In the first part of this article, I discussed the five ways proposals and engagements are different in Japan. But what about weddings? From the simplest procedure you can imagine to elaborate celebrations, tying the knot here covers a surprisingly wide range of interesting procedures.
In a bid to find out more about how wedding ceremonies and marriages are done in Japan, I spoke to six Japanese friends about their personal experiences and general observations, and as usual, there were a few fundamental differences.
1. No fuss means no fuss — and often no wedding celebrations at all
Once a proposal has been accepted, couples in many Western countries usually set about planning a wedding. In Japan, however, this step is optional. My friend Ibuki got engaged to her now-husband soon after they got together, and a year later they simply went down to the city office, filled out a form and voila – officially married.
When I heard this, I was gobsmacked. In most Western countries, even the most minimal wedding still requires a short ceremony with an officiant and two witnesses. In Australia, you have to give one month’s notice of your intention to marry and book a time slot at the registry office. All of this naturally leads to people putting on their finery, buying a bouquet, maybe inviting a few guests. This is as low-key as a wedding gets in the West. But here, it is possible to be entirely no fuss when it comes to getting hitched.
2. Spreading out the love in time
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