The Japanese Wedding

The preparation - attending a wedding in Japan is no easy feat. The financial part itself is enough to make some people run for cover! If you attend a Japanese wedding, you are expected to give a cash gift. For friends of the bride and groom, that amount is usually set at 30,000yen, and for family and senior employees at the groom`s company, the amount is much higher (50,000yen or more).

When giving the money to the couple, it must be inside a special envelope (a shugi-bukuro = 祝儀袋) - pictured below... with your name written on the front using a black felt tip / calligraphy pen. The notes inside must be brand new, which indicates that you have prepared well for this wedding.

The reasons behind all of these things (the numbers 30,000yen, 50,000yen etc, the new bills) are all superstitious. It is difficult for 2 people to evenly separate 3 x 10,000yen bills, so it is good luck for a new couple.

It is also important to dress conservatively. Many female guests wear kimono, and others choose pastel colored or black dresses. All the men wore formal black suits (jackets on at all times). High-heeled shoes and stockings are the norm for women too, no crazy toe-nail polish on display. These rules are especially important if the wedding is being held in a shrine, but the wedding I attended was in a Wedding Chapel, and some girls wore strapless dresses.

The couple - my gorgeous friend A-ちゃん and her cute new hubby T-くん.

The bride and broom change costumes a couple of times during the wedding reception. The bride wears a wedding kimono or a western style wedding dress, followed by a colorful dress. The groom wears a men's montsuki hakama or a tuxedo. During the reception, the married couple sits on a stage at the front of the reception hall enjoying the guests' speeches and performances. Some guests are asked to do something at the reception. Many people (like my friends Higashi and Naoki) sing their favorite songs.

At this wedding, Naoki and Higashi sang `Eien ni Tomo ni` by Kobukuro - a famous Japanese group. It is a beautiful song, but a little ironic at this event... let me explain why briefly.
In 2007, a famous (and very attractive) Japanese celebrity named Norika Fujiwara wed her boyfriend Tomonori Jinnai.

It was a huge, well-publicised event here in Japan and her groom surprised her by singing the above mentioned song (`Eien ni Tomo ni`). Unfortunately, Norika and Tomonori announced their divorce the day before the wedding I attended... I hope it was not a bad omen.

The couple cut a large wedding cake and walk around the room, lighting the candles at each table and greeting guests.

At the wedding reception, souvenirs called hikidemono are prepared in a bag for guests to take home. They are often tableware, sweets, interior items, and so on. In recent years, gift catalogs from which guests can choose gifts are popular as hikidemono...

The guests - me (far right) and some of my great friends...

The location - the lovely St Bath wedding chapel in Shinsaibashi...

The food - so delicious and well-presented (all 5 courses of it!)...

Gorgeous day and luckily, great weather too!
おめでとうございます= congrats to the happy couple!


  1. Hey, sorry for the abrupt question, but I was wondering if you could tell me what that kanji on the shugi bukuro is? I've been invited to my first Japanese wedding, and need to get one of those envelopes!

    1. They have these envelopes in lots of shops (even the 100yen shop!!). Here is a helpful guide for using them...

    2. Got one, thanks!!


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