We were fortunate enough to run into a Japanese wedding party yesterday.
The lady in white and the man in the gray hakama in the middle of the picture are of course the bride and groom. They are posing in front of the temple entrance.
I was surprised to see so many people dressed in black. In Belgium people wear bright colours to go to a wedding, black is for funerals. But in Japan it is customary, at least for the parents of the bride and groom, to dress in black.
This kind of traditional Shinto wedding ceremony is losing popularity in Japan. These days young Japanese people prefer to get married in a wedding hall or in a church (although I’m not sure that also involves the Christian ceremony, I think it’s more about the venue).
In this kind of Western-style wedding, the bride wears a completely over-the-top colourful dress, that is usually rented instead of bought.
Omoshiroi! Thank you Ayako!
Note that all the guys are wearing white ties – a sign that they are dressed for a wedding. They would be wearing black ties for a funeral. Women can generally wear anything except white so as not to clash with the bride. I think black dresses for women is more of a current fashion trend. For kimono, it’s colorful patterns on black on happy occasions for married women (though I think lighter colored kimonos are allowed) and more bright colors with longer sleeves for (young) unmarried women. Men, they can wear other colors as well but I believe the fathers and the “nakoudo” more traditionally were expected to wear swallowtail coats (following the western tradition).
But I’m so not familiar with all these rules…!! 😛
Great explanation Ayako! Thanks so much! I didn’t know all that. By the way, I looked up nakoudo: is it the person who introduced bride and groom? Or really a matchmaking agency?
Nakoudo, when used in the context of “wedding”, is more of a “witness” although literally the word means someone who stands between people and sorts out relationships.
Traditionally, the groom’s (not immediate but higher-ranking) superior (if one worked for a firm, the government, or an educational institution, say) would be asked to be a nakoudo along with his (women bosses were rare) wife (and it was expected that he was married) or a friend of mine who married her college sweetheart who had the same professor as a thesis advisor as her asked him (the prof) and his wife to be the nakoudo.
Nakoudo used to be considered very important and I think when taking pictures they would stand next to the bride and the groom (I could be wrong on this). These days most couples or families (a marriage is considered to take place between families) opt not to use a nakoudo I read, especially in bigger cities. (Don’t know about Nagoya where people are said to have the most extravagant weddings!!)