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Japan wedding custom

Hong Kong
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Japan wedding custom

I am a non-Japanese family member who will be attending a Japanese wedding ceremony in October. Kindly advise any customs that I need to be aware of and what amount of cash gift that's appropriate.

New York
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1. Re: Japan wedding custom

Hi,

This is a tough question since the answer heavily depends on who you are, what kind of wedding you will attend, where the wedding will be held, and how close you are with a bride/groom. Without having any detailed info, I would say 20,000yen as minimum cash gift, assuming you are 20-ish or a student and also the wedding will be held at hotel in a big city. If the wedding is very casual such as tea party or casual restaurant, 10,000yen would be OK. However, it is very rare to have such a casual wedding in Japan.

If you are 30-ish or over and have a good job, you may want to consider 30,000yen. According to some Japanese websites, 30,000yen seems very popular.

If you are 40-ish/50-ish and have a great job (i.e. executives, trader), you may want to go give more, depending on your relationship with the bride/groom. If the bride/groom or their family is very important for your business, you may want to go higher than 30,000yen. If you give me more info about you/wedding, I may be able to give you more specific number.

Once you arrive at Japan, you should buy a paper wrapping called "Noshibukuro." If you go to mizuhikiya.com/howto/shugi-kinpusyosiki.html, the first picture is the most popular Noshibukuro for wedding. Ask your hotel's concierge to write down your name in front, and amount of cash inside. They know how to do it. You may want to use new bills if you can get them from your hotel or local banks. If you wrap 20,000yen, use one 10,000yen bill and two 5,000yen bills. This is because two can be easily spread, so giving two 10,000yen bills is considered as bad luck. The young bride/groom may not know this custom and may not care, but their parents may care. If you wrap 30,000yen, three 10,000yen bills will be just fine.

I would recommend you arrive at the wedding place about 30 minutes earlier. Please do not be late! If you are late, Japanese people will think you are rude.

If you are a man, you may want to ware a dark or navy blue suite with a white shirt and a nice tie. Many Japanese people (especially family & relatives) would ware a white tie, but I would NOT recommend it for you. Just ware a red or pink tie. You may want to avoid a dark blue tie though.

If you are a woman, you may want to ware a nice dress or suite, depending on where/what time the wedding will be held and how old you are. I think a nice Chinese dress will be acceptable if you are young. If you are not that young, you may dress more conservative. Also, please avoid a white dress. I was asked to avoid a black dress when I was young and attended my friends wedding. This is because Japanese people like to see young women dressed up with color.

New York
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2. Re: Japan wedding custom

Hi again,

I just noticed you posted the question to Niigata Forum. Is it where the wedding will be held? If so, 20,000yen may be just fine as cash gift. If you stay in Tokyo before visiting Niigata, I would recommend you get Noshibukuro and new bills while you are in Tokyo. If you arrive at Narita, you may even find shops to buy Noshibukuro and/or banks for new bills at the airport.

Yokohama, Japan
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3. Re: Japan wedding custom

You will need a "shugi-bukuro" (pron. "shoo-gi bukuro"), a traditional, envelope-like paper wrapping to put your cash gift in. This is for weddings. "Noshibukuro" is a general term for this sort of "money bag(envelope)" for weddings, funerals, new years, etc. You'll usually find these in most places where stationary supplies are sold. Ask a relative or someone in the store to point out which are for weddings. Buy a really nice decorative one. Do not get a simple white one with the regular bow-shaped tie in front. Never the bow-type for weddings. Also ask a relative or hotel front desk personnel how to write your name on it.

As for the amount of money, how old are you and how are you related to the bride/groom? The accepted norm in general -- Sibling: 100,000yen (same amount if you are attending as couple)- the amount here can be a little flexible (consult a family member). Your niece/nephew: either 30,000y or 50,000y depending on closeness (if attending as couple 50,000y). Your cousin/other relatives: 30,000y (if attending as couple 50,000y). For friends, and people outside the family (e.g.business relations) 30,000y (50,000y if you're a couple). If you are in your 20's (up to mid 20's), 20,000y is acceptable.

The basic rule is "odd numbers"- 30,000y, 50,000y, 70,000y, with the exception of 20,000y and 100,000y being OK and 90,000y not OK. "Odd nos." mean the couple won't split up, whereas "even nos." are easily divided. Also, "4" is "shi"(connotates "death") and "9" is "ku"(suffering).

I hope I didn't confuse you too much. I am in my 30's, and I wrap 30,000yen for all my friends and family, 50,000yen when attending with my husband and 8yr old daughter. I'm not sure about siblings yet, because my brother's still single. BTW he gave us a DVD player for our wedding gift worth about 80,000y, which he probably bought for less in Akihabara - smart, I think.

The money must be in new 10.000y bills, "new" - meaning no creases, dirt, so the couple can start off with their "fresh, new life" together.

You'll hand your "shugibukuro" with the cash gift inside at the entrance of the wedding party at the reception desk where you write your name on the guest list.

At the wedding, you will see a lot of male family members wearing black suits with white ties - the formal wear for weddings (the same black suit with a black tie is the formal wear for funerals btw). But I think other colors will be fine - just don't wear a black tie.

For women, an elegant dress or suit. Don't wear white though, that's the bride's color. Also, if you have to wear black, just make sure it's really dressy to avoid looking like funeral wear (black dress/suit with black hose and shoes, usually w/single strand pearl necklace).

Enjoy! I love weddings.

Hong Kong
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4. Re: Japan wedding custom

Dear Edokko and Sattie,

Thanks so much for your reply. It has been a while since I visited this website and I am delighted to find out some info. The wedding will be end of this month and I will now have some idea of what to do. Thanks again!

Aoyama Dori and San...
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5. Re: Japan wedding custom

Y30000 is safe, especially if you are non-Japanese. Be sure to write your name and the amount enclosed on the outside of the envelope. When you buy the envelope, be sure to verify that it's for a wedding (kekkon shiki).

Also, if you are not travelling alone, be sure to verify exactly who was invited to the wedding. Typically, couples do not attend weddings, only singles unless explicitly invited or they are close family members. But, in Japan, all wedding guests are explicitly invited by name. There would be no "Cookiewatermelon and guest" invitations. You can easily verify all of this with other family members prior to the wedding party.

Afterwards, there will be multiple post-wedding parties as the couple hops from one bar to another for more drinking and celebration. Referred to in English as "second party" and "third party" it allows a chance for close friends and guests to enjoy the occasion without attending the formal kekkon shiki. Try to figure out which parties you are expected to join. The second party is typically for close friends and family, the third one might be for uninvited co-workers and other uninvited others who are friends or co-workers of the couple.

Everything is staged and scheduled tightly. There is no lingering around and delays in that room.. Once the main wedding party is over, the guests are exited from the room and it's prepared for the next wedding party. You will most likely be given a gift, something like a place setting or ceramic dishes in a shopping bag. Beware of this because you'll have to carry it home or give it away to another family member if you don't want to carry it home.

The actual wedding party usually has a master of cermonies and many people go up and make boring speeches, usually alternating from bride and groom's side. Sometimes, only a few speeches are given, sometimes a lot of them are made. Most of the time, nobody is paying attention while eating and drinking is taking place. It's quite acceptable, if you choose to be running around snapping pictures, if you're so inclined, too. Just follow the lead of others taking pictures.

Aoyama Dori and San...
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6. Re: Japan wedding custom

One more thing. You may be compensated one night for a hotel since you are coming from far away. If you don't need the room, be sure to make this clear prior to arriving, otherwise, they may book a room for you with their wedding package.

Hong Kong
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7. Re: Japan wedding custom

Dear Route246,

Hi there, thanks for your advice. I will now ask my future Japanese sister-in-law which wedding/party me and my husband will attend. Thanks so much!

Aoyama Dori and San...
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8. Re: Japan wedding custom

I hope everything goes well. There is so much protocol at Japanese weddings that is very different from western style wedding parties. The seating arrangement is extremely important. If you are part of a family contingent, don't get offended if you're sitting way in the back while the bride and groom's friends all seem to have the best tables up front. This is the protocol. At a wedding I attended for a good friend, I was seated at the second closest table (the first table is reserved for very close best friends and classmates, go-betweens and other VIPs) with some people I knew (who could speak English, too). It was all planned out very carefully. I noticed the families were way in the back and asked about this. That's when someone explained how the seating protocol is handled.

If for some reason you're asked to make a speech, don't worry about it and just say some kind words. Nobody is listening, anyway because they're too busy talking and drinking alcohol before the time expires and they have to leave the room. :-)

I've been to a few weddings since then in Japan for friends and I always just give Y30000 (which often barely covers the per person charge to the hotel) and that's always worked out OK. One time, I knew they were honeymooning in Hawaii so I gave US$300 (new bills) instead.

<<<Hi there, thanks for your advice. I will now ask my future Japanese sister-in-law which wedding/party me and my husband will attend. Thanks so much!>>>

singapore
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9. Re: Japan wedding custom

Hi, I am about to attend my brother's wedding this Dec and was clueless what to expect in a Japanese wedding.

My mom and brother will aslo be attending and I would like to know more about what is suitable attire for my mother.

much appreciate any advise available to avoid dressing wrongly for the wedding.

tks!

Aoyama Dori and San...
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10. Re: Japan wedding custom

I think any sort of conservative formal or semi-formal attire will be OK.

<<<My mom and brother will aslo be attending and I would like to know more about what is suitable attire for my mother.>>>