Two of Ted’s former university students got married and we were invited to the wedding, which was held at a hotel in Sapporo. The bride is the first Japanese student I met, as she accompanied my husband and his supervisor to pick me up at the airport in the middle of a blizzard when I moved to Japan. Here is a picture of her on her birthday the first year we were in Hokkaido.
This was my first Japanese wedding. Ted had attended a few when he lived in Japan before, but this was his first wedding in Hokkaido, which has its own rules and traditions about things. Money is given at a Japanese wedding, no toasters or china place settings or other gifts. In the rest of Japan, friends are expected to give at least 30,000 yen and family members 50,000 yen or more. In Hokkaido, every person pays a set amount (listed on the wedding invitation) at the door. In this case, it was 16,000 yen.
First was the ceremony at 5 o’clock, held in a chapel like room even though this was not a Christian ceremony. It looked like a Western wedding, with the bride wearing a long white gown and veil, but there were no bridesmaids or attendants. The couple read from a book and exchanged rings and kissed. Flower petals were thrown and pictures taken and the couple left.
Next, the guests mingled and drank “welcome drinks” until the reception started at 6:30 pm.
This was a very large reception. Each table had eight or ten people and there was a gift bag on the chair of each person. When we later opened our gifts back at the hotel room, we found wonderful Japanese sweets.
We were seated at a table right in front of the bride and groom’s table, which was on a little stage. The bride and groom came into the reception wearing beautiful traditional Japanese wedding kimonos.
There were speeches and toasts and entertainment and many many photos, while plate after plate of delicious food was served.
At some point, the bride and groom left and returned a few minutes later, with the bride wearing a red gown and the groom a formal suit. They went around to each table and lit candles that started out like sparklers. The food continued to come. As with all Japanese social events, no one allows your alcohol glass to empty. If you want to stop drinking, you just have to leave your glass full, you can’t refuse a refill.
We thoroughly enjoyed the wedding. Best wishes, Miku and Yoshito!