Friday, October 26, 2012

Geting Married in Japan: An introduction

I am sure that you don't need a blog post to tell you that getting married complicated business. While I am no wedding planner, I am currently going through the knot tieing process here in Japan and I figured that I would share my sage advice with all you potential bride and grooms to be.

Whether you are marrying a local or just want to have a Japanese wedding, AccessJ is here to help!

First and foremost, I should explain that this guide is focused on the more technical and cultural aspects of the wedding process in Japan. How much to pay for rings, where to propose, what to say and do are all up to you and your future blushing bride/groom.

Since the wedding process is so long and complex, it is impossible to cover all in one blog post. But here are some points to keep in mind when thinking of marriage:
  • Cost- To say that Japanese wedding are cost-intensive is an understatement. If you your future spouse is the type of person who wants to fairytail-esque "White Wedding," make sure that you have sufficent means (or parents with sufficent means) to pay for one.
  • Religion- Depending on your convictions and the beliefs of your partner, this may or may not be a problem. For those marrying a native, most Japanese are semi-agnostic but older folks (i.e. parents) might be more into Buddhism and Shintoism. This makes a big deal for wedding costs and styles so make sure to talk it over.
  • Location- If you are getting married to a Japanese person and you are already in Japan, this might not be a big issue. But keep in mind that certain destinations in Japan are more desirable for weddings than others and the price is reflected accordingly. Moreover, think about whether or not you want to have two weddings; one in Japan and the other in your home country.
  • Timing- Days, times, and seaons all play a big part in marriage in Japan. There are certain "auspicious days" where your marriage is considered lucky and other days that will bring bad karama. Also, spring weddings are always popular so plan accordingly and keep in mind all these factors effect the cost of the wedding.
  • Ancillary Costs- You may have heard that, in lieu of presents, it is customary to bring heaps of cash to Japanese wedding (in the range of 15,000 yen to 200,000 yen depending on your relation). But you are also expected to pay guests for their travel expenses and accomidations. You are also expected to dispense presents during and after the wedding. Furthermore, if someone pays for your wedding, you are obligated to pay that and more when they get married.
  • Customs and Traditions- This is a big one. If you are marrying into a Japanese family it is a good idea to get an idea of how traditional your partner's family is. Not only that, be prepared for a whole lot of cultural oddities before, during, and after the wedding.
We will be cover all these points and more in detail in the coming weeks so make sure you check back for  great wedding cerimony tips. Of course, if you have any hints or experiences to share, don't hesitate to let us know!

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