Being invited to Wedding ceremonies are always nice, but there are many things you should know about. To celebrate the Japanese bride and groom in a pleasant way, what do you have to know? Today let’s take a look at 7 important things you might want to know.
1) R.S.V.P Invitation
There are many kinds of Wedding invitations, but most of them have a return card inside of the envelope. The card asks you whether you can attend the ceremony or not with your message to the couple. Write down all necessary information with a ballpoint pen or a fountain pen, and send it back within 2-3 days. If it is difficult because of the tight schedule you have, you should at least send it back by the deadline the card indicates. They are hectic preparing for the ceremony, and scheduling everything could be driving them crazy. Let’s help them with your quick response.
Although the card should be returned by the deadline, sometimes your schedules can be unconfirmed because of many reasons. In such an occasion, you can call, email, or text them and let them know about that situation, and tell them if you can attend or not as soon as you know it.
2) Money gift for Wedding (Goshu-gi)
In Japan when attending the wedding ceremony, money gift in a special envelope is expected. It is called “Goshu-gi” in Japanese. The bank bills should be newly printed without any creases. If the bride or groom is your friend, usually 20,000 to 30,000 yen is the average amount, and if it’s your relative related, the amount should be from 50,000 to 100,000 yen, depending on how many members in your family attending the ceremony.
When you place 30,000 yen in the envelope, usually three 10,000 yen bills should be prepared. However, if you can afford only 20,000 yen, prepare one 10,000 yen bill and two 5,000 yen bills. Even numbers of bills are considered as a bad fortune because they can be divided, evoking the marring couple’s separation. This custom has been changing slowly, but it is always better to wear a belt and braces. In case you cannot come to the ceremony, the average amount of money gift for your marring friend is 10,000 yen. They don’t need to prepare a seat, dinner and wedding bomboniere (favor) for you in that case, so 10,000 yen is enough to celebrate them. However, a wedding gift is more popular than money gift of you don’t attend the ceremony.
3) Envelope for money gift for Wedding (Goshu-gi bag)
We use special envelope for the money gift in such occasions. You can find such bags at stationery stores and even at convenience stores. Choose the one with a string that cannot be untied (Musubikiri) style. Musubikiri strings cannot be untied, which means the marrying couple’s ever-lasting happiness without separation. Ribbon bows come loose and undone, so you should avoid this style. If you don’t know which one to choose, the one saying “Wedding” in alphabets on the cover is ok, or just asking the sales clerk works out fine.
Choose the appropriate envelope depending on how much you are going to give them. If the amount is 30,000 yen, the envelope shouldn’t be too gorgeous: about 300 yen to 450 yen bag is most popular for that amount.
Once envelop is chosen, the next step you have to do is writing down your name, home address, and the amount of money with an ink brush pen. The money bag has two envelops and several slits to write down your name. Place bills into the white envelope inside and put it into the outer envelope. Write down your home address and the amount on the inside envelope, then write your full name on the slit to attach onto the middle cover of the outer envelope. Ink brush pen can be found at stationery shops or convenience stores also.
4) Prepare Fukusa
It is taboo to put Goshu-gi bag directly into your bag or pocket. We wrap the Goshu-gi bag into a silk wrapping cloth called Fukusa. Fukusa is specifically made for a money envelop to use for Wedding, Funerals, and Buddhist sermons. If you plan to stay in Japan for a long period, I recommend you to have one.
5) When and How
On the Wedding ceremony day, where and how to hand it over is the question. First a bridal ceremony is held, then the reception is following. We hand over the Goshu-gi to the usher at the reception hall before entering the hall. First, walk up to the usher and introduce yourself. Then take the money bag out of Fukusa, face the envelope towards the receiver and hand it to them with both hands, saying “Konotabi wa makotoni omedeto gozaimasu” or phrases to congratulate them. In most cases, they are friends of the couple. As soon as all the participants entered the hall, they will bring the money bags to the couple’s parents.
6) Outfit for Ladies
Avoid a white dress. White dress is a bride’s prerogative, so it’s not acceptable to stand out than the bride. Casual outfit such as jeans or T-shirt, and mini-dress, bare-top dress, black or fishnet stocking, and open-toe shoes should be avoided. Sleeveless dress with a bolero on it works out fine. Some ladies wear Kimono, too.
7) Outfit for Men
A formal suit with a white or silver-grey tie is most popular. A tuxedo with a black bow tie is fine, too. As same as ladies, casual outfit such as jeans and sneakers should be avoided, as well as gaudy outfit or patterned cloths.
A wedding day is a very special event in their life. Let’s celebrate the happy couple in a right way and enjoy yourself too!