On the last weekend I took Shinkansen (bullet train) and went to Osaka to attend a wedding party of a young office mate. Though, I already described a wedding party in my site, I find it informative and interesting to take up the same subject here, because the one I reported earlier was a modern and fashionable wedding now popular in Tokyo, however the one I experienced in Osaka yesterday followed a more popular and common style. I presume that most wedding parties which are now held in Japan still look more similar to this than the one I reported earlier.
Bride and bridegroom at their table in front of the golden screens
The wedding ceremony and the party were held in a facility of the City of Osaka which is located not far from the Osaka Castle. Office mates of the bridegroom served as receptionists. Please click the thumb nail if you want to know some information about "congratulatory gift".
It is common that brides change their dresses during the party, usually once or twice. In our case, the bride changed her clothes twice and the bridegroom once. They appeared in the party room firstly in traditional Japanese costume as you see on the photo above. They didn't use nominal matchmakers for the wedding, which sometimes happen. So, they were alone at the main table of the party, but many friends and guests, taking a bottle of wine or beer, went to them to talk and drink with them.
Following the congratulatory addresses by the main guests and the toast, the married couple cut the wedding cake (photo left
). This huge cake is of course a fake. In Tokyo fake cakes are more and more avoided. However, big cakes still seem to be dominant in most regions of Japan. The couple held a knife and posed several seconds for snapshots.
After the cake-cut ceremony, guests started eating and drinking. Typical wedding party dishes were offered, as you see parts thereof on the first photo above. The main dishes were grilled lobster and beef steak. Sashimi was also among the dishes. Some 10 dishes were already set when guests were guided into the party room. Beer and rice wine were served. What I described there does not seem to be a standard in Osaka yet.
Then, guests were requested to come to the microphone to congratulate the couple on their wedding. It is common that some of the guests, usually class mates who are previously so requested, sing songs such as "my way" (in English or translation). Here, however, except for only a few cases all guests who were asked to say congratulation sang songs with karaoke. During the absence of the married couple for changing clothes, volunteers were asked by the mistress of the ceremony to sing and many volunteered.
The sisters and a cousin of the bridegroom sang twice (photo left
). One of the elder brothers of the bride came up to the microphone and encouraged the bride that she might at any time come back to the parents' house if the bridegroom was not kind enough to her, and sang a song accordingly. Young people sang new songs and old people sang old songs. They all looked to be in ecstasies while they were singing and the "karaoke party" continued nearly three hours without interruption !
After the first change of dresses. The bride is in the royal blue evening dress.
While guests were enjoying karaoke and congratulatory telegrams were read out by the master of ceremony, the married couple changed their dresses and appeared in Western style (photo left
). The bride, however, sat on her seat only a short while and left the room again, guided by her father, to change her clothes again.
When the bride came back again she was covered by a snow white wedding dress. She was accompanied by the bridegroom and the couple visited each of the guest tables and lit a candle in the center of the table (so called "candle service" (photo left
) and a part of a standard menu of wedding parties.). Having visited all tables, they went to a big candle set up next to the main table and lit the candle surrounded by hundreds of small candles with twinkling tiny electric bulbs arranged in a heart shape.
Then the parents of the couple stood up and received bouquets from their married children as symbols of the gratitude. The father of the bridegroom represented the whole families and relatives of the married couple and thanked the guests. The bridegroom also took a microphone and thanked the parents and the party guests.
Then, the end of the wedding party was announced. Guests took a bagful souvenir (in Tokyo usually only a small piece of wedding cake and a small thing for memory are distributed) and headed for their home.
The young couple is leaving for the honeymoon journey in France and Italy. Bon Voyage !