Attending a traditional wedding in Japan: the party
This is the final post of my story about my first traditional wedding in Japan. If you missed the first two posts and you are curious you can find them here:
Attending a traditional wedding in Japan: the preparations
Attending a traditional wedding in Japan: the ceremony
This last post is going to be about the party. We deserved some fun after all the picture taking effort.
Usually the party is made by two separate events, one is the official banquet with relatives and some very close friends, called Hiroen (披露宴), the second part is less formal and it is called Nijikai (二次会). The second event is an after-party, it is usually joined by a larger number of friends and coworkers and takes place in a different place than the banquet. In general the banquet takes place in a traditional restaurant serving kaiseki cuisine and the after party in a western style venue.
We were invited to the nijikai so after the ceremony at the shrine we went home and had lunch. We were staying at my boyfriend parents’ house so when we arrived home there was a delicious curry prepared by his mom for us. Don’t know if I mentioned this already but she is the kitchen queen.
Back to the wedding story now. Around 5 pm we started to get ready for the party, I changed to a knee length blue dress and my boyfriend changed only his tie to a blue one. The after-party was starting at 6.30 in an Italian restaurant in downtown Kyoto.
We were among the firsts to arrive and at our arrival two of the bride friends were waiting for us at a table at the entrance. Their role is the uketsuke, literally translated “the receptionists”. Their role is to get the envelopes with the money from the guests and let the guests sign the guest book. It is a delicate role because they might be responsible for a lot of money if there are many friends at the party.
The room was big enough to host around 50 people and there were 5 big tables for the guests and a special table for the bride and the groom decorated with flowers. On a side there was a white cloth and a projector was placed in front of it.
The bride’s friends showed their place to all the guests and the groom arrived to receive blessings and congratulations from his friends. When all the guest were sitting at their place the groom went to the next room to get the bride and make the official entrance with her. They were both changed into western style wedding clothes, both in white. She was wearing a beautiful white princess gown with tiny lace sleeves and he was wearing grey trousers and a matching jacket in a slightly darker white shade.
The party started with the projection of a short video prepared by friends showing pictures of the couple and then the waiters started to serve us the food for dinner.
While we were eating we stood up to go to the bride and groom table to take pictures, offer beer and make a toast with them. I think they could barely eat because all the time there was somebody at their table. While the first dish was served two friends took the center of the room to make a performance to entertain the guests and the newly weds. These performances are called Yokyou (余興) and they can include singing, playing an instrument or dancing. Even the groom made a performance and dedicated an old Japanese romantic song to his bride.
After the performances and while the second dish was served it was time for the lottery! I loved this idea. Some friends prepared a number of multiple choice questions about the love story of the couple and guests had to write the right answer on a piece of paper and put it in a box. The bride and the groom then draw one name among the ones who gave the correct answer and the person earned a prize! I didn’t win but really enjoyed the game.
The party ended obviously with the cake! The waiters gave a tiny spoon to the groom to feed the bride while she was given a very large spoon to feed him the cake. There is no need to say that he had more cake on the face than in the mouth. Funny moment!
Here comes the end! Hope you enjoyed my story and if you have questions or comments leave me a reply!
Cheers from Ichigo Soda o(*>ω<*)o
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