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Wedding in Japan: Gifts 2008/7/28 18:37
My fiancee and I have our wedding planned for next year. It will be held in Japan at a Japanese wedding venue. Neither of us are Japanese and both of our families will be flying in to attend. In addition, we have many Japanese friends and co-workers whom we will invite. The guest list will be about half Japanese, half not.

Our issue is the combining of two differnt cultures; the matter of wedding gifts and gift money. We anticipate that our Japanese guests will wish (though it's entirely their choice) to give the customary monetary gift, however our international guests won't be doing this. We don't want to cause discomfort or embarassment to our Japanese guests by not having the "facilities" set up to recieve their monetary gifts, but we dont want to offend our international guests if they see our Japanese guests offering money-shaped envelopes when they are not...

We toyed with the idea of mentioning on the invitation that it will be a 100% western style wedding, but I feel that that is a)rude and b)won't give specific enough information.

Any suggestions on how to delicately handle the merging of two different cultures with this issue? Gifts are one of those wedding taboo topics that nobody is willing to talk to me about but nonetheless it is an issue for me!
by Kate  

. 2008/7/29 16:57
I'm not sure if I understand.

In Japan, banquette guests are free to either (1) bring enclosed cash or to (2) send an item in advance and pay nothing. I myself is Japanese and have done both depending on the relationship or situation. Guests who come empty-handed just say the "Congratulations" and sign their names at the reception. No problem.

Or are you saying that you don't want to accept cash at all from anyone? So are you hosting a 30000 yen per person worth of feast for free? If that is the case, you can mention you won't be accepting cash (go-shuugi) and the reception staff should strictly mention so if anyone should bring them. However I'm quite sure that those who were intending to bring cash would feel obligated to give you a non-cash gift, meaning they need to go to the store, take their time to choose something, and then take their time to have it wrapped and sent to your home.

My suggestion is to either (A) strictly accept no gift from anyone, be it money or item or (B) let the guests be free to send an item in advance or bring cash on the spot. If you're worried about foreign guests feeling uncomfortable seeing cash, that's what reception staffs are for; to explain and to comfort.
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