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Can non Japanese have a Japanese wedding?


Japanese weddings are unique, beautiful, and steeped in tradition. It’s no wonder that non-Japanese couples might want to embrace this culture and have a Japanese wedding themselves. But is it possible for non-Japanese couples to have a Japanese wedding? In this article, we will explore the answer to this question.

Understanding Japanese Weddings

Before we can answer the question of whether non-Japanese couples can have a Japanese wedding, we need to understand what a Japanese wedding entails. A traditional Japanese wedding involves several ceremonies, including the engagement ceremony, the exchange of nuptial cups, the wedding ceremony itself, and the after-party. Each ceremony has its own unique customs and traditions.

Japanese Snack Box

Legal Requirements

In Japan, there are legal requirements that must be met before a couple can get married. These requirements include age restrictions, nationality requirements, and paperwork that must be completed. Non-Japanese couples will need to fulfil these requirements before they can have a legally recognised wedding in Japan.

Language Barriers

One of the main challenges that non-Japanese couples may face when trying to have a Japanese wedding is the language barrier. Many of the ceremonies and customs involved in a Japanese wedding are conducted in Japanese. However, it is possible to find bilingual wedding planners and officiants who can help with translation.

Cultural Appropriation

Non-Japanese couples who wish to have a Japanese wedding must be careful not to engage in cultural appropriation. This means that they should respect and honour Japanese culture rather than treating it as a costume or gimmick. It’s important to do research and work with professionals who understand and appreciate Japanese traditions.

Budget Considerations

Having a Japanese wedding can be expensive, especially if non-Japanese couples want to incorporate all of the traditional ceremonies and customs. It’s important to budget accordingly and be prepared for the costs involved.

Ceremony Locations

Non-Japanese couples who want to have a Japanese wedding will need to find a suitable location. This could be a traditional Japanese venue, such as a shrine or temple, or a modern venue that can accommodate Japanese customs and ceremonies.

Clothing and Attire

Traditional Japanese weddings involve specific clothing and attire. The bride wears a white kimono, while the groom wears a black kimono or a Western-style suit. Non-Japanese couples will need to find appropriate clothing and accessories that fit with these customs.

Food and Drink

Japanese weddings feature traditional food and drink, including sake, sushi, and red bean paste desserts. Non-Japanese couples may choose to incorporate these foods into their wedding menu, or they may opt for more familiar dishes.

Customs and Ceremonies

Non-Japanese couples who want to have a Japanese wedding will need to research and understand the various customs and ceremonies involved. These include the exchange of nuptial cups, the reading of vows, and the after-party activities.

Working with Professionals

To ensure that their Japanese wedding is respectful, authentic, and successful, non-Japanese couples should work with experienced professionals who understand Japanese traditions. This includes wedding planners, officiants, and vendors who can provide appropriate clothing, food, and decor.


In conclusion, non-Japanese couples can have a Japanese wedding if they are willing to put in the time, effort, and resources required. It’s important to respect Japanese culture and traditions and work with professionals who understand and appreciate them. With careful planning and preparation, non-Japanese couples can have a beautiful and memorable Japanese wedding that honours this rich cultural heritage.

Can foreigners have a Japanese wedding?

If you are an American planning to get married in Japan, you must first prepare a sworn Affidavit of Competency to Marry stating that you are legally eligible to marry. This document must be obtained from your country’s embassy or consulate in Japan and is considered a notarial service. To obtain this document, you will need to schedule an appointment.

Can U.S. citizens get married in Japan?

Getting married in Japan as an American is a simple and straightforward process that can usually be completed in one day with proper preparation. Military personnel may have extra steps to take and should consult with their unit personnel officer or chain of command.

Can foreigners have a Shinto wedding?

Regardless of your nationality, it is possible to have a traditional Shinto wedding ceremony to celebrate your marriage.

Does marrying a Japanese give you residency?

Foreign individuals who have married Japanese citizens and are not employed are still eligible for naturalization, regardless of their income. This means that even if someone becomes a full-time homemaker after marrying a Japanese citizen, they can still apply for naturalization.

What happens if a foreigner marries a Japanese citizen?

Under the Nationality Law, Japanese individuals who marry foreigners do not automatically lose their Japanese nationality. If a Japanese woman marries a foreigner, she may be able to obtain the nationality of her husband’s country, depending on that country’s laws.

What happens if I marry a Japanese?

To live in Japan with a Japanese spouse, you will need a Spouse or Child of a Japanese National visa. It is essential that your marriage is legally recognized in Japan, which requires registering your marriage at a local government office and obtaining acceptance.


While it’s important to respect Japanese traditions, non-Japanese couples can also incorporate their own personal touches into their wedding. This could include incorporating their own cultural traditions or adding unique elements that reflect their personalities and relationship. By working with experienced professionals, non-Japanese couples can find ways to personalize their Japanese wedding while still honouring the traditional customs.

Guests and Etiquette

Non-Japanese couples who have a Japanese wedding will need to consider the etiquette and expectations of their guests. For example, it’s customary for guests to bring monetary gifts in special envelopes called “shugi-bukuro”. Non-Japanese couples may also need to provide translation or guidance for their guests who may not be familiar with Japanese customs.

Logistics and Planning

Planning a Japanese wedding can be complex, especially for non-Japanese couples who may not be familiar with the logistics involved. It’s important to work with experienced professionals who can help with planning and coordination, including arranging transportation, accommodations, and logistics for the various ceremonies.

Legal Recognition

Non-Japanese couples should also keep in mind that even if they have a traditional Japanese wedding, it may not be legally recognized in their home country. It’s important to research the legal requirements for marriage in their home country and ensure that they meet those requirements before or after their Japanese wedding.

Memories and Souvenirs

Finally, non-Japanese couples may want to consider ways to preserve the memories of their Japanese wedding. This could include hiring a professional photographer or videographer to capture the event or creating special souvenirs for themselves and their guests. By investing in memories and souvenirs, non-Japanese couples can ensure that their Japanese wedding is a cherished and unforgettable experience.

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