Japanese Wedding Traditions Japanese are very meticulous when it concerns traditions and customs. Although contemporary Japanese couples incline to the European wedding ceremonies, traditional beginning is always followed. The first stage includes religious ceremony that can be Buddhist, Christian or Shinto one. Shinto ceremony is historical and thus the most widespread. As a rule, Shinto ceremonies are conducted in shrines (Shinto temples). This ceremony is considered to be very intimate and secret, so only close relatives attend it. The exception is made for the matchmaker, who is called “nakoudo”. This is the only representative of non-family members at Shinto ceremony. The bride wears the white kimono called “shiromuku”. Besides, she is painted white from top to toe – to demonstrate her virgin status to the gods. Her headpiece is beautifully embroidered to attract the luck to the future family. Also, the bride wears a white hood as a veil to conceal the “horns of jealousy” aimed at groom’s mother who becomes a head of the family. The groom wears black men’s kimono “montsuki hakama” and later the tuxedo. During ceremony, the bride and the groom change their dresses several times. The most revealing in the traditional ceremony is drinking of sake by both the bride and the groom. Sake is provided in three cups, and the bride and the groom have to make three sips each. After that they are considered to be officially united. The family members present at the ceremony also drink sake to mark the bonding of two families. The fathers as the heads of the families introduce two families to each other.
For the reception party, “kekkon heroen”, the bride changes her white kimono for the red one, which in turn is later changed into the western-type gown. The reception party is more of the western traditions, so there are speeches and solemn atmosphere, friends, relatives, colleagues. Karaoke is very popular at Japanese wedding parties, as well as skits and other entertainments.
As a rule, the wedding ceremony is very costly, and wedding gowns traditionally are very expensive, so the guests usually present the couple with a check in order to help to compensate the enormous expenses for the wedding. Sometimes, invitation cards even indicate the exact amount. After the reception party the newlyweds leave for their honeymoon. Spring and fall are regarded to be the most favorable seasons for Japanese wedding due to good weather. What is unusual about Japanese wedding is that guests are presented with souvenirs called “hikidemono”. It becomes a tradition now that guests choose the gifts from the catalogues.