Keeping traditions – Shinto Wedding

Two weeks ago, I was very honored to be part of this very elegant and wonderful celebration of love – keeping both traditions and beauty of weddings. It is actually the second wedding I have attended as a friend of the groom or the bride. This time, the bride, Emiko onnie, was one of my closest friends during my student exchange program in Korea 5 years ago. I also had the chance to meet the groom, Mikael, during their trip in South Korea last 2012. Despite their cultural or physical differences (hihi), the two of them seamlessly match each other.

Emiko and Mikael

Emiko and Mikael

Unlike Korean traditional weddings, I have never seen a Japanese Shinto Wedding before – not even in movies or dramas. I thought they will transport us to a shrine; however, the traditional wedding took place in a room in a hotel where behind the glass windows was a replica of a temple.

The ceremony started with a photo shoot with the bride, the groom, and all the guests of the wedding. Surprisingly, no one was to be left behind during the photo shoot. We all had to wait for any guest who’s late before they start taking photos – it sure would have been embarrassing if you don’t come on time. After the shoot, they moved us to the ceremony room. From there, we waited for the groom and the bride to enter.

onnie looks like shin min ah? so pretty :)

onnie looks like shin min ah? so pretty 🙂

Mikael first entered the room and stood at the front just like any wedding ceremony march.

Mikael looked nervous while waiting for Emiko to enter the hall.

Mikael looked nervous while waiting for Emiko to enter the hall.

Then, it was the bride’s turn. Emiko onnie was escorted by her Father. It was such a lovely scene.

Since the wedding was conducted in Japanese, I had no exact idea who or what the people in front were saying. All I can remember was that a Shinto priest entered the hall and started reading an old passage. There was bowing and clapping and more reading of passages. Then the couple exchanged wedding rings.

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Wedding Rings

After that, guests who were seated in front had to drink sake and that’s it, the lovely couple just got married 😉

Cheers for the newly wed couple <3

The girls pouring sake in preparation for a cheer for the newly wed couple ❤

Girl pouring sake for the visitors to cheer for the newly wed.

The visitors are very excited to drink the sake.

Rj and Michael oppa observing what to do with the drink.

Rj and Michael oppa observing what to do with the drink.

The Shinto priest heading the sake drinking ceremony.

The Shinto priest heading the sake drinking ceremony.

I wasn’t able to track the time but the traditional wedding ended for about 40 minutes or more. After the exit entourage, we were told to move to another floor of the hotel. We proceeded to the next part of the wedding – the reception.

The reception hall was fabulous. It was the most white? whitest? glamorous place I have ever been. Everything was white. The hall was huge, the ceiling was high and the meal was 9 course! It was actually a 5-star wedding reception – well, that is according to my table napkin.

Five-star wedding

Five-star wedding

the guest's table setting

the guest’s table setting

drink all you can!

drink all you can!

#truefriends reunion gathered together for emiko onnie's wedding. dubai, korea, philippines, and brazil <3

#truefriends reunion gathered together for emiko onnie’s wedding. dubai, korea, philippines, and brazil ❤

The reception commenced with the newly wed couple entering the hall followed by the groom’s acknowledgment speech. Speeches were given by their managers at work, their very close friends, and their parents and relatives. Also, there was a part where the couple with their parents had to hit a barrel of saké. Somehow, saké seems to be an important thing among Japanese. They also have the slicing of the cake – a familiar wedding activity.

No filter.shutter clicked at the same time when their official photographer used flash!

No filter.shutter clicked at the same time when their official photographer used flash! It looks like they have powers! ㅋㅋ

slicing of the cake

slicing of the cake

After that, they left the room again because they need to change clothes for the reception. While waiting for them, they prepared a trivia game! Questions were very random – what is the cheapest type of tune in sweden, which type of public bathroom does not exist in the world, and which countries had to fight for a karaoke fest! Surprisingly, I got 2 out the three questions! and much more surprising was that I won a gift after the lottery game! Yes. Japanese wedding reception very fun!

Trivia game while waiting for the bride and groom.

Trivia game while waiting for the bride and groom.

Once again, the couple entered the reception hall – this time, Emiko onnie looked very very beautiful in her white gown and the two of them really looked good together!

The groom and his beautiful bride.

The groom and his beautiful bride.

the most heartwarming, tear-jerking part of the reception.

the most heartwarming, tear-jerking part of the reception.

Emiko onnie in her wedding gown :)

Emiko onnie in her wedding gown 🙂

Even without the usual “You may kiss the bride” statement at the end … it was, so far, the most beautiful wedding I have ever attended. Again, congratulations Mikael and Emiko! May you have a wonderful future together 🙂

ps. more photos and texts soon ♥

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