Nowadays, Western-style ceremonies have become a popular choice for couples in Japan. A Western-style ceremony consists of a stereotypical chapel wedding with a priest or minister officiating the wedding. While this practice does not necessarily violate any law in Japan, it does, however, overlook the fact that traditional Japanese wedding practices are often neglected due to these common Western-style weddings. Questions? Email us!
People fail to see that with the will and a little effort, Japanese traditional wedding practices and modern weddings can still intertwine and complement each other to create a more meaningful yet contemporary Japanese wedding.
Embodying Japanese Elements and Tradition in a Contemporary Wedding
1. The Shrine
A traditional Japanese wedding is usually held in shrines or “Shinto.” To maintain tradition while still embracing modern times, couples, depending on the venue for the reception, may choose to do their weddings in shrines located in the hotel where the reception will be. In this manner, they follow traditional Japanese culture, but the right person also officiates them for their religion – the Shinto priest.
Some even opt to incorporate two simultaneous wedding ceremonies to be in line with the popularity of Western-style weddings. The Shinto and Christian weddings can be held simultaneously, with both the priest and minister officiating the Japanese wedding.
2. The Clothing
Typically, a Japanese wedding would be held with everyone, including the guests, wearing kimonos as proper attire for this event. The bride even wears a symbolic white kimono and headdress, which embodies purity. You can still incorporate this white wedding ensemble in today’s modern western-inspired bridal dresses because while the dress or clothing is different, it still embodies the traditional Japanese symbolism of gentle purity. With a little tweak, a wedding dress can remain as conservative as traditional wedding kimonos.
3. The Guests
In Shinto ceremonies, the guest list is typically limited. They are usually only composed of very close friends and family members of the bride and groom. This element is a great idea to incorporate in a contemporary Japanese wedding because it holds the significance of solemnity and a very intimate gathering of close friends and family in a momentous event.
After the wedding, a big reception or wedding celebration can be held by the couple, where all of their loved ones can join them and celebrate this holy matrimony. This maintains a level of solemnity during the wedding while still incorporating the aspects of the big and joyous occasion.
4. The Wedding Gifts
Western cultures in modern weddings nowadays involve registering the gifts they need in stores and supermarkets to tell guests what gifts they want to receive. However, sticking to the Japanese culture of receiving cash as gifts is a great cultural practice. Receiving cash is an excellent idea for a wedding because it enables the groom and bride to think more about their spending priorities to strengthen their relationship as husband and wife.
5. The Wedding Receptions
Traditional Japanese weddings involve a grand reception where the bride and groom enjoy their wedding feast through their guests’ performances and speeches. Therefore, this is similar to western cultures and can be easily retained if you intend to have a modern Japanese wedding. In this modern take on traditional Japanese weddings, the bride and groom can opt to create their own activities and choose certain guests as the corresponding speakers and performers for their wedding.
6. The Wedding Gifts
Traditionally, the bride and groom are required to give out party favors or “hikidemono” as parting gifts to those who attended their wedding. Due to the variety of options that we have now, the newlyweds can even go with traditional fancy silverware. Or be more creative by giving out something beneficial for their guests to remember them by.
Japanese traditions are very sacred and important. It is a culture worth cherishing and protecting. With creativity and the right ideas, Japanese wedding traditions can be molded and crafted to complement the essence of Japanese tradition in modern weddings.