Here at Planning Elegance we specialize in South-Asian weddings, but it’s also important to learn about all the different cultures and traditions from weddings around the world. Today, we will feature the ins and outs of traditional Japanese-style wedding ceremonies (And it’s pretty good for me to know being Japanese myself!)
The standard wedding ceremony in Japan, is a Shinto-ceremony, but some Japanese-American couples choose to do Buddhist, Christian, or a fusion between East and West.
San San Ku Do (Three-Three-Nine-Times)
San- San- Ku-Do is performed by sharing sake between the bride, groom, and the families. It is one of the oldest known traditions of Japanese wedding customs. The groom, then the bride take three sips of sake from three different sake cups. Then they offer the sake to the families and this gesture represents the new bond between the families and demonstates respect for both parents. This ritual often takes place of the reading of the vows.
1,001 Paper Cranes
Origami cranes are very popular in the Japanese culture, and often seen at weddings, but did you know that there is a reason for that? The Japanese believe that the crane is a symbol of prosperity and longevity. It is a tradition that the bride and her family fold 1,001 origami cranes, and another legend says that if you fold 1,000 cranes, one wish will come true. And I can only assume that one wish is for a long and happy marriage to one another.
“Kekkon Hiroen” (Wedding Reception)
Like most cultures and traditions, Japanese weddings have a reception to follow the ceremony and this is called the “Kekkon Hiroen”. Most of the reception follows what most other wedding traditions have such as speeches, cake, music, but one aspect that stands out is how often the bride will change during the reception. The bride will change at least three times through out the day. The first outfit is called a “shiromuku” and is a white kimono robe. White represents beginning, end, and purity. The second outfit she will wear is called an “Iro-uchi-kake” which is a silk kimono that usually has red, gold, silver, and white coloring. This kimono often times features a crane which symbolizes longevity. At the end of the reception, the bride will change into a kimono with wide sleeves called a “Furi-sode”, that is usually worn by an unmarried woman. This tradition symbolizes the last time she will ever wear a furisode. In recent years, many brides go the non-traditional route and simply change into an elegant white wedding gown.
Shugi Bukuro (Special Envelope)
Often times in weddings, guests will either bring money or purchase an item through the couple’s registry for their gift. In Japanese culture, you are expected to bring a cash gift in what is called a “Shugi-Bukuro”. They are usually beautifully decorated in different colors. Sometimes the amount is specified on the invitation, but most of the time it is based on your relationship with the couple.