Saturday, July 6, 2013

Fusion Wedding

We recently went to a Japanese-American wedding in Tokyo. They took some parts from the Western style, some from the Japanese style, and several things unique to them. I've never been to anything quite like it.

The South Park character generator is surprisingly accurate.
(Left picture from Halloween last year)
(If you know this couple, both the South Park and watercolor welcome boards make sense.)

If you are ever invited to a wedding in Japan, be prepared for a formal event. I almost didn't find a nice enough dress because I was in Hawaii for a month, where "formal" usually means a Hawaiian shirt and khakis.

The ceremony itself was bilingual, so everything was said twice, but it was still very short. The groom walked to the front of the chapel first, the bride's father walked her down the aisle in her dress and veil, and they exchanged vows and rings. The couple stood by themselves, facing the audience, and the officiant/MC stood at a podium on the side. It was picture perfect.

See what I mean? Picture perfect.

The audience tossed rose petals as the couple walked back up the aisle, then lined up at a reception table to sign a guest book and give traditional Japanese wedding gifts - brand new, crisp money (an odd number of bills, so not easily divided) in a very fancy envelope with a specific kind of knot. (It's a different kind of knot for funerals. Don't get them confused!)

Examples of wedding envelopes, photo from here.

There was an open bar reception, and a scavenger hunt! 

The scavenger hunt and bird theme is unique to this couple. They have a cockatiel, and they wanted to incorporate her in some way, but pets aren't allowed in the hotel. They also had her birdy face printed on M&Ms that were given out as favors.

Dinner was ultra fancy, of course. Every course was art on a plate.

We started with Cobb salad with avocado, tomato, egg, tortilla chips, and paprika vinaigrette (left); Pan-seared Kyushu sea bass, balsamico and basil eggplant, zucchini, and asparagus (right).

The course I specifically wanted to mention is the "macaroni gratin with sweet corn."
Better known as "mac 'n' cheese."

The main entree for most people was beef tenderloin, snap peas, carrots, makomodake (a type of plant shoot) and creamy polenta (left). My version substituted shellfish that may have been small lobsters.

Photo on left from Mili Qu, the photo I took didn't come out right.

Dessert was soft chocolate ganache, graham cookies, marshmallows, Tahitian vanilla ice cream. With a tiny gold flake, because a dessert this fancy deserves that little finishing touch.

Otherwise known as the classiest s'mores you'll ever see.

After dinner, they cut the cake and offered a bite to each other. 

He gave her a small spoonful.

She gave him a larger spoonful.

I love this picture (by Robin Kodaira)
(A giant spoon is not a tradition anywhere, but maybe it should be.)
After dinner, the bride changed into a Cinderella-esque dress every bit as lovely as the bridal gown. I think sometimes Western brides will have more than one dress, but it's more of a Japanese tradition. Japanese wedding kimonos are said to be very heavy and uncomfortable.

Photo by Robin Kodaira
Then some fun! They held a trivia contest  - how many Disney popcorn buckets they had collected (7), what movie they saw the day he proposed (Argo), things like that. This is another thing that is unique to this couple, and it was a great way to get everyone involved.

There were also some video presentations about each of their lives from birth, through school, meeting each other, and filing the marriage paperwork. It doesn't feel right for me to link it here because it is such a personal thing, but it was a little heart-melty to see them grow up in pictures and hear the story of how they met and fell in love. I wouldn't mind that becoming a wedding standard, it's a nice touch.

There were gifts presented to the parents of the bride and groom, a few speeches, some very generous gifts given to each guest to bring home, and the whole thing wrapped up at a perfect time of evening.

Congratulations again, Jay and Chihiro! May you live a hundred happy years together.

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