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What do you do at a Japanese wedding?


Japanese weddings are steeped in tradition and cultural significance. Attending a wedding in Japan is a unique experience that offers insight into the customs and values of Japanese society. In this article, we will take a detailed look at what happens at a Japanese wedding.

The Invitation

The wedding invitation, or “yūkaku,” is an important part of the process. The invitation will be sent out several weeks before the wedding, and it will indicate the date, time, and location of the ceremony. Additionally, there will be instructions on how to RSVP, which is typically done by mail.

Japanese Snack Box

The Dress Code

The dress code for a Japanese wedding is formal. Men are expected to wear dark suits with white shirts and a tie, while women are encouraged to wear long dresses or a kimono. It’s important to avoid wearing white or black, as these colors are associated with mourning.

The Ceremony

The wedding ceremony itself takes place in a Shinto shrine or a Christian church. The ceremony typically lasts around 30 minutes and involves various rituals and traditions, such as exchanging vows and rings, drinking sake, and offering prayers.

The Reception

After the ceremony, guests move on to the reception. The reception is typically held at a hotel or restaurant and can last for several hours. During this time, guests will enjoy food and drink while socializing with each other.

The Speeches

One of the highlights of the reception is the speeches. The bride and groom will give speeches thanking their guests for attending, while family members may also give speeches. These speeches are often emotional and heartfelt.

The Gift Giving

Gift giving is an important part of Japanese culture, and weddings are no exception. Guests are expected to bring gifts, typically in the form of cash or vouchers. The amount given will depend on the relationship between the guest and the couple.

The Cake Cutting

The cake cutting ceremony is a popular tradition in Western weddings, but it has also become popular in Japan. The couple will cut the cake together while guests take photos.

The First Dance

Another popular Western tradition that has made its way into Japanese weddings is the first dance. The bride and groom will dance together while guests watch.

The Bouquet Toss

The bouquet toss is another tradition that has been adopted from Western weddings. The bride throws her bouquet over her shoulder, and whoever catches it is said to be the next to get married.

The After Party

After the reception, many guests will head to an after party. This is typically a more casual affair where guests can let their hair down and continue celebrating.


Attending a Japanese wedding is an unforgettable experience that offers insight into Japan’s rich cultural heritage. From the traditional ceremony to the gift giving and after party, there are many unique customs and traditions that make Japanese weddings truly special.

How long do Japanese weddings last?

A typical Japanese wedding is a day-long affair that kicks off with a traditional ceremony held at a shrine, where a Shinto priest officiates the event. In some cases, couples opt to get married in a Christian church, with a minister or priest presiding over the ceremony.

How much money do you give at a Japanese wedding?

Usually, the amount of money given by guests depends on their relationship with the bride or groom. Single friends and colleagues tend to give an average of ¥30,000, while bosses may give ¥50,000 or ¥70,000. Married couples usually give ¥50,000, and relatives often give much more.

Do the bride and groom kiss at a Japanese wedding?

In Western weddings, the exchange of vows and a kiss between the bride and groom is a significant part of the ceremony. However, in Japan, kissing is seen as a very personal act and is not typically performed during weddings.

What is a Japanese wedding like?

Currently, the traditional Japanese wedding ceremony is conducted in the Shinto style, with a Shinto priest leading the ceremony at a shrine. This ceremony is typically very formal and intimate, with only the immediate family and a few guests in attendance. The bride wears a white kimono known as shiro-muku during this type of wedding.

What age can a girl get married in Japan?

In Japan, the legal age for marriage is 18 for boys and 16 for girls according to the Japanese Civil Code. If a person is under 20, they must have their parent’s consent to get married. However, starting in 2022, the legal age for marriage for both genders will be 18.

Do Japanese wear wedding rings?

Similar to Western customs, in the past, Japanese individuals also wore wedding rings on their left hand due to the belief that there is a direct vein to the heart through this hand. However, in modern times, most Japanese people do not have a preference for which hand to wear their rings on.

The Role of Family

In Japanese culture, family plays a significant role in weddings. Both the bride and groom’s families are heavily involved in the planning and execution of the wedding. The parents of the couple may also provide financial support for the wedding, and it is customary for them to give speeches during the reception.

The Importance of Rituals

Japanese weddings are steeped in tradition, and each ritual has its own significance. For example, the exchanging of rings represents the couple’s commitment to each other, while drinking sake together symbolizes their union as a couple.

The Significance of Kimono

Many Japanese brides choose to wear a traditional kimono during their wedding ceremony. The kimono is a symbol of Japanese culture and heritage, and its intricate designs represent good luck and prosperity for the couple.

The Symbolism of Colors

In Japanese culture, different colors have different meanings. Red is considered a lucky color and is often used in wedding attire or decorations. Gold represents wealth and prosperity, while pink symbolizes love and romance.

The Importance of Etiquette

Etiquette is an essential part of Japanese culture, and weddings are no exception. Guests are expected to be punctual, dress appropriately, and follow certain protocols during the ceremony and reception. It is also customary to bring a small gift for the newlyweds.

The Role of Food

Food plays a crucial role in Japanese weddings. The reception typically features several courses of traditional Japanese cuisine, such as sushi, tempura, and grilled meat or fish. The food is carefully prepared and presented to reflect the couple’s good taste and hospitality.

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