Forget The Vows: 6 Ways Weddings Are Different In Japan

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

Japanese marriage certificate

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

Wedding ceremonies almost never take place on the same day couples in Japan tie the knot.

Of course, everyone has to register their …continue reading