Sunday, 24 February 2013

Japanese Weddings

This is the second part of my series on Asian weddings. If you'd like to read the first part dedicated to the Indian Wedding, you'll find it right here.

Traditional Japanese weddings (known as 'shinzen shiki') are usually conducted in the Shinto tradition by a Shinto priest. These were usually held in shrines, but today in modern-day Japan, are often held in smaller shrines located within reception centres and hotels. The traditional wedding in Japan is a very formal affair, with the bride wearing an amazing costume consisting of a pure white kimono known as a 'shiro-maku' (the only time she will be allowed to wear this traditional dress, as in the Japanese culture the shiro-maku is associated with unmarried women only). They also wear two different styles of very elaborate head dress. The tsunokakushi is a large, white cloth often made of silk. This headpiece is traditionally worn to, 'veil the bride's horns of jealousy, ego and selfishness' and to help her become an (ahem!) 'obedient and loyal wife'. The other headpiece is known as the watabōshi, which is a large, white hood.

There are historically two different types of weddings in Japan: the miai (or arranged marriage), and the ren'ai - where the couple have met in the 'modern way', independently of any arrangement, and decide to marry on their own. Since the second world war, the miai-style marriage has diminished somewhat in popularity, and today the greater percentage of marriages are all ren'ai.

Japanese bride in traditional costume (left) and a Shinto temple (below).

In the traditional style, the groom wears a black kimono, otherwise known as a 'montsuki'. This will usually bear his family crest on the back of the costume, and he'll traditionally match this with black, gray or white pinstripe pants called 'hakama'.

The ceremony itself is conducted in front of friends and family, with traditional Japanese music playing in the background such as flutes (or 'fue') and the sanshin (a three-stringed instrument).

Saki plays a very large part in not only the traditional Japanese wedding ceremony, but also in the lead-up to it as well. The Yui-no ritual, which takes place prior to the wedding day, is when the bride and groom's parents come together and exchange gifts. This tradition involves exchanging a cask of sake made from the wood of a willow tree. This gift ensures a harmonious start to married life for the happy couple, as the cask represents a desire for a peaceful relationship and a happy future. During the ceremony itself, the San-San-Kudo ritual involves the bride and groom, and often members of the bridal party as well, sipping from several cups of saki. This is seen as a bonding ritual which unites both families of the bride and groom together.

In the 21st century, many Japanese couples opt to have a western-style ceremony as well as the traditional Shinto one, and choose western style bridal gowns. These ceremonies are almost identical to traditional western weddings, but for one important exception. The person performing the ceremony will not be a christian minister, as the majority of Japanese are Buddhists and it is not acceptable, on the whole, to be married by a representative of another religion. Modern Japanese brides see their wedding ceremony as many western brides do today - as mainly a secular affair, with fashion, style and family being the focus of the day, rather than any deep religious meaning.

Well that's it for this week, I hope you enjoyed the read. :) Watch out for more Asian wedding themes over the next few weeks. In the meantime, here are some more ideas for a Japanese-style wedding:~

Japanese Koi Wedding Invitation - Lavender
Japanese Koi Wedding Invitation - Lavender by hapagirldesigns
Shop for Japanese Invitations online at


Japanese patterns Invitation
Japanese patterns Invitation by _Papeterie
Find other Illustration Invitations at

Tairyouki Post Cards
Tairyouki Post Cards by Kyou_Miyabi
Check out Japan Postcards online at zazzle





South Gate Cards
South Gate Cards by moonrisings
Shop for a greeting card on



The Elegant Wedding (aka Graphic Allusions) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Vintage Weddings

Vintage weddings lend themselves to a wonderful array of colors, design options, and beautiful, one-of-a-kind wedding favors. Not to mention a wide choice of fashion options for your wedding gown. The term 'vintage' itself, covers many eras, from the mid-19th century to the mid 20th century. So, with around 100 years of ideas to whet your creative appetite, there's a lot to choose from, and even more to be inspired by.

Whether you're thinking a late 19th-century Victorian theme, a 1920's theme, or a rock'n'roll 1950's wedding, you don't have to look very far for inspiration. You'll find it in the media, on television and films (such as Downton Abbey or Kate Winslet's costumes from the Titanic, or retro 1940's movies from the golden era of Hollywood, etc.) You'll also find plenty of it in fashion magazines, novels, vintage stores and yes - even wedding blogs! Whichever era you choose, there really is only one golden rule: just make sure there's no mixing and matching - choose a particular era and stick with it, all the way through from the wedding invitations and RSVP announcements to the reception. It's no good having a cute, 1960's pop art invitation design, and then race out and buy lovely, Victorian vintage lace handkerchiefs for wedding favors to leave for your guests on the tables at the reception. Your guests may find it cute, but some may find it a bit confusing, not knowing what type of wedding they're attending! Now I'm not saying you shouldn't do whatever you want for your own wedding, and if mixing and matching eras is something you have your heart set on, well then go ahead and do it. However unless you have a very solid plan in mind, and are confident in your choices (and perhaps have a fine arts degree in design or fashion) then forget it. Stick with the plan, with one specific theme, and you can't go wrong.

Now, for some ideas. I'm just throwing a few out there off the top of my head for some inspiration - I'm sure you can take some of these ideas and improve on them even more, and make them suitable for what YOU want to do (and no mixing and matching - ha ha) :)

O.k, so....

1950's ideas: a jukebox at the wedding reception where guests can select their own classic hits from the 50's; beautiful poodle style skirts for the bridesmaids; lots of tulle petticoats for the bride and stiletto shoes - same for the bridesmaids; ponytails for the bridesmaids and flower girls; strings of pearls (they don't have to be real!); reception menus printed up like the top 40 hit parade - with actual hits from the era (i.e. Buddy Holly, Bill Haley, etc.); classic cars to take the bride to the church and reception - and of course to take the newlyweds off onto their honeymoon too; bright, vivid colors...pinks, powder blues, lemons, oranges, bright greens; ducktail hair for the groom and groomsmen.

1920's ideas: flapper dresses with drop waists for the bridesmaids, mother of the bride, etc; parasols for the flower girls to hold; beautiful tea-stained wedding invitations reminiscent of that era; silk flowers for wedding favors on the tables at the reception; silk scarves with fringes on (a la Isadora Duncan) or long, flowing muslin draped across the tables, or draped over the backs of chairs at the reception; dried flower arrangements in old bottles and vases (scour the second-hand and vintage stores, gargage sales, or ebay for these - reproductions are fine, and your guests will never be the wiser!); beaded curtains and brightly colored drapes and arrases to hang across walls; reproduction vintage jewellery for wedding favors or gifts for the bridesmaids and other female members of the bridal party; the groom and male members of the bridal party could wear plaid or pinstripe suits with braces; vintage roadster cars for the trip to and from the reception.

1890's ideas: horses and carriage to take you to, and from the church. Victorian decorations and wedding favors, in popular colors from the era, such as red, dark pink, dark green, mauve, burgundy, and purple. If you need some inspiration for decorating ideas, look no further than William Morris. Morris was (and still is) a very influential English textile designer from the Victorian era whose influence has carried on down through the years in everything from wallpaper to furniture design. Think of large, scrolling, floral patterns in strong colors and fabulous, flocked wall art that was prevalent during the turn of the 19th/20th century.

How about some beautiful pearl drop earrings for the bride and bridesmaids? Victorian reproduction jewellery is quite inexpensive (on the whole) and easy to find. Once again, hit the vintage and second-hand stores and also try websites like etsy for some wonderful, one-of-a-kind handmade jewellery. Some of it is absolutely gorgeous, and much, much cheaper than you'd find in a vintage jewellery store.

O.k. well that's about all I can think of for the moment - and I feel like I've only scratched the surface. Remember, these are just suggestions to get your own inspiration up and running - I'm sure you will come up with even more ideas, and probably better ones at that! And finally, whatever era you set it in, good luck with your vintage wedding. :)

As usual, here are some more suggestions I've found over at Zazzle and Amazon to inspire your creativity even more:~

Ivory Lace & Burlap Wedding Invitation - Ivory
Ivory Lace & Burlap Wedding Invitation - Ivory by ModernMatrimony
Browse Burlap and lace wedding Invitations online at

Wedding Postage
Wedding Postage by qudeshet
Make your own photo postage stamps online at Zazzle.


Vintage Paisley Black Damask Weddings Invitations
Vintage Paisley Black Damask Weddings Invitations by samack
Browse more Winter wedding Invitations at Zazzle


Vintage Telegram Invitation Postcard
Vintage Telegram Invitation Postcard by LetterBoxInk
Check out Ticket Invitations online at zazzle

Vintage Wedding Postage
Vintage Wedding Postage by itsyourwedding
You can sell cards , invitations, stamps and more on!


Vintage Frame -wedding invitation
Vintage Frame -wedding invitation by WeddingTrends
View other Frame Invitations at


Art Deco Vintage Wedding Save The Date Magnet
Art Deco Vintage Wedding Save The Date Magnet by vintageweddinginvite
Check out Unique wedding Magnets online at zazzle



Vintage Bride Stamps
Vintage Bride Stamps by mrssocolov2
View Vintage Stamps online at zazzle


The Elegant Wedding (aka Graphic Allusions) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to