Japanese Wedding Traditions

Sake Ceremony

Known as one of the oldest Japanese Wedding Traditions, san-san-kudo, or the sharing of sake, is still performed today. This custom is the heart of a Japanese wedding ceremony and takes the place of vows. The groom, then the bride, takes three sips of sake from three different sake cups. They then offer the sake to the families: first the groom’s father, then his mother, the bride’s father, then her mother. This beautiful gesture represents a new family bond and demonstrates respect for the parents. For a Western or Buddhist ceremony, the sake ritual happens at the reception. Check out our san-san-kudo sake sets.

San San Kudo

Wedding Attire

In Japanese Wedding Traditions, brides may wear a colorful silk kimono or a shiromuku, a formal gown passed down over the ages and still used today as traditional bridal dresses. Some Japanese brides even choose to wear a modern wedding gown. In Japan, white symbolizes purity, elegance, and a “new beginning.” Only very traditional Japanese brides don white face makeup, painted red lips, and a wig with expensive combs and decorative ornaments. After the wedding, the bride will change into the irouchiakake, a beautiful silk kimono with red, gold, silver, and white colors. This kimono usually features a crane, which symbolizes a long life. Near the reception end, the bride changes into the furisode, a kimono with wide sleeves worn by an unmarried woman. Shop for traditional Japanese Bride Dolls. Still, have questions? Send us an email!


The Kekkon Hiroen, or wedding reception, is formal. Consequently, reception attire is also formal. Women guests attending the wedding may choose to wear kimonos. Particularly The style and scale of wedding receptions vary depending on the regions in Japan. Traditional Japanese brides and grooms partake in a ritual that consists of lighting a candle at every guest’s table to share their warmth and light symbolically. The Japanese music at the wedding traditions can vary. Traditionally, stringed instruments called Samisen and Japanese drums will provide the music for the reception. Wedding guests are highly respected in Japan. Consequently, it is not uncommon for the bride and groom to spend $50 or more per guest on hikidemono or parting gifts. Are you looking for favors or reception decorations? View our selection here.


Guests attending a Japanese Wedding reception are expected to bring Oshugi, a cash gift. Sometimes, the amount is specified on the invitation. Typically the amount depends on the guest’s relationship with the couple. The gift is presented in a decorative envelope called Shugi-bukuro

Japanese Money Envelope, Shugi Bukuro

1,000 Paper Cranes

According to Japanese legend, cranes are thought to live a long life and are therefore a symbol of such. The construction of 1,000 paper origami cranes for a wedding symbolized good fortune, fidelity, and longevity. Looking for origami paper? View our selection here!

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