A Japanese Wedding

You can’t help feeling mesmerized by the simple grace and attention to detail in Japanese traditions.  Just watching a traditional tea ceremony – a ceremony so intricate down to the exact movement of every finger – brings me such awe.  That’s why I just had to share a Japanese wedding with you today as we jump around the world each Friday with our collection of international weddings.

Martin and I are patiently awaiting the announcements of two dear Japanese women I met in high school and college so we can rush over to Japan to celebrate their big days.  (Of course, we’re also patiently waiting on a big lottery win to pay for airline tickets, too – so no rush, ladies!)

Like with many aspects of Japanese culture, many couples are choosing to have more Western-styled weddings with the black tuxes and long white dresses.  Not everyone, though.  Just look at these traditional wedding shots:

traditional japanese wedding ceremony

When I was in high school, I had the rare opportunity to go to Japan as an exchange student.  My host mom told me how sad their family was because one of her husband’s assistants was going to be leaving soon.  Being young and unworldly, I thought the girl was merely getting a job somewhere else.  So when I asked why, my host mom simply said, “She’s getting married.”

When Japanese women get married, they traditionally give up their careers and work hard to provide their husbands with comfortable homes and support.  It isn’t always the case, of course.  My other good friend is expected to take over the family business because she has no brothers.

japanese bride

Here you can see the wedding procession (and tourists in the back!).  The young bride holds hands with her mother who is dressed in a traditional kimono.

japanese wedding ceremony

A lot of couples marry in the spring or fall.  They pick a Shinto, Christian, Buddhist, or non-religious style wedding – a decision that doesn’t necessarily match their own religion.  Much like in other countries, non-christian couples often marry in chapels and other such variations.

It’s pretty common for the wedding ceremony to include only close family and friends.  It’s the celebration afterward when the crowds pour in.  The traditional gift is money – nice, crisp bills without any creases.  And so true to Japanese style, the envelopes are all breathtaking and beautiful like this one:

japanese wedding gift

The couple exchanges rings.  Everyone eats cake.  And of course like so many of Japan’s customs, detailed rituals lace the event (like drinking sake).  The couple sits higher than everyone as guests perform skits, sing congratulatory songs, and praise the couple.  It’s actually pretty common for both the bride and groom to change their outfits several times during the celebration.  Just take a look at this Japanese woman and her Australian husband:

traditional japanese wedding

japanese wedding dress

So what do you say?  Want to start grabbing a few lottery tickets with us in hopes of crashing one of these amazing weddings?

Peek into all the international weddings our friends and family have shared on Making This Home (from Vienna to Romania) on the International Wedding Page.  Of course it includes our wedding, too!

(Images Flickr , goJapan, & Flickr)