What to Wear to a Japanese Wedding (in Japan)

Weddings in Japan are a big deal - and probably a lot different than your home country. This brings up the important question: What Should You Wear to a Wedding In Japan?

So one of your close Japanese friends is finally tying the knot, and a couple of weeks before the ceremony, you get a little card in the mail – inviting you to their wedding ceremony.

Of course you reply back “yes!”

As the date draws closer, you realize that you don’t actually know what guests are supposed to wear to a Japanese wedding ceremony in Japan. Is it the same as in America/Europe? Are there taboo colors? Does it have to be a dress? Are you only allowed to wear black suits?

I went to my first Japanese wedding last weekend. It was in my husband’s hometown of Ibaraki, so we were spending the weekend with his parents. I’ve been to a handful of weddings in America, so I have several wedding-appropriate dresses. Together, Ryosuke and I picked the most “modest” one, a beige and dark brown abstract patterned dress that went below the knees. I had worn it at a wedding in America before; he thought it would be great for a wedding in Japan.

Ryosuke’s mom, on the other hand, took one look at it and veto-ed it off the table. And trust me, this woman is not typically vocal about her opinions.

You see, neither Ryosuke nor I had ever been to a wedding in Japan. And, as we learned that weekend, weddings in Japan are VASTLY different than weddings in America (or Europe/Africa/etc).

In this case, I’m talking about a Western-Styled Japanese wedding. I’ve never been to a Japanese wedding at a Shinto Shrine before (so I wouldn’t know) – only a Japanese wedding inside a reception hall in Tokyo. Every married couple Ryouske and I know were married at a Western-styled Japanese wedding (it’s a trend).

Assume a wedding will be in a reception hall (and therefore following this dress code) unless otherwise indicated on the invitation.

A typical, Japanese reception hall

A typical, Japanese reception hall

What women / girls should wear to a Japanese wedding in Japan:

Nearly every female at a Japanese wedding was wearing like a muted, plain version of what every girl wears to junior prom at an American high school (plus a shawl).

If you don’t understand that reference, sorry. What I mean to say is that every woman was wearing a knee length, formal dress made out of taffeta, silk, or chiffon with a shawl. Shoulders were covered. The dress always went below the knee. Everyone was wearing nude-colored stockings. Their shoes were either place or plain/muted pink pumps. No open-toed shoes.

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If you happen to have something that fits the criteria in your closet, great! If not, these are the things you should look for when shopping for a dress to wear as a guest to a Japanese friend’s wedding.

Typical Dress Code for a Japanese Wedding:

1. The dress should be made of taffeta, silk, or chiffon. Try to stay away from the non-shiny fabrics (like cotton). The dress should be whimsical and somewhat modest – don’t do a bodycon or very tight, structured work dress. The ideal dress is tight at the top and then flows out at the waist.

2. It must hit below the knee

3. But it can’t be floor-length or tea-length. The dress needs to hit below (or just at) the knee, no longer, no shorter.

4. It usually should not be strapless (but if it is, you can always layer it with an opaque shawl, to keep yourself modest).

5. It needs to be a plain color. Common colors are beige, muted pink, light brown, dark purple, dark blue, light sky blue, maroon, and brown. Avoid flashy or vivid colors like white, mustard yellow, red, green, and orange.

6. You have to have a shawl.

7. Your shawl should be either white, beige, brown, or black. It can be see-through or opaque – made up of any number of materials. If you’ve been shopping at a department store in Japan, you know the kind of cover-up I’m talking about.

8. You need to have nude pantyhose/stockings. Even if it’s dark, you will be sitting at all times, and your dress goes below the knee. Pantyhose.

9. Your shoes need to be plain black, brown, or nude/pink pumps. No open-toed shoes, no strappy heels, no flashy heels. They need to be plain. According to Ryosuke’s mom and sister(s), black pumps are ideal.

10. Muted, small jewelry is a plus. Pearls are ideal (or so I’ve heard).

what to wear to a japanese wedding in Japan dress suits marriage

What men / guys should wear to a Japanese wedding in Japan:

A suit and tie.

The suit can be black, brown, navy, pinstriped, grey, or really anything else you can think of.

1. The suit CANNOT be white. Only the groom wears a white suit (don’t ask me why, I have no idea why grooms in Japan always wear white suits). Also, try to avoid overly flashy or unusual suits like maroon, orange, yellow, and pink (but then again, who would actually wear a pink suit to a wedding?)

2. Your work-shirt can be any color, but most people wear white. If you want to play it safe, stick to a white shirt. My husband wore a purple shirt. A couple of people laughed at him (jokingly), but he rocked it.

3. You should also wear a tie. Don’t wear a black tie (black ties are for funerals in Japan). Most people wore silver, gold, plain striped, or neutral colored ties. If you want, you can also wear a bowtie (less common, but you do see it happen).

4. If you want, you can also wear a vest. Most people don’t, but some do.

5. Your shoes should be plain black.

Basically, dress like you’ve been working at a Japanese company for a couple of years. If you couldn’t wear it to work without getting demoted/fired/judged, don’t wear it to a wedding in Japan.

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There you have it. That’s my advice for what to wear to a western styled wedding in Japan.

Now before you go around trying to invite yourself to every, single wedding (because, why not), remember that when you go to a wedding in Japan, you’re expected to give 30,000yen (about 300USD) to the happy couple.

Weddings can and will break your bank.

I recommend going to one or two, just for the experience (or if they are people you really, really care about), but don’t try to hit up every single wedding you can. There are so many other, better things to spend your hard-earned cash on.

what to wear to a japanese wedding in Japan dress suits marriage



Add me on Google Plus: +Grace Buchele

About Grace Buchele Mineta

I got into the writing business by accident. Now I live in the countryside near Tokyo with my husband, Ryosuke, where I draw comics, blog, and make videos about our daily life. Contact: Website | More Posts

39 Comments on What to Wear to a Japanese Wedding (in Japan)

  1. Helpful, thanks! I think what you’re describing for what a woman should wear is essentially the equivalent of what a bridesmaid wears to a wedding in the US.

  2. Marleigh // 18 March, 2016 at 2:54 pm //

    Thank you so very much for this! My brother is getting married in December in Japan and these tips are a life saver. Question though, are patterns okay (floral, for example), or should I stick to something solid? How about lace?

  3. thank you so much for all those tips !

  4. I personally don’t like weddings. I am married but I didn’t have a “party”.

    I just wanted to sign the papers and we had to do it at the embassy since we live abroad. But of course my in-laws and my parents wanted to come and I insisted not to. They didn’t (and don’t) understand why I didn’t want to have a “party” that day.

    Well, my father got injured and couldn’t walk by the day, so they couldn’t come. Although, I only gave permission to my witnesses to enter (and because we needed two) during the “sign”/ceremony, my in-laws came. They ignored my wishes…

    I still “hold a grudge” (if this is correct to say), I am still mad inside because It wasn’t what I wanted that day to be and they ignored what I wished… They still don’t understand that for me, the wedding day was only a day where we signed papers, (finally after lots and lots of papers) and our status changed to “married”. My husband didn’t care if somebody came, but doesn’t like weddings either.

    They came to wait outside, to have lunch with us, but after that they went shopping the rest of the day!!

    We, of course, celebrate our wedding day (we don’t do anything special), but our special/loved day is the day we met each other, that we started to date and be together and that we never stopped being together. That is our day.

    I hope somebody can understand me… Also I hope I am not the only one who feels that way…

    All that said, I hope I never have to go to a wedding hahaha although I like to read about what other cultures do, because it is a cultural thing :)

  5. Very interesting stories, I loved reading them. I searched some videos on Youtube and stumbled over this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_vuQrlKzJA Can you believe that he kisses the bride? So adorable! Grace, I hope you will record your Japanese wedding, the preparations, everything.

  6. Indian wedding (the main bit) is a bit different, as a guest of the wedding i.e. not direct family can choose, so the women normally wear colourful saris and the men can choose to wear a suit or a Sherwani.

    For the Family the women wear the saris, while the bride normally wears a more ornate one, for the men, we have to wear the Sherwani, a suit is a BIG no.. the Groom normally wears a hat called a pagri, but that tradition is not followed these days.. I should really write a blog post about the in and outs of a Indian wedding, its LONGGGGG a standard one is about a good month and half….

    About the money aspect, wedding guests which are not close family give cash from as little as 100 to round 400, Family give gold, which in my culture like many asian cultures mean good luck and cash.

    Btw, I found your youtube channel, while surfing the tube of you. Not sure how I did tho, was watching Gaki videos then started to read your blogs…

    They are a good read……

    Thanks from London….
    sorry about the spelling..

  7. Saw this link when I goggle how to introduce your Japanese boyfriend to your parents.

    Hehe.. I had great fun just reading some of your blog entries about long distance relationships and I like to comment. I am a south east Asian Chinese, met my Japanese boyfriend 2-3 months ago and entered into a long distance relationship with him.

    Recently he kept talking about getting married and having children. So I thought it will be good to read around to get the idea.

    I like to add in after reading your blog on Japanese wedding, they are so different from Chinese wedding. Chinese wedding is more casual, less or no dress codes but all ladies tend to dress nice, no restrictions on short sexy dress or long dress. Usually when we are invited to a Chinese wedding, me and my sister tend to have fun dressing up and wearing lots of makeup.

    During the wedding, we tend to have a wedding march in, then showcase of bride and groom baby pictures, how they met each other videos, also we tend to have both the solemnisation and wedding together. This means on the wedding day, around 90% of brides have to wake up at 3am, to do the traditional Chinese rites, makeup, dress, waiting for groom to fetch her at an auspicious time, serving tea to in laws and parents, relatives. Then come the registry of marriage, formal registration of their marriage in the Law case. Then comes the wedding dinner, the poor bride and groom have to stay awake and refreshed all the way till around 11pm at night… WOW

    • Wow. That sounds kind of stressful… (but honestly, weddings are always WAY more stressful than you would think).
      Hahahahaha. Good luck!

      • That’s true, anyways I always thought Chinese wedding purpose is to tired out both the bride and groom so no sexy time at night haha.. anyways nice reading your blogs and your post on popped rice!

  8. This varies between areas, but some prefectures prefer married women to wear a black dresses to weddings. My older relatives (purely Japanese, born in Tokyo and brought up in Tokyo) hates that idea, but Japanese, unmarried friends of my generation thinks it’s “polite and safe” (because if they wear a coloured dress, the bride may be wearing the same colour for her “oironaoshi”).

    I think this comes from the tradition of 黒留袖. Married women wore a black, short sleaved formal kimono for official events (and un-married women wore an elaborate, long sleaved formal 振袖). People in rural areas tend to wear black for weddings. Another favourite amongst married women is the navy dress.

    I asked my fiance about bringing the plus one thing, and he said “If the invitation doesn’t have your partner’s name on it, he/she shouldn’t attend,” and he added “Asking if you could bring your partner is rude, so you should just wait and see what the invitation says.” (Very Japanese!)

    I’m guessing this is the case because
    1. The couples have a hard time figuring out the seating arrangement
    2. It costs approximately 30,000 yen per person to attend a formal hirouen (food, paper items, gifts, etc).
    3. The hirouen table is generally organized in a way that one group are seated together, and having a plus one in the table disrupts the relationship.
    4. Married couples don’t mingle with each other (The spouses are not expected to be friends)

    I literally had to train my Japanese fiance to come along to my non-Japanese friends’ gathering, because he was not used to going out as a couple.

    • That’s really true! I was surprised when the bride changed into another dress (it was still white, but it had pink accents and flowers). Some of my friends said sometimes the bride will change into a yellow/green/pink dress.
      So I guess darker colors are safer.

      I had a wedding in America in the middle of winter and my grandmother (who is an absolute sweetheart) made sure everyone in the family knew if they wore black to my wedding, she would kick them out at the door. It was really funny (I’m pretty sure she wasn’t joking).
      Navigating what to wear at weddings/propor customs is a nightmare, I guess. Wow.

      I’m pretty sure I accidentally disrupted the table by being there. Oh well. I had fun and we didn’t know the “proper way” back then (now we do).

      It’s taking a lot of time to get used to the fact that married couples don’t mingle (and become friends with each other’s spouses). It’s just… odd, by my built-in “American sense.”

  9. What a bore! I hope I won’t come across as irrespective of the Japanese wedding tradition, but you just described the most boring dress code I could ever imagine! Usually going to a wedding is fun because you can have some freedom and play around with colors and styles as long as you wear something appropriate (not too low cut, not too short). But this Japanese wedding sounds like the most boring party ever style wise!

    • It wasn’t the most interesting party I’ve ever been to. But it was very “Japanese,” I guess. It’s kind of like my husband’s work parties.
      I guess there is a “style” in Japan.

      I’ve broken the dress code at tons of office parties and such because the rules are so different!

  10. Miyagi Mermaid // 25 May, 2014 at 10:47 am //

    Thanks for sharing this! I finally met my boyfriend’s family this week and his older sister is getting married in November, which of course we are invited to.

    After introductions, the first thing she said to me was, “So what are you going to wear to the wedding?” I just smiled like, whatever is appropriate, you tell me. Her dad had shown me photos of all 3 dresses she would be donning, each more grand than the last. Like, they put princesses to shame.

    All my wedding experiences had been really, home grown, not big events. Two flower girl stints as a kid and more recently as a guest at a country wedding. I am not prepared for the grandeur.

    Luckily after posing this question, the mom chirped in and said I could borrow a kimono, even though I’m shorter than all of them, they said it should be fine. Now I’m just praying that many people will be wearing kimonos because ugh I don’t want to be like the only one and being a foreigner, don’t want to more attract attention than normal. Plus I’ve only ever worn yukata before, the prospect of a full-on kimono has me watching everything I eat for the next few months.

    I can’t tell if she’s having a traditional wedding or western. The mom asked if I’d ever been to a Japanese wedding ceremony to which I said no, but the bride’s dresses are all western, so I’m confused. Maybe she’s doing both.

    I dunno, but I’m excited. Plus seeing my boyfriend in a suit for the first time is also something to look forward to. Thank you about the note about giving money, I totally forgot about that. Better start setting money aside now.

    • It’s probably a Western ceremony. Of all the Japanese friends/family members I know, none of them have had a traditional Japanese wedding at a Shinto shrine. Nowadays, they have a ceremony at like a “fake church” (looks like a church, but it’s only for weddings) with the multiple ballgown dresses.
      Ryosuke’s sister had the white ballgown, a pink ballgown, and a yellow/green ballgown. It was so surreal looking through pictures.

      If his mom said you should wear a kimono, it should be fine.
      From all the wedding pictures I’ve seen from friends and family (plus the wedding I went to), it seems as though only the mothers wear kimonos. No one else does.
      But since you’re foreign, you’re kind of allowed to get away with more. Like, it’s kind of fun to see a foreigner dressed up in super-traditional Japanese clothes. So you might feel a tad bit uncomfortable, but I’m sure people will love seeing you in a kimono.

  11. Eric Janson // 22 May, 2014 at 5:15 pm //

    Thanks for this one! When you’re on the train it’s always easy to say what event a group of men are attending because inevitably all of them will wear a dark suit and several of them will be white shirt / white tie or white shirt / black tie – then you know. But I had no clue what women wear. Very interesting!
    Japan is just amazing. Anyone who does not love it is missing out!

    • I thought it was interesting too.

      I often see groups of women with heels, a shiny dress, and a shawl – but wasn’t sure where they were going. By now, I’ve narrowed it down to a wedding/school ceremony/work party.

  12. Oooo…. one other thing about men’s clothing. I think it depends on how traditional you are but we had strict instructions to only wear a white tie (with a white shirt) and a black suit to a Shinto wedding. It’s possible that some “Western” style weddings may also want/expect this. Have you heard this? White ties can be so hard to find (and you only wear them for weddings) so some people opt to get one from the hakuyen store. Same goes for the black funeral ties because you don’t wear them anywhere else.

    Yup! Weddings can be expensive. We had three in one year and that’s a grand right there, but we also got cash for our wedding and as you probably know in Japan, cash simply circles through family and other relations be it weddings, funerals, New Year’s, babies, personal money, treat money, travel money, welcome money, good-bye money, official gift money, unofficial personal money… It doesn’t bother me anymore when I have to give money but I always need to ask H’s parents how to respond with giving something back for the money…

    What protocol does R’s family follow with giving money/gifts back? H’s family does this. If someone gives you Y30,000 then you usually have to give back a tangible gift worth half that. It should also be something that fits the situation so our half-back wedding presents were all ornamental versus half-back gifts for baby money was more personal. If you get gift cards or certificates, then you give back half of the same. If you get a present, you don’t usually have to give back anything, but it depends on who gives the present and if it was authorized by the receiving party. H’s closest friends and him agreed that they would give us a gift whereas others gave us cash and still others gave us gift certificates. Neat, eh? :D

    • I have no idea.
      Ryosuke, for all I love about him, is not a planner. He doesn’t know much about traditions in Japan (and doesn’t particularly care). It was the day before the wedding and I decided to show my American “winter wedding dress” to Ryouske’s mom and she kind of freaked out.
      (since I go to a lot of American weddings, I thought it was fine)

      It was hours of digging through closets and borrowing stuff from his sisters, until I had a “good and appropriate” wedding dress.

      But shoot, his siblings gave us wedding money last month when we moved back to Japan. And I had no idea we were supposed to give a gift back. Ugggghhhh, yay, Ryosuke and I can chat about this when he gets home.

      It’s so frustrating trying to navigate living abroad and appeasing the in-laws when neither of us has ANY idea what to do (me because I’m not Japanese and him because he just doesn’t care about social rules).

      At the Western styled wedding we went to, none of the wedding guests were wearing white or black ties. Instead, they were different colors – kind of like what you would wear to work.

      • Howdy Grace!

        Hmmm… it’s possible that R doesn’t care because he doesn’t have to. He’s not the oldest son, right? That leaves him free to do what he wants and let someone else care about the details. :D

        I hear you about “appeasing the in-laws”. I was terrified of offending for the longest time and was mortified about some of the mistakes we made at our wedding. Depending on your relationship with your in-laws, I figure it’s best to be frank and ask questions while also expecting not to be told otherwise. :)

        As for getting money and not knowing about a gift back, I figure there are three things you can do. Ask your parents-in-law what to do, talk about it directly with R’s siblings or get a gift that’s worth half and hope for the best!

        For something potentially interesting, ask your father-in-law if he has a record book of money going in and out of the family. I got to see “the book” a few years back. It’s incredible. Every single wedding, funeral, baby, visit, congrats and event where money was given is in there, including for H and I, even though we are not technically part of the family’s house. When an event occurs, my fil checks that book to see what was given in the past to determine how much money to give. My fil has all the previous books going back over 50 years and the current log is dated back 30+ years.

        Enjoy the middle of the week!

        • You’re probably right. He’s not the oldest son – and for as long as I’ve known him, he’s always lived “outside” of social expectations. In contrast to my issues with anxiety and networking, he just doesn’t… notice this kind of stuff.

          I talk to him mom by phone once or twice a week, during our next phone call, I will ask her advice on what to do about money. Thank you! I was at a loss of what to do (and Ryosuke was just like “Meh, it’s too late now. Don’t worry about it.”) His mom usually gives good advice.

          I’ve never heard about “the book” – but that sounds like a FABULOUS idea. We should start one of those. It would really help with this kind of stuff. I wonder if Ryouske’s family has one too…?

          I’m sure y’all didn’t have mistakes at your wedding. But then again, I have no idea what is expected. So. Yeah.

          • H is the middle child. He seems to have gotten more interested in the family rules and traditions over the years, likely from me asking ten thousand questions and obsessing over not offending. I think I can see where Ryousuke is coming from, though.

            I’m dying to know! What did your mil say? By the way, some places I love for half-back gifts include the gifty areas of Seibu and Tobu (great for linens, fancy pillows, vases, and nicer house stuff + kakejiku) and The Craft Museum – amazing things from all over Japan – we bought most of our wedding half-back gifts there. Unfortunately though, it was moved from Ikebukuro a few years back. (I was *stunned* when I walked by on a visit to find a Gap or something equally shocking in its place.) I have only found one review of the new location and it’s not positive. I was so sad that I couldn’t bring myself to visit the new place in Feb. :( That said, the new place is supposed to have some of the same products, but far fewer so it may still be good for gifts.

            Yes! Ask about “the book”! I’m assuming you two are now your own household?? so you’d need to start this sort of thing anyway… *if* you wanted to follow all the rules and become part of your community, etc. etc. :D

          • Hahahaha. It’s good that you ask a bunch of questions, though. It’s better to know than to be blind-sided.
            Ryosuke wishes I didn’t ask so many questions, because I start to obsess…

            We’re spending the weekend with his family. My sister and her boyfriend are also coming with us (I’m excited for his family to meet my sister!), so that should be a fun buffer.
            We will probably just end up going to Seibu because that’s a pretty safe choice. But man, that stuff is expensive.

            Next time I visit my parents in Africa, I’m going to load my suitcase up with craft bags and wooden bowls. Those make the perfect Omiyage (because no one can tell the price and they have a “history”).

            I think we are going to make a book. But I don’t know if I will ever be a part of the community. Like, I wish I could… but I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon. It’s too “foreign.”

  13. Southeast Asian wedding in the best. I know at Thai, Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese wedding we get super drunk! And plenty of food. Rice wine and Hennessy all day! LoL! Not only that we even have a modern twice,DJ hiphop music. in Southeast Asian wedding the bride and groom dress like queen and king from the B.C. era and you get Buddha blessing. Once all the Buddha leave, the PARTY is on, shots, shots, shots! And in Asian culture its the husband side that pay out of pocket in the wedding not like American culture, it’s the bride father paying for the things.

    • Interesting. I would love to go to a Southeast Asian wedding someday.

      I was a bit disappointed that there wasn’t any dancing/embarrassing things/binge drinking at the wedding we went to. It was very classy – the entire event was carefully orchestrated and rehearsed. It was lovely, don’t get me wrong, but I kind of like weddings with dancing and crazy-ness.

  14. I seeeriously needed to read this post! My husband’s sister is having her marriage ceremony in a couple of weeks, and I’ve been stressing about what to wear. This is SO helpful! And now I have an excuse to go shopping. ;)

    • Oh yay, I’m SO GLAD this was helpful :)
      Have fun at his sister’s wedding! You’re going to have a blast. But, like, they’re a TON different than American weddings.

      I’m writing a post about it now.

  15. Very interesting!!! Have you ever been to a Shinto ceremony wedding??? I’d love to learn more details about such a beautiful ceremony but I’ve heard that the Japanese don’t often choose to have a Shinto-style wedding and they prefer mostly the western-style. :(

    • I haven’t :/

      I am BEGGING my husband for a Shinto ceremony. We have to throw a wedding ceremony sometime next year for his friends and family (since his family is so large, don’t have passports, and don’t speak English – none we willing to come to our American wedding, instead they requested a ceremony for them in Japan).
      He wanted to throw a normal, western ceremony, but after we both went to this one (and weren’t terribly impressed, there wasn’t any dancing or socializing) – I’ve been able to “win out” a bit on the Shinto Ceremony.
      If we have to drop a ton of money on a ceremony for his parents ANYWAYS, I vote we go Shinto because that would be unique and awesome.

      But I know what you’re talking about, all our friends that are getting married/already married did a western style wedding.

      • Okay, you who wants a Shinto wedding… :D That’s fantastic! I will gladly spill the beans on my experience in extreme detail because that’s how I am. I still have all our receipts. Let me know! Or perhaps I’ll eventually write a blog post. :D

        I found out a lot of things after… (shrine presents, how to drink from the sake cups, other protocol…) H’s dad was our saviour. We asked permission of the priests and it was A-Okay to have all of our guests attend. Usually only immediate family and the matchmakers (if you had them) do. There was drumming and a shrine maiden doing a knife dance and we understood almost nothing. Well, most people didn’t as only a few had ever attended a ceremony and the language was very old. :D Regardless, it was fabulous.

        I don’t think it’s normal for Japanese receptions to have dancing. Hitoshi told me that weddings wrap up early so people can get home by the last train (or drive) and ours was the same. The international guests staying in Tsukuba went to karaoke! If you want a party, you have a wedding after party at a club or somewhere else where a whole different set of guests may attend. This was the case with one of H’s closest friends. One set of guests went to the wedding (you know the one… Christian in form but not Christians following), another went to the reception/dinner and another went to the club. H was spinning and I could come because he was there but I was not invited to the other wedding parts. Did you know about the protocol around invitations? I had no idea until H let me in on this.

        Bye for now!

        • Please, please, please write a guest post about it! That would be wonderful!

          I really want a Shinto wedding. They sound so interesting – I love it.
          No one in Ryouske’s family has had a Shinto styled wedding, though, so I would probably be in charge of all of the planning (uggghh), and we don’t know how feasible that is with my Japanese level.

          I actually wrote a post about the 20 things that surprised me about the Japanese (Western styled) wedding – a huge one was the lack of socializing and dancing.
          Guests stayed at the same table the whole time, the bride and groom didn’t have any budgeted time to talk to the guests (I spoke to the bride for a couple for seconds while we got a picture together on our way out), and there was no dancing. Instead, it was classy, chic, and very organized.
          I don’t know, I felt like it was missing all the things I loved about weddings (since my dad is a pastor, I’ve been to A LOT of American weddings).

          Afterwards, all the guys our table (and the one next to it – all of them were from the same boyscouts group) went drinking. I was the only female there (since people weren’t supposed to bring their spouses) – and opted out of going. It was… different. I don’t know.

          We’ve gotten another wedding invitation since then, but Ryouske said no because neither of us is interested in going to another wedding unless it’s someone we both really, REALLY love the couple (selfish, I know).

          The only protocol with invitations that I know of is that you’re apparently not supposed to bring your spouse.
          Like, I was the only girl on the “grooms” side of the room – and one of the only spouses at the wedding (except for the direct family). Like, Ryosuke’s brother didn’t bring his wife and his friends didn’t bring their respective wives. It was… odd?

          • Okay! Not sure when but it’s on my list now. (The shrine wedding post!)

            Ya… I’m not sure about the spouse thing. I was pretty confused when that came up. What? I can’t come to the wedding?! It seemed to be an unspoken rule. Our wedding was a few days after H’s friend’s wedding – the one that I couldn’t go to but went to the after party. H’s friend’s new wife didn’t come to our wedding – as if it were agreed in some way.

            We had only two couples come that weren’t family out of the Japanese guests. One was my friend and her bf – I met her in Canada so she knew about my weird ways but I think I had to assure her that it was okay for her boyfriend to come. The other (married) couple was the pair that introduced us, maybe because they both knew us separately before we met??

          • That might be it. I assume if both of y’all are friends with the couple, then both are invited? I’m not sure.
            I asked Ryosuke’s brother if there was ever a time when it was acceptable to bring your spouse, and he kind of left it at “only if they are part of the family getting married.”

            Compared to the American wedding system, I thought it was odd. Like who actually wants to go to a wedding alone? It’s more FUN with your spouse.
            Then again, Japanese weddings are drastically different than American weddings. It’s not as focused on meeting/greeting a bunch of people. I guess.

            My husband and I went ahead and made lists of weddings it’s “Ok” if we both go to. Most of them are for friends who aren’t even engaged yet, though. I hope our wallets get a break before the next wedding…

  16. Interesting!
    People in China don’t dress up for weddings. They wear the same clothes they would wear to go to the supermarket…

    • Wait, really? I had no idea. That’s so interesting…

      • That really depends on the wedding (there are also more high-end weddings where you’d have to wear nicer clothes), but I agree, you can usually go to a wedding in casual clothes in China. It’s common to give the couple a red envelope with 200-500 CNY (about 30-80 USD), which is so much less than what you’d have to spend in Japan (but Chinese salaries are also lower on average, so maybe it adds up to the same if you’re a local).

        • Lucky. I wish we didn’t have to give the 300USD – 500USD at a wedding. But then the happy couple also has to give a return gift equal to half of what they got from each couple.
          The whole thing is ridiculously and crazily expensive.

          Ever since my own wedding, I’ve been really interested in weddings around the world.

          • In China you should give the same amount of what you’ve received from someone at your own wedding, meaning the more people you invite to your wedding, the more money you get (back).

            We haven’t had a ceremony in China, but we should really have one just so my husbands parents get some of the money back they have invested all these years ;-).

            I’m looking forward to hearing how you’re preparing for your Japanese wedding.

          • That’s pretty much the same in Japan. For a while, I thought we could actually MAKE money on our wedding (invite a ton of people who give us 300USD each), but then I realized we have to give them a gift equal to the worth of half of what they gave us + really expensive food, etc. So I’ve realized that is pretty impossible.

            I hope y’all get to have a really interesting and fun wedding ceremony in China! I’ve seen a bunch of pictures of Chinese weddings recently (don’t know why) and they seem like a blast!

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