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Some wedding questions 2010/3/18 22:24
We are attending my nephew's wedding in a couple of weeks. The party attending from England are, myself and my huband, the groom's mother; sister and grandmother. The ceremony will be traditional. There will be an 'engagement' ceremony a couple of days before the wedding, which it appears will include a tea ceremony. Can you please advise on the following.
For the engagement ceremony what would the dress code be? We are taking light colored knee length dresses for the ladies, my husband plans to wear a grey longe suit, with light grey shirt and plain tie...will this be suitable?
For the wedding, we are wearing kimono's which the bride is hiring for us, my husband is wearing a tuxedo with a white shirt & bow tie. The temple ceremony is at 10am, the banquet I think about 2pm, do we change for this or stay in the same clothes?
What is an acceptable monetary gift we should each be giving? My mother is retired, my niece on a low income? Do my husband and I give a joint amount? There has been no fixed amount on the invitations.
We want to take a gift when we met the bride's mother at the engagement ceremony and want to take a gift from each of us, would nice English tolietries and good quality chocolates be acceptable? There may be other family members there we aren't sure, if so should be take along gifts for them also?
Your help will be most welcome, we don't want to make any errors.
by dwl  

Congratulations 2010/3/20 12:30

Congratulations on your nephew's wedding.

The dresses for the engagement ceremony sound lovely. I'm not sure what a longe suit is, but if it's an ordinary suit, I think that's lovely, too.

At the wedding banquette, you are expected to wear the same thing you wore at the wedding ceremony.

As for the monetary gift, typically expected amounts are anything between 30000 and 100000 yen per person, except for 40000 yen and 90000 yen which are obviously unlucky numbers. A typical monetary gift sum for aunts, uncles, non-student siblings and grandparents would all be 50000 yen per person. If the host(ess) has insisted on paying for your accomodation, flight tickets or kimonos, you might want to add some extra amount on your monetary gift as a gesture. The mother, of course, will not be giving the monetary gift, as she is hosting the wedding as a parent (but the groom is free to ask her for financial support).

By the way, seeing all these English questions on monetary gifts, I'm surprized there aren't English websites that explain them in detail, but here is an example in Japanese language.

Please scroll down to the middle of the page where you see 3 charts based on questionnaire.

The top chart shows average amounts. On the left row, from the top it says, siblings, aunts/uncles, cousins, other relatives, bosses and so on. The middle row shows the sums that most people answered. The right-hand row shows the average sum.

The lower charts shows average sums depending on the region. On the pink blocks, from the left it says Hokkaido, Tohoku, Northern Kanto, Tokyo, Southern Kanto, Chubu, Kinki, Chugoku, Shikoku and Kyushu.

The idea is that the couple (sometimes with financial support from parents) will be entertaining the guests with expensive meals and gifts which typically sums up to about 30000 yen per person, and they'd often plan to cover the expenses with the monetary gifts.

Typically you are expected to put neat bills in the number of envelopes according to the number of invitation cards you recieved. For example, if you recieved 1 card for the aunt/uncle couple, then the aunt/uncle couple will give 1 joint envelope. But typically you will be handing the envelope directly to your nephew in advance to the wedding day, so I don't think there's anything to be nervous about.

Also I would say, although some may disagree, that if anyone is giving an expensive item as his/her wedding gift, that person can deduct the cost of the item from the monetary gift. The wedding gifts, be it an item or cash, should be handed to the bridegroom in advance to the wedding day.

Indivisual tolietries and good quality chocolates sound very nice as greeting gifts. But if you're worried about having "other family members there," you may want to pack one big gift for "the whole family." Otherwise, I suppose you can still give indivisual gifts but keep some extra ones in your purse just in case. Either way, don't be surprised if they don't open them in front of you, because that's the traditional way, although in modern days many would open the gifts immediately.

Have fun and don't be nervous!
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