Today we continue our series on wedding planners across the globe. I was fortunate to meet with Kiri Munetoshi and Yutaka Maeda of Can-D-Tuft wedding planners late last year in London and it was fascinating to discuss weddings and wedding planning in Japan. Here is just a taste as they answer our questions.
How does a typical wedding day run in your country?
There are 5 different styles of weddings in Japan. 1.Western style wedding, 2.a wedding ceremony held at a Shinto shrine, 3.civil wedding, 4.a Buddhist wedding, 5.a wedding ceremony held at a house. The most popular wedding is a Western style of wedding and it accounts for 70 percent of all weddings in Japan.
It was common to have a wedding ceremony held at a Shinto shrine 20 years ago, but presently, the majority of Japanese wedding ceremonies held are as a western style.
A typical timetable of the day.
To start the ceremony, a bride comes into the venue 2 hours before a wedding ceremony is held to get ready and do make up and hair. A groom comes into a venue an hour later than the bride does.
We have a rehearsal of the wedding ceremony half an hour before starting the actual wedding. A wedding ceremony takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes, and then, we have group photographs taken after the wedding.
A break of half an hour is taken between a wedding ceremony and a reception, meanwhile guests are invited to a welcome drink, and during the break, a bride changes her wedding dress to a party dress and her hair style. Some grooms change their suit in the same way as the bride.
A wedding reception lasts for 2hours and a half. It is held always after one hour later than the wedding ceremony. This is the formal wedding ceremony and a reception, but usually, people have a private party afterwards for two hours at a different venue. A bride and a groom change their formal clothes to ordinary clothes for a private party.
What type of location do most wedding ceremonies themselves take place?
There is a chapel at a Hotel, a wedding hall and a guest house. These chapels are used only for weddings, it may sound strange, but no religious activities are on the go.
We also use a chapel for a civil wedding. In this case, the cross is kept out of sight or covered and the ceremony is conducted without a religious overtone. There are also fictitious shrines at hotels, wedding halls and guest houses. We used to have a wedding ceremony at a Shinto shrine, but there is no reception hall, and it can be inconvenient for guests, for that reason people have a wedding ceremony at a fictitious shrine at a hotel, a wedding hall and guest house at present.
A Buddhist wedding takes place at a temple but it happens on rare occasions.
What type of location do most wedding receptions take place?
We usually hold a wedding reception in a hotel or a wedding hall or guest house or restaurant.
? Guest house is like a manor house in Europe or some resort mansion which is built only for a wedding ceremony and a reception.
How many guests are usual to such a wedding?
A national average is 76 people.
What customs/traditions are most common in your weddings?
Cake cutting, first bite, candle service, a bride’s (and groom’s) change of dress during a wedding reception, a bride reads a letter to her parents and gives a bunch of flowers as a thank you for bringing her up at the reception, gifts for guests at a wedding reception to take home and so on.
What does a typical wedding cost?
3,000,000yen~4,000,000yen (3,000,000yen is just over £20,000)
How important are independent wedding planners in your country?
An independent wedding planner is absolutely not respected in Japan but has a degree of recognition.
Any anecdotes/comments/tips on planning a wedding in your country
A wedding in Japan is very westernized and it’s still a very popular style of wedding, but recently, Japanese styles of wedding also have become popular for the young generation and you may see a bride wearing a Kimono during a reception.
Recently, every bride and groom tries to have “an original wedding” which is a very unique way such as having a wedding at a beach but still most of the weddings are held uniformly in Japan.
There are many wedding magazines which give many hints to creating “an original wedding” to brides and grooms. I think we can as wedding planners in Japan discover business opportunities from this trend of customizing.