Jul 10, 2013

Let's Go To a Japanese Wedding!

At Nanao City Hall, we ALTs are lucky to have a very kind and helpful (not to mention fluent-in-English) supervisor named Kaori. Since I use one of the city hall cars to drive to work, I get to see Kaori everyday and talk to her. One day she asked me if I would like to come to her wedding reception. I was surprised and excited I'd get the chance to see this aspect of Japanese culture first-hand!

On her wedding day, Kaori wore four, count 'em four, dresses. First she and her husband were wed at the 山王神社 shrine. She wore a traditional white kimono and painted red lips. Then it was time to legalize the paperwork. For this, she wore a western-style white dress. Next was the wedding reception of close family and friends, where Kaori wore a red flower-print kimono.

Kaori, in her red flower-print kimono, with her father.

Last, but not least, was the nijikai, or "second party." This is where more extended circles of friends attended, including myself. For this event, Kaori wore a gold dress with body shimmer. For each dress she also wore a different hairstyle. It all sounds so exhausting!
Mr. and Mrs. entering the second wedding reception.

I attended the second reception at a top onsen resort in Wakura (so did Wakutama-kun). It was very different from the west in its presentation. The bride and groom entered off a second-story platform that lowered them down onto the main floor. An announcer, presumably an employee of the hotel, announced them like a TV game show host. He proceeded to narrate the events of the entire night.
"And we'll be right back after these messages!"

Once the bride and groom took their seats at the elevated head table, their work was done. The rest of the night was dedicated to guests oogling and taking pictures with them, complete with peace-sign extended fingers.

Instead of gifts, guests bring the newlyweds money in special envelopes. For the reception, all guests had Asahi, Japan's signature extra dry beer, and drinking snacks. The dress code was pretty relaxed as well; seated around one table may be formally suited civil servants, and the next dekayama festival guys in sandals and long shorts, drinking beer with gusto.

Overall it was a great experience, and we are all so happy for the bride and groom! Omedetou - congratulations!


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