And the Two Shall Become One

by

Patrick and Kimiko have officially tied the knot. While the actual wedding was small (mostly family); we had a large reception with food and drink. Someone said they were expecting sixty guests, but there was no RSVP so I can’t imagine how they arrived at the estimate. We were packed in and I will put my guess closer to 100. We signed a guest book as we paid, so someone will have better numbers, but I think a number of late arriving guests didn’t sign the book.

One colleague let me know that he performed the ceremony. I was surprised by this, because I was reasonably certain he had no licensing or ordainment. Another colleague has performed numerous ceremonies, but I heard he is ordained – though possibly from some mail order service. Feeling a need to relieve my astonishment, I asked a series of questions.

As expected my friend has no authority; however, none is required. He described it as “essentially an acting job”, there being no legal requirement attached to this activity. Naturally, legal paperwork must be completed for a wedding to be official, but that has nothing to do with the ceremony.

Jokingly, I asked, “So it would be OK to have clowns with balloons, children dressed as elves, confetti, and magicians?” Which he quickly affirmed. Of course, the Wedding Chapel businesses promote all of these things in their ads. People view these chapels, which look more like hotels, as the place to have a “Western” wedding. If I get married, it might have to be at one of these places, because I could never get a Western wedding like that in the Western world.

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2 Responses to “And the Two Shall Become One”

  1. kat Says:

    I like how you casually slid in… “We signed a guest book as we paid…” As if that’s the most perfectly normal thing in the world. I’ve seen some strange things at weddings (though, no clowns, elves or magicians), but I’ve never PAID to see the strange things… When I get married, it might have to be in one of these “Western world chapel / hotels” you speak of. I’m sure my parents would be thrilled when I told them the guests would be taking care of the reception expenses…

  2. びっくり Says:

    Kat – Thanks for posting. I hope having a post from you in January is not a sign that you have used up your one post for the year. Rather, I hope it is a sign that you are going to post two or three times this year! Also, be warned: if you come to visit, I may require you to write a guest post. 🙂

    A proper wedding in Japan does not require the guests to pay for their meal and drinks; however, there are a lot of rules about gift giving which include monetary gifts. At the wedding, the family gives commemorative gifts to each guest. After the wedding, the family sends gifts of thanks, which I think are based on a percentage of the gift they received.

    My guess is that all the rules would have been too complex for the largely foreign host of guests at the party, so they opted for a party-like atmosphere. The groom’s band did perform a live concert, too.

    If you want to arrange a chapel wedding, just let me know when you are visiting and I will line up some young man who is willing. 😉

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