Friday, April 06, 2007


How To Have A Japanese Wedding

HK Wedding

So, I'm getting married.

I've been pondering a question my American friends keep putting forward to me. How will I make sure that the wedding (to take place in California) incorporates Japanese traditions?

My mother's solution to this quandry was to say: "Easy. Don't register for gifts. Just ask for money." I thought this was very practical of her and my fiance rather likes the idea, though we know there will be some, ahem, less traveled folks who will find it vulgar.

Another Japanese friend of mine said. "Ask all the men in your family to make long drunken and rambling speeches." I explained that since many of the guests will be from Scotland, I imagine there will be drunken speeches, but most will be funny.

bad kimono

My American cousins suggested that I wear the full Japanese outfit. The truth is, though, I'm not sure I look so great in a kimono. I found this importer which recuts traditional kimonos into prom/bridal dresses. Something tells me, though, that this would look garish.

sake wedding

The officiant asked me for some kind of ritual he could incorporate. But honestly, I'd feel really wierd drinking sake in the middle of a wedding in California that doesn't take place in a Shinto shrine.

I've been to other weddings, by the way, in which Japanese-American brides tried to incorporate "traditions." But these nuptials invariably end up being performing art sessions which bore everyone to tears. And, really, when was the last time you went to a wedding in Japan in which you suffered through a koto demonstration, or some kind of folk dancing?

change dress

I proposed that my fiance and I periodically disappear from the wedding party to change into increasingly elaborate outfits, thus giving everyone a reason to take photos. Then I thought: how does a Scotsman wear anything more elaborate than a kilt? What would he change into that would up the ante (and not offend anyone)?

So, Japundits, here is your chance to help me with suggestions. If there are any ladies left here, I'd be particularly curious to hear from you!

First posted at Japundit, where you can read the lovely comments.


Hmm... I don't recall any Japanese customs being incorporated into my friend's wedding (he is American, his wife is half Japanese). But the Japanese father of the bride did deliver an emotional, rambling speech in broken English, about how he knew for sure that my friend was the right man for his daughter. It was actually both funny and touching.

My dad wore a kilt at his second wedding. Otherwise it wasn't particularly a Scottish affair --actually, it was a Eastern Orthodox ceremony. Interesting culture collision.
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