Thursday, May 15, 2008

Japanese Wedding Traditions

When I started planning our wedding, I wanted to take Tai's heritage into account. But I had no idea what traditions are customary in a Japanese wedding. So I turned to the Knot.
Sake Sharing Ceremony The traditional Japanese ceremony is a Shinto ceremony, though many Japanese in America celebrate weddings with a Buddhist ceremony. Regardless of religious rituals, most Japanese also include a cultural sake-sharing tradition at the wedding, popularly called san-san-kudo -- san means "three," ku means "to deliver," and do means "nine." This ritual dates back to a time when sharing sake created a formal bond as strongly as a handshake did in Victorian times. Using three flat sake cups stacked atop one another, the bride and groom take three sips each from the cups. Then their parents also take sips (for a total of nine sips), cementing the bond between the families.

But Tai hates sake. I think he got sick once off it. Needless to say we won't be drinking it on our wedding day.

Gifts for the Guests In Japan, brides spend $30 to $50 on "favors" for their guests. In America, favors are more likely to be small tokens -- a few folded origami cranes (the bird that symbolizes a long, contented married life) or a lace bag of sweet almonds.
We considered making those origami cranes but that was a little too much for us. Considering we don't know how to make origami cranes to begin with. I don't know what sweet almonds are but they remind me of jordan almonds and those won't be making an appearance at our wedding.

SPEECHES Wedding speeches and blessings are very important at Japanese weddings. Family, friends, colleagues, and teachers all stand up at one point or another to wish the couple well. Traditionally, these speeches might be moralistic tales about matrimony's importance; in America, they have evolved into heartfelt messages of love from close friends and family.
Tai really wanted to incorporate this into the ceremony. But we didn't do this. First we felt that this could go on too long. Some people would talk forever. Of course we'll have speeches at the reception.
Sadly none of this was added into our wedding.
When I was searching for Japanese wedding traditions, I found these:Hello Kitty weddings are hugely popular in Japan. Absolutely crazy.
I was telling Dad the other night about sending the invitation to Mickey and Minnie. He asked me what I would do if Mickey and Minnie showed up. I told him I didn't think they would but I did tell him that I could pay to have Hello Kitty show up. He thought that was pretty crazy.


  1. I totally heart Hello Kitty. If I was oh, 12 years younger and Japanese I would soo be having a Hello Kitty wedding!

  2. Wow.. Hello Kitty is such a force to be reckoned with

    I'm linking this in my next round of link love

  3. You might be interested to know that over 70% of Japanese weddings are Western (Christian) style. I live in Japan and I don't really think that the Hello Kitty wedding is all that popular.

    Cozy, 'at home' celebrations are becoming more common these days.

    Take care,


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