Japanese style wedding, what it is like?

How a Japanese couple celebrates their wedding?

According to national statistics in Japan, a bit more than 600,000 couples got married in 2017. Another private survey for such newly married couples showed that two-thirds of them had a wedding ceremony and that only 17% of them chose Japanese traditional style, Shinto wedding ceremony, while 65% had in the Western style, Christian wedding. (source: Zexy Wedding Trend Survey 2018, Recruit /リクルート ゼクシィ結婚トレンド調査 2018 首都圏)
Yes, that is true that many young couples choose Western styles rather than the Japanese style wedding. It means…even for locals, we rarely have a chance to attend a Shinto style wedding ceremony.

Still, you might find a new couple having a wedding ceremony at a shrine when you visit a major shrine such as Meiji Jingu in Tokyo.

Japanese style wedding, what it is like?

Traditional Japanese wedding is normally conducted at a Shinto Shrine, where bride and groom appear in traditional kimono costume. Especially bride’s costume, hair-setting and make-up are exclusive for wedding occasion.

Japanese wedding ceremony includes a blessing by a priest, pledging by the new couples, as same with other wedding styles. What Shinto style wedding ceremony are different from other styles are
1. “Sharing Sake by exchanging three cups” among groom and bride, which is an iconic event called “san san ku do”
2. Offering a holly branch, Tamagushi, by the couple
3. Sharing Sake cups among family members, ensuring their strong tie

You might find barrels of sake donated and placed in a shrine. Sake, pure and sacred drink made from rice, has a strong association with Shinto religious.

Relatives and close friends may be invited to the ceremony.
After the ceremony, a banquet is likely to be held with their family, relatives, close friends and workplace boss. In many cases, furthermore, a casual party is offered to wider types of friends, colleagues etc. on the evening.
Wedding celebration lasts for a whole day and especially groom is offered many cups and glass of alcohol drinks by many invitees for celebration.

Will you have the Japanese style wedding?

Some Shrines mainly in major cities accept a couple, non-Japanese speakers, non-Japanese residents, for their wedding ceremony. This time where we visited, Sharakukan in a suburb of Tokyo is one of such options. The grand photo studio has own Shinto style prayer room by collaboration with its neighbor Yatsurugi Hachiman Shinto Shrine. They have long and rich experiences of serving local couples as well as international ones for wedding celebrations.

As an exclusive opportunity, we visited their wardrobe area offering a great collection of kimonos, including luxury bride kimono, Royal style (as above) etc. Not only for bride and groom, even for ceremony guests in all gender and ages, they will also have wide options of kimono if they would.

For more information about wedding related service at Sharakukan, please visit their website.

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