Japanese weddings, although very expensive, are also elegant and serene. If you’re incorporating a Japanese theme into your wedding, here are some ways to achieve an authentic look at a fraction of the price.
The Japanese theme begins with the bride’s attire. Traditionally, a bride in Japan wears a white silk kimono, which (believe it or not) can cost up to $25,000 dollars. But a good seamstress can make a kimono from white silk for a lot less yen.
In Japan, a groom wears a haori on the top and a hakama on the bottom, all in black. The bride changes into up to five different kimonos throughout the wedding day.
Though it isn’t required, some Japanese brides wear the traditional wig as part of their wedding attire, one that’s heavily decorated in artificial flowers, gold combs and pearls. The wedding party also dresses in kimonos, usually in a color chosen by the bride.
Traditionally, the bride and groom enter the ceremony from opposite sides of the room, to the strains of the drum and flute. Attendants wave a sacred tree made from paper streamers over the couple’s heads for purification — and for keeping evil spirits at bay. After exchanging vows, the couple drinks wine, or sake. They then trade glasses nine times to symbolize their new bond.
East Meets Guest Accessories
Here are some touches to closely consider when holding a Japanese-themed wedding:
• Paper or sandalwood fans to keep your guests cool.
• Bonsai trees or zen trays as centerpieces on the reception tables,
• Vivid, festive parasols for the flower girl or bridesmaids to carry,
• And small glass cylinders filled with bamboo stems set around the reception, to spread good luck and an authentic Japanese ambiance.
• Plus, don’t forget the effect of an Asian-style room spray you can waft around the reception room before entering (nothing too sweet or overpowering, though!)
When deciding on lighting for a Japanese-themed wedding, look for paper lanterns — you can even make them. Hang them at the reception from tent ceilings or overhead wires — that magic glow will last all night long.
Also, think about buying miniature fans to use as place settings (wind a personalized strip of paper through the ribs), which double as take-home souvenirs. Chopsticks are another festive, practical favor. Whether your guests know how to use them or not, they’ll have fun trying!
In this anything-goes era, couples are starting to blend traditional Japanese customs with the more modern, Western affair, which makes the wedding more accessible and familiar to guests from a broad range of backgrounds.
When planning your Japanese wedding, read up on the cultures and traditions of Japan and include any or all of them, using your own style. If you scrutinize the details of your attire, reception decorations, music and flowers, you’ll have a beautiful, modern wedding with the distinctive feel of the Orient.
Kirsten Hawkins is an event planner from Nashville, TN. Visit her site for more event planning tips, strategies, and resources.
Ed Note: Other Japanese touches with a delightful East-Meets-West feel:
Lush pink peonies
River stones as napkin holders — or a single plumeria blossom or orchid in the center of each plate
Exotics like anthurium for centerpieces … or sleek callas for bouquets wrapped in ultra-modern bear grass