My Sweet's family is not one that follows tradition. If it were, I am sure he would have ended up marrying some nice Japanese girl-next-door. His sister's wedding was an interesting combination of East meets West. She did not wear a wedding kimono, but did change dresses half way through (it is usual for the bride to wear a kimono and then change into two different Western dresses during the reception) giving her uncle the honor of escorting her to the changing room.
We started in a room with just family, bride's on the right side and groom's on the left with everyone in a particular seating order. Then each member is formally introduced individually by the father. There was lots of bowing and nary a smile cracked by anyone. Then we file into the hotel chapel which included an American pastor (My Sweet's family is not Christian) who spoke in Japanese for everything except praying. Then he shifted from a gentle "We are gathered here today..." to a deep booming "Our Heavenly Father who granteth all..." Ok, I can understand that the booming voice is part of the show (though I do not think my giggles helped), but why in English? It was not like they were in any way long or extemporanious! Oh well, I did not get a chance to ask him because he has 4 other ceremonies to preside over. But we ended the service with "What a Friend We Have in Jesus", which I found out later was a well known hymn in Japan. This song has always struck me as a bit somber for a wedding - forfeited joys and needles pains bared and all. I just pray that people who sang it will at sometime contemplate the words.
The reception had a fabulous six course meal, and my sister-in-law read the "Letter to the Parents" thanking her parents for many things that My Sweet was unable to translate. When she spoke about their late father and the regrets she had, she totally lost it. Then the bride and groom walked around the room with all parents, and the groom welcomed the bride's family as part of his family.
Of course there was the cutting of the wedding cake. But my sister-in-law did something special. After that was done, they brought out another cake for My Sweet and I to cut. You see, we never did anything official in Japan for our wedding, and because of different issues, none of his family was able to attend our wedding in America. I was totally choked up by her planning to include us on her special day. Waterproof mascara my Aunt Fanny!
One last thing - all the women in the bridal party got their hair and makeup done by the pros. Here is a telling difference between uber-polite Japan and America. When I sat down in the chair, the gal working on me said, "I like the color of your hair." Now four days earlier when I got my hair cut at home, my hairdresser watched me come in and sighed, "You colored your own hair again. You're not going to Japan like that, are you?" Here in Japan I had at one point 5 people working on me! In the end I looked like a dolled up Barbara Jean Heart from the TV show Reba. It was fun for a party. But I did notice one thing. The more makeup they applied to me, the older I looked. This is great when you are 16 and want to look like you are in your 20's. But really, when you're 40 and people tell you that you look 30, you don't want to look 45. By the way, thanks for the great genes Mom. The more make up you wear, the more people assume you have something to cover up. In the end I looked like a gal ready for a good time. Which I was!
Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!