Traditional Japanese Weddings

Traditional Japanese weddings take place in a Shinto shrine. The main religion of the Japanese people is Shinto, which means the way of Kami (God).  Traditional Shinto wedding ceremonies are attended by only the couple’s closest friends and relatives. They are very intimate events. The bride’s wedding dress is a traditional white kimono called a shiro-maku. These two words mean “white” and “nature”. Her hair is adorned with accessories and ornaments. The groom also wears a traditional kimono as well as pleated hakama pants. These are worn underneath a short overcoat adorned with his family crest.

A Shinto priest conducts the first ceremony. The bride and groom will ask for their mind, body, and soul to be purified. Afterwards, they will exchange vows and commit themselves to one another. They will then eat cake and drink sake. At every traditional wedding, the couple will drink nine cups of sake. This is a symbolic way for them to embrace their unity. Their friends and relatives also drink sake.

After the ceremony, they will welcome all their guests at the reception party. Anywhere from twenty to two hundred guests show up at the party, most of whom are friends, relatives, and associates of the couple. Guests will contribute to the wedding ceremony by singing, dancing, and making speeches for the bride and groom. Traditional Japanese music will be played.

The couple will change their clothes many times throughout the celebration. The bride will change into a pretty red kimono at least once. Modern brides may even change into western style dresses. At the end of the party, the bride and groom will both make thank you speeches for the guests.

Over the last few decades there has been an increase of Japanese couples introducing Western customs into their weddings. Many brides will now wear white, Western-style dresses rather than kimonos. Some modern Japanese weddings even take place at Christian churches rather than a Shinto shrine—even if the families aren’t Christians. The cake cutting ritual is common in Japanese weddings now as well.

There have also been a large number of Japanese couples choosing to have their weddings abroad. The reason for having wedding ceremonies outside of their country is to reduce the number of guests, which will, in turn, save their families a lot of money.

Sometimes traditional and modern elements are both mixed into a Japanese wedding. It is quite common for the shrine to be located inside a hotel. A Shinto priest will conduct the ceremony inside the same hotel in which the reception will take place. Still, only the closest family members and friends of the couple will be invited inside the hotel’s shrine. The reception will take place in a larger room.

Japanese wedding ceremonies are very classy. Whether they’re conducted in a traditional style, modern style, or a mixture of both Japanese weddings are amazing events. If you’re ever invited to a Japanese wedding, you need to attend the reception. The music and dancing can be very fascinating. They are truly memorable events.

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2 Responses to Traditional Japanese Weddings

  1. Pingback: The Wedding Times » Traditional Japanese Weddings

  2. Derek says:

    The bride’s wedding dress is a traditional white kimono called a “shiro-moku”, not a “shiro-maku”

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