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Wedding Traditions in Japan – Japanese Wedding Invitation & Gift

August 9, 2017|Lena
Invitation and Wedding Gift Japanese wedding traditions and customs
You have been invited to a wedding in Japan. If you go, expecting it to be similar to weddings in your own country you will in one way or another make a fool of yourself (most likely not even realizing it). So, here are the important points on wedding traditions in Japan and everything you need to know before you attend a wedding in Japan. I want you to be able to attend this beautiful ceremony without any blunder on your part.
 
Because there is so much to tell you I decided to split the topic into two parts.
Part one is about “How to reply to an invitation and what kind of wedding gift to prepare”
The second part will tell you everything you need to know about the traditional Japanese wedding ceremony itself.
 
So, here we go!!!
You will get an invitation by mail. Like in other countries you are expected to answer to the invitation within a certain timeframe, so don’t forget about it. The postcard to answer is handed to you in your invitation letter (same as in most other countries) but filling it out correctly is quite hard if you are Japanese, and impossible if you are a foreigner.
 
Best you just look at the example below and fill it in exactly as it is written there step by step.
japanese wedding invitation reply
On the address side of the card are the name and address of the person inviting you to their wedding.
 
The other side of the postcard contains all the other information, like whether you attend or not, your address and name, and some space to write a short note. 
 
Now do the following six steps to fill in your Japanese wedding invitation reply:
 
  1. You need to cross out the iki (行) meaning “to” with two vertical lines and write sama (様) next to it. Which is the honorific form for addressing a person.
  2. Circle shusseki (出席) meaning “attend” and cross out the go (御) in front. It is an honorific word that you shouldn’t use for yourself and it, therefore, needs to be crossed out. This now reads as: I am attending.
  3. Cross out gokesseki (御欠席) meaning “not attending”
  4. Again, cross out go (御)  and write your address (writing in English is totally fine)
  5. As before, cross out go (御) again and write your name (here also English is ok I think)
  6. You have some space to write a short message. Something in the way of: Congratulations, thank you so much for inviting me and I am looking forward to your wedding.

Preparing a Gift

The Japanese don’t give presents, they gift money when they are invited to a wedding. This might seem a little unemotional to some people. I think of it as practical, because the guests don’t have the trouble of having to select a present.
 
There are 2 things that are important to know about the money gift!

How Much You Should Give

Here are a couple of guidelines how to decide how much money you should give according to the wedding traditions in Japan:
  1. If you are attending alone and you rank at the same level (friends, colleagues etc.), it is customary to give 30,000 Yen.
  2. In case you attend as a couple, you give money together. Normally 50,000 Yen.
  3. If the person is far younger and you are in your 30s/40s you might want to consider giving 50,000 Yen.
  4. In case you are still a student and don’t earn any money, it is okay to give less. Something like 10,000 Yen.
  5. Never give even amounts (dividable by 2) as this is seen as bad luck for the couple.
(What I just told you are more guidelines than rules, they are changing and there are nowadays people who give 20,000 Yen, but to be sure I would go by the above rules.)
 
Important! Make sure to get nice looking banknotes without any wrinkles or folds.

The Right Envelope for the Japanese Wedding Gift

You can get an envelope in every convenience store or 100 yen shop. Probably also in supermarkets and drug stores. Just make sure that you don’t buy the wrong one (there are envelopes for other occasions like funerals).
 
Some have English text nowadays like “Happy Wedding”. If there is only Japanese text buy the most colorful envelope. It will be the right one.
 
You can also simply buy a beautiful Japanese wedding gift envelope on amazon.com the ones on offer there are quite beautiful.
Now for the content. Put the banknotes in the envelope with the face on the banknotes facing up. Like in the picture below. On the strip with the Happy Wedding on top put your own name on the bottom.
japanese wedding gift

Now for the back of the white envelope (it goes in the blue outside envelope). You write the bride or grooms name and address.

japanese wedding gift

What to Wear to a Japanese Wedding as a Guest

In the old days, Japanese weddings had a very strict dress-code. Men wore black suits with a white tie. Nowadays men can wear suits in colors other than black and colorful ties. But a suit and tie are mandatory.
 
As a girl, you should wear a dress. Make sure to cover your shoulders and also that the dress is not too short (knee length). Many girls go to a hair salon to get their hair in a nice updo for the occasion.
 
I just recently learned that you aren’t supposed to wear open shoes to a Japanese wedding, because if you can see the toes (tsumasaki), which sounds the same in Japanese as “the wife goes first”,it will bring bad luck to the marriage. 

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To Wrap Up

There, the preparations, like replying to the Japanese wedding invitation and preparing a wedding gift are done and you are now ready for the big day (of someone else). The next step is learning about the traditional Japanese Wedding ceremony.
 
And if you happen to be in Japan for a wedding it is the perfect time to also explore the country, don’t you think? Here are a couple of posts that might be of interest to you:
Booking.com

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Invitation and Wedding Gift - Japanese Wedding Traditions and Customs | Wedding in Japan | Wedding Ceremony | Cultural Travel | Japanese Culture | #Travel #CulturalExchange
Wedding Traditions in Japan - Japanese Wedding Invitation | Japanese wedding Gift | Wedding Present | Wedding in Japan | Wedding Ceremony in Japan | Traditional Wedding in Japan | #JapanTravel

Lena

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Authors Note:
None of the experiences in this post are in any way sponsored and have all been payed for by myself. The opinions stated are all my own and have not been influenced in any way.
This posts contains affiliate links. I receive a commission if a product is purchased through one of these links, at no extra cost to you. Please support me by purchasing products through my links!

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About Lena

Hi, I'm Lena the founder of The Social Travel Experiment. My mission is to help bussy millennials plan an unforgettable trip around the world, through stays with locals, without wasting valuable time and money.

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About Lena

Hi, I'm Lena the founder of The Social Travel Experiment. My mission is to help bussy millennials plan an unforgettable trip around the world, through stays with locals, without wasting valuable time and money.

Find out more About Me and The Social Travel Experiment

If you are a business we might be able to work together so check out the Work With Me page for more details

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