families of the bride and groom will also do this with gifts that symbolize happiness and good fortune. There are two main gifts that must be given. The groom must give the bride an obi which is a sash worn with the kimono. And the bride must give the groom a hakama skirt for formal occasions (which symbolizes his fertility). Then, select 9 other meaningful gifts to exchange with your partner, ensuring that both families approve of your presents.
Choose a location for your short ceremony. Japanese couples first hold a short ceremony before their wedding, in which only family are present. Traditionally, Shinto shrines have been the chosen location for the short ceremony, but you should be able to find an appropriate place at the same venue where your announcement party will be. Consider it similar to a western-style reception where only your family attends.
Wear the right clothing. You will need to don appropriate Japanese wedding attire. You can rent wedding clothes, buy them, or have them made. (Many prefer to wear wedding clothes that have been passed down through generations in their families.) A Japanese bride will need to wear a colorful kimono for the traditional ceremony along with a large hood, also known as a tsuno kakushi, to cover her hair. Discuss your clothing choices with your family members so that no one will be offended.
After the traditional ceremony, it is acceptable for the bride to change into a traditional western-style white wedding dress. (But a second kimono will work too!)
Drink sake. With your partner, you will then need to drink exactly 9 sips of sake and then set down your cups at the same time. If one of you sets down the cup even a millisecond too soon, the Japanese believe that that person will be the first to die.
Hold an announcement party. After your ceremony, hold an announcement party and invite everyone you know - teachers, friends, bosses and of course family and friends. Each guest should be given a wedding favor for attending.
When you are decorating the location that you're holding your announcement party at, you must incorporate the colors red and white. These are the Japanese colors of happiness, and are seen as symbols of good luck for the newly-wed couple.
The meal should also be over the top. You can choose to serve traditional Japanese food, Chinese food, or even French food. Your guests should be stuffed and the food should be plentiful.
Hold a traditional tea ceremony. At your Japanese wedding, you must also plan a traditional tea ceremony in which you thank your parents and show them how much you honor them.
Cut the cake. And finally, many Japanese couples are throwing a bit of western culture into their traditional Japanese weddings by cutting the cake. Plan to have enough cake to feed everyone one piece at your Japanese wedding.