Wedding banquets in Kochi are grand affairs, with long guest lists, lots of alcohol, and classic Kochi-style sawachi ryori (large platters of food). If it’s your first time at a Japanese wedding, you may be surprised to see that the couple changes their outfits several times, and that the bride and groom’s friends put on performances as entertainment.
As for attire, men should wear a suit, and women, a pretty dress. Women should also wear a bolero or shawl over their shoulders, and take care not to draw attention away from the bride and groom by wearing anything too eye-catching. Avoid wearing white, since it’s the bride’s color.
The amount may differ depending on your relationship with the couple, but guests are usually expected to bring along a gift of 20,000—30,000 yen. Some of this is used to cover some of the reception expenses, and the remainder will help the bride and groom begin their new life together. Put your gift money in a special envelope (shugi-bukuro) that has a decorative, complicated knot tied around it. This knot is called a musubi-kiri, and it symbolizes your hope that the bond between the bride and groom will never be broken. It’s important to give brand new bills, not just any old money from your wallet. You can exchange old bills for new ones at the bank. Wrap up the envelope in a large, elegant handkerchief or a fukusa (a special rectangular cloth for wrapping money). When you arrive at the banquet, hand it over at the registration desk while saying congratulations. Once you enter the banquet hall, have a fun time celebrating!
For a detailed explanation of wedding gift etiquette, see this TOSA WAVE back-issue.
In the next issue, we’ll talk about what to do when a Japanese acquaintance passes away.