How often do you get invited to be a guest at a Japanese wedding? If you're not Japanese then, that's pretty rare indeed. Count yourself lucky! It is indeed an honour! Now comes the next few steps... what's next? This post is a summary of how you can prepare yourself for the wedding, because every Japanese attending will be super mega prepared.
This is assuming you're a guest of course, if you're the bff of the bride/groom you have tons more to do.
Be sure to let your friend/co-worker/family member know as soon as possible if you are able to make it! This helps them heaps in planning.
1. Money... in a fancy envelope
Having a meal at the wedding isn't free, so you're obligated to give an envelope as well as additional sums to wish them well. Minimum amount is 30,000 yen (approx $350 sgd) and they should be new notes. Money should go INSIDE the white envelope, and this is then placed in the fancy, bigger one. Don't forget to write your name! You can find these envelopes at any convenience store, there are some pretty complicated looking ones there, but if you think those are too 'cheap', check out department stores or Tokyu Hands.
2. Your liver
Have you heard of those 'Nomikai' parties where the boss of the department proclaims "LET'S HAVE DRINKS TODAY" and everyone basically ends up drunk BUT somehow reaches work on time the next day? So, these people can drink, and with free flow alcohol, you better train up. Don't be the person sitting down in a corner (or facing down in a corner).
3. What to wear
If you haven't already read this, I covered it separately here. There are some things to take note, so before you grab that 'perfect dress' off the racks, read this.
4. Figure out how to get there... in advance
EVERYTHING starts on time in Japan. Being late is an embarrassment. I made it with 3 minutes to spare, close call, but when I did, everyone was already there. If you're 15 minutes late the church vows may have already ended, and you missed your chance to shout 'OBJECTION!', okay that's a game reference, please don't actually do that at a wedding.
5. If you're a guy, prepare to kneel
Seriously because Japanese are so super considerate, they kneel when they think or know they might be blocking someone behind. I was so so surprised by this!! Japanese guys are gentlemanly after all.
6. I added 6 because.. there's actually nothing much you need to prepare to do when you're there.
Service in Japan is IMPECCABLE. It is FLAWLESS. There is even a lady on permanent stand-by just to ensure the bride's train isn't caught in something, she pushes the chair in and out for her, it is amazing. I am aghast.
Just go and have tons of fun, and try to spread out the alcohol so that you collapse AFTER the second party, not before, and that you actually remember what happened.
Take lots of pictures!!