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American groom's mother 2010/8/5 07:42
I am a recent widow and will be going to Japan for the first time for the wedding next month. I have met the bride but not her family. My aunt and uncle are accompanying me and he will also perform the Christian portion of the elaborate wedding. What do we need to know as guests and family of the groom and what is my responsibility in regards to the wedding?
by Susu2dru  

... 2010/8/5 11:19
In general, coming from overseas, you can't and won't be expected to take care of complex issues associated with the wedding arrangements.

Assuming the wedding is going through a bridal company, everything is done for you anyway. You just have to keep in mind when to show up where and make sure you have the proper attire.
(You might want to look into getting fitted for a kimono!)

It would probably help if you learned and practiced some simple greetings in Japanese. Also have your son translate any speech (short!) you may want to give at the wedding.

During the ceremony, you will be ushered here and there for pictures, toasts, etc., but in general greatest responsibility is to smile, not drink too much (it's a long day), and enjoy yourself.

Also, understand that your son may not have that much time for you, which can be difficult as a parent on such an important occasion (especially having traveled so far).

Make sure you have a provisional plan for how to spend your time before and after the wedding. Your son may have every hour planned out for you but chances are, he's so wrapped up in his own craziness that might not be the case.
Be independent and have fun while you're here, it's a wonderful and beautiful country.

by kyototrans rate this post as useful

Wedding attire 2010/8/5 13:39
Thank you for your prompt and informative response to my question. The wedding is being done by a professional wedding company and I realize everything will be carefully planned and executed. I do not plan on wearing a kimono though the bride's mother will be. My thought was to wear western formal evening attire. Is this appropriate? Also, I do not drink. Will the bride's family be offended? Am I also supposed to bring a monetary gift to the wedding and if so, what is the expected amount from the groom's family?
by Susu2dru rate this post as useful

... 2010/8/5 14:39
It's fine if you don't drink.
Accept a glass of something (wine, beer, or champagne usually) and leave it full in front of you.
If you drink your alcohol, someone around you will fill it up again (gesture of respect) so keep in mind that if you're not careful, you could end up sipping from a bottomless glass!

In Japan, there is something called yuino
(http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&q=yuino+wedding&aq=f&aqi=&...) - a gift-giving ceremony that is practiced between some Japanese families (old-fashioned, demanded by some, skipped by others).

I think bringing nice gift from you to the bride's mother is a good idea, especially if your son will be staying in Japan.
When they hit a rough spot in their relationship in the next few years, having her mother on your son's side can often save the marriage.

You should find out what her mother and father enjoy but I think fine crystal or Wedgewood are safe universal choices for this occasion.

Guests to hotel weddings take 30,000 yen (around 280US$) per person.
As the mother, you will not be expected to take a gift or money to the actual event.

You probably already know this but hotel weddings typically cost 30,000-50,000 yen per person to hold so even small weddings cost the equivalent of US$25-30,000 and upwards.

Sometimes it helps to know who is paying for what because those conversations are always being had in the background and often come back up later in life.

Any monetary gift you give the couple you should give directly to your son (in private when his wife is not around and strongly emphasize that it's an emergency fund).

Provide a separate non-monetary gift to the bride.

Obviously, none of this is set in stone! This is my advice on transversing some of the bad aspects of getting married in Japan... -_-;

by kyototrans rate this post as useful

pouring 2010/8/5 21:45
I wouldn't accept any alcoholic drink at any point even to have in front of you as what tends to happen is that older relatives come around pouring beer for each person as a kind of greeting, and if your glass is full you are expected to take a sip out of it so that they can pour a bit in- at my sister-in-law's wedding I ended up drinking much more beer than I wanted to that way.

Nobody will be offended by you not drinking alcohol, there are plenty of Japanese people who can't or don't as well. They normally have their own bottle of oolong tea or water which the staff will bring at the beginning, then if you have the relatives coming around they can pour from that bottle instead of a beer bottle.

Formal evening wear will be fine- you won't be expected to wear a kimono.
by Sira (guest) rate this post as useful

Hosting a Wedding as a Parent 2010/8/6 12:50
Christian ceremonies aren't that different from those in say Europe or the Americas. As suggested, it's the banquette that can be a bit different and, in fact, each Japanese family or region has its own way of doing things.

For example, some parents may insist on going around tables to pour drinks and some may not. In my J to J wedding, my in-laws went around while my parents didn't and they get along fine.

Some wedding couples may insist that they present bouquets and read letters to their parents at the end of the banquette. We decided we don't do this and finished the banquette with a father's speech.

In Western weddings, you might see a father or best man ringing a glass for attention so that he can start a speech. In banquettes in Japan, typically the father of the groom makes one speech on behalf of both parents and this will be arranged in advance rather than to let it happen with a ringing of a glass.

Either way, as mentioned, everything will be discussed in advance among the couple and parents of both sides and informed to the wedding company so that it can be arranged well. If you are hesitant about making speeches, you can go ahead and suggest the bride's father to do it, or of course there is nothing wrong about doing it yourself.

As mentioned, there is no right or wrong when it comes to weddings. Whatever the couple and parents agree on is the best.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

Appreciation for assistance 2010/8/6 13:40
Thank you all for your help. Since my husband is no longer living my uncle will make any speech that is appropriate for the occasion. My son's future in-laws appear to be very pleased that we are coming for the wedding and my son has a very good relationship with them. He has been living in Japan for 6 yrs and will most likely remain. Both the bride and her parents speak English so hopefully there will not be any miscommunication regarding wedding expecations. I don't want to humiliate my son or insult his in-laws with my ignorance of Japanese culture. I hope to represent my country and family with Southern charm and grace and not appear to be rude and overbearing. Thank you again for your help.
by Susu2dru rate this post as useful

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