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Japanese Weddings

by Kitty Ariza, Ariza Accents/The Nuptial Knot, Moreno Valley, CA

Weddings in Japan are very expensive, but more and more, the Japanese are opting for a simpler less expensive wedding. About one per cent of Japanese are Christian... and the Christians usually marry in a more western world tradition.

Shinto meaning the way of the Kami (Kami means "the way of the gods"). A Shinto wedding is a ritual that takes place in a Shrine because purity is important to them, most important events are celebrated in the Shrine. Only family members are allowed to attend the wedding.

The wedding attire for the bride is a white silk kimono which can cost up to twenty five thousand dollars to purchase. The groom wears a haori at the top and a hakama at the bottom in black. A Japanese bride can change up to five times into different kimonos. The bride wears a wig as part of the tradition of the kimono wedding dress. The wig is bouffant and very decorated and with artificial flowers ,gold combs and maybe pearls.

The Bride and groom enter from different doors... drum and flute music are played. The nakodo waves a sacred tree over the head of the couple to keep away evil spirits and to symbolize purification. The tree is made of paper streamers. After the vows the couple drinks a wine called sake, exchanging their cups nine times to symbolize their bonding.

At the reception the bride and groom sit at an elevated table and are applauded by the guests. This is when the wedding march is played. The dinner for the reception is very expensive so the guests bring money, new money not wrinkled old money. It is given to the couple in a special envelope to help pay for the dinner which can run one hundred dollars or more per plate. The master of ceremonies discusses the background of the couple and wishes them well. Other friends and family members give speeches. The wedding cake is cut with the brides hand resting on the grooms hand to signify their first act together as husband and wife. A toast is given to the couple then the bride changes into a traditional western white wedding gown. The groom also changes into western clothing. The couple stand under a paper umbrella over their heads which signifies they are lovers.

The newlyweds face the guests and light a single high candle on the center table which is symbolic for their unity in marriage. At the end of the evening the couple gives the mothers a bouquet of flowers and the fathers a carnation for the lapel, as a thank you gesture. The groom's father gives thanks to all who attended and then the couple leaves on their honeymoon.


Kitty Ariza
Ariza Accents/The Nuptial Knot
Moreno Valley, CA


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