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Marriage is the weaving together of families, of two souls with their individual fates and destinies, of time and eternity - everyday life married to the timeless mysteries of the soul.

A Japanese wedding is held in a shrine; nowadays the shrines are located inside the hotels. A priest precedes the ceremony and the invite list usually involves only very close members of the family. The bride and the groom are dressed in kimono, the traditional Japanese attire. A Japanese wedding has plenty of rich traditions and every tradition is backed with a reason from the past. A rosary consisting of 21 beads is used in the ceremony; this rosary represents the union of not only the couple but also their families and Lord Buddha. The parents of both the bride and the groom are honored with gifts, flowers and a speech that shows their love and gratefulness.

The very obvious tradition is the ‘San San ku do' that involves the exchange of nuptial cups. “San means three and ku means nine. So san san ku do means three, three, and nine.. Exchanging cups represents the exchange of marriage vows. The groom and bride drink sake, which is rice wine, three times each, from three different-sized sake cups called sakazuki. The parents also take sips hence strengthening the bond between the two families. Each person is supposed to take 3 sips from the three cups. The first three sips represent the three couples; the second three sips represent the flaws of hatred, passion, and ignorance; and the last three sips represent freedom from the three flaws.”

Types of Japanese weddings


The bride wears a Kimono and the groom wears a Kannushi. And the ceremony is preceded by a Shinto priest.


The bride wears a white wedding gown and the groom wears a tuxedo. This style is performed by Christian clergyman.


This type of wedding is not bound to any religion as such, so the bride and the groom can wear anything that pleases them and the ceremony is complete with the vows the couples take in front of the wedding guests.

The Gift

A typical gift to be given in a Japanese wedding is cash. Physical gifts find no place in a Japanese wedding. Usually the amount of cash depends on the relationship between the guest and the couple. The amount is mentioned in the invitation card; yes it is mentioned in most of the cards as well. Preferably the clarification on the amount can be done with another guest who is also going to attend the same wedding. An average amount that can be given at a friend's wedding is around 30000 Yen. Though this is not a fixed amount, this is considered as an ideal amount to be gifted. This cash needs to be placed in a crease free envelop and handed over at the reception counter of the wedding venue and the guest needs to sign the guestbook as well.

The Wedding Reception

A lively atmosphere sets in during the reception. The bride and groom sit back on the stage to enjoy the performances of the guests and the speeches given. Some people may sing in praise of the couple and it is a typical practice to cut a wedding cake. The couple walks around the reception hall meeting and greeting the guests who have come to attend the wedding. The bride and the groom tend to change their costumes a couple of times during the reception. An iro-uchikake , or the bridal kimono is worn by the bride.

The Food

The food served at the wedding is also traditionally planned. The dishes served are in odd numbers only; it is a belief that even numbers may divide the couple. Sekihan â is red azuki beans rice that is an integral part of a Japanese wedding. It is sticky rice made from azuki beans. The desserts complete the meal.