No, not me… Last weekend I had an amazing time sharing in the celebration of my friends Brian and Ayumi’s wedding. Thanks to a holiday, and some time taken off work I spent a long weekend in Yokohama to participate in the festivities. This was something I had been looking forward to for a number of reasons. 1) Jennie was coming back to Japan for the wedding. Brian is Jennie’s brother so clearly she wasn’t going to miss this. 2) I love weddings, especially when they are my friends’ weddings 3) This would be a Japanese wedding, and all the billboards for wedding centers planted the idea in my head that Japan takes weddings to a whole new level. Number 3 totally delivered.
As we tagged along with Brian during the wedding preparations, we got to see the inner workings. Japan loves sets, lunch sets, travel sets, clothing sets, clearly wedding sets would be an option. Maybe set isn’t the right word, I’ll use package. A couple can go to a wedding complex and get everything done in a one stop shopping experience. The couple has a wedding producer and they take care of everything. The dress, venue, decor, flowers, service, reception, MC, food, and photographer. To make things even easier its all in one building. Dresses / Tuxes 2nd floor, hair salon 3rd floor, Reception halls 4-8th floors, chapel 9th floor. There’s even honeymoon suites for the couple to stay that night. This wedding complex was serious business.
This complex was one happening place on busy days such as holidays and weekends they can have as many as 7 weddings a day. There were 3 different reception hall options, Bali, New York, or Paris -each with their own cocktail room, kitchen, and banquet hall. Everywhere we went we were escorted, from the hall to the elevator, in the elevator, to the waiting, from the waiting room to the salon, from the salon to the chapel. I suppose they didn’t want cross wedding contamination.
The service was held in the elaborately decorated chapel. The service itself was short and similar to a western wedding since the couple wanted a Christian service. Ayumi’s first dress was amazing, with a long train. There were 2 attendants who’s only job was to make sure the train of the dress was in perfect placement during the service. WIth each step and turn they were there to rearrange. The rest was pretty straightforward wedding practice until the fog rolled in, that’s right there were fog machines going for the first kiss. Best idea ever.
From there we were escorted to the cocktail time, when the couple got to mingle for a bit while people had drinks and snacks. Once again the train patrol was behind Ayumi to ensure dress train perfection.
Then we had dinner. Oh it was magical. The room awesome, classy, simple and the tables has more settings than I’ve ever seen before. We had an amazing 6 course meal. Even Heather the vegetarian was taken care of, they created a vegan meal just for her. When the server saw that she had a broken wrist they offered to cut her food for her.
There were all the usual wedding activities, all with a twist. The cutting of the cake was done after the second course, and cut with a sword. Toasts, slideshows, and family presentations, were all there too with the guidance of the fabulous MC. She got me excited for things when I didn’t even know what she was saying or what was happening. All I knew was I was excited for…..something. There was even an intro and music change for the opening of the kitchen doors for service.
Best part, the costume change. Its standard practice for brides to have at least 2 dresses for their wedding. The traditional white dress for the service and the colorful party dress for the reception. These are neon prom dresses on steroids. These dresses even made my prom dress look a little drab. When Ayumi cam out in the new dress, the lights went low, and the upstairs doors flew open. (I really mean flew, I’ve never seen doors open with such enthusiasm.) Ayumi strolled to meet Brian at the middle landing where they were also met by the spot light. I really want a Japanese wedding, just so I can have this kind of costume change and entrance. The rest of the reception was fairly typical minus dancing, there just really isn’t dancing at japanese weddings.
When the reception is done, the festivities aren’t over. There’s an after party thrown for the close friends and younger family of the couple. This is when the couple gets to relax and spend more time with their good friends. We went to a little cafe down the way and had even more food and drink while playing BINGO. Just in case the couple isn’t ready to finish the night, there’s always time for an after after party. Japan is famous for these and its when its time to karaoke. And karaoke we did, until our voices were out and we were practically deaf.
I was such a special experience attending Brian and Ayumi’s wedding and we all wish them the best in their future together.