Tying the knot in Tokyo? Whether you pick a pre-packaged wedding or want to plan your own from scratch, we gets you started on the road to getting hitched in style; with lavish venues, intricate dresses and more subdued and affordable options, here are some ideas.
In Japan, hotels and purpose-built wedding halls are the prime spots for exchanging vows. Traditional temples and shrines do, though, still occupy an important place in Japanese wedding-culture. If you prefer, you could even wed extravagantly alongside your favourite Disney characters.
Most Tokyo hotels offer comprehensive wedding services – and they often have their own chapel. From wedding gowns, hairstyling, bridal showers and bachelor parties, to the actual exchange of vows, hotel wedding planners manage your wedding and specialize in creating an impeccably coordinated experience. Reception dinners are usually held at the hotel restaurant, with complimentary nights often offered.
Wedding and Banquet Halls
Wedding halls can be found in practically every corner of the city. Simple and modern or elaborate and piled-on with baroque-like ornateness, there is a vast array to choose from. Couples can select the appropriate package to solemnise their commitment. The facilities offer private changing rooms as well as a place for families to meet and a photography studio. Highly trained professionals ensure that the operation runs smoothly for an enjoyable and special day.
Tokyo’s Best: Meguro Gajoen
Temples and Shrines
For a distinct Japanese backdrop with traditional architecture, wedding ceremonies may also be held within the grounds of a temple. Most ancient temples and historical buildings offer their space for receptions, at a price. Traditional receptions are less common these days as fashion changes. They do, though, provide an unforgettable cultural experience.
Tokyo’s Best: Meiji Jingu Shrine
If you have the mere sum of ¥7.5 million to spare for you and 50 of your closest friends, from September 2012, you can book Cinderella’s Castle and tie the knot in a fairy tale dream land.
The package includes a wedding ceremony in the Grand Ballroom of Cinderella’s Castle followed by a mini parade and reception banquet at the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel.
Other packages are available at the resort’s hotels, each with a different Disney princess theme. Did we mention that special guests include Mickey and Minnie Mouse?
In Japan, most wedding gowns are rented, including the kimono, which is extremely costly to buy. Hotel and wedding hall packages often include dress rental.
As western-style weddings gain even more popularity in Japan, dress designs are imitated – not always successfully or tastefully. Bridal attire in Japan tends to be very princess-like – frilly and colourful with flowers and sparkly bits sewn on – but more refined styles are available.
Bridal boutiques and kimono rental in Tokyo
Tokyo has many small bridal boutiques but most brides rent their dresses from large rental chains. There are a few renowned bridal salons that carry a nice selection of imported dresses to be purchased or rented.
The cream of the crop when it comes to wedding dresses, Vera Wang, will open its first flagship store in Ginza this June, carrying a high-end collection specifically designed for Asia. As for the kimono, usually it is also rented and the parlour will take care of the bride’s hair and make-up.
If you want to avoid looking like a giant cupcake, I would highly suggest ordering your dream dress online and having alterations done in Japan.
J Crew Wedding has a beautiful collection of bridal wear in simple yet elegant designs, at very affordable prices. The spring collection features minimalist silk halterneck gowns and more whimsical creations for added playfulness.
Shopbop offers designer couture of trending designers, with names like Zac Posen, Diane Von Furstenberg, Badgley Mischka, Derek Lam, and Marchesa.
If you can afford it, Net A Porter promises fabulous packaging with easy returns and presents an array of delightful, luxurious designs to swoon over: Alexander McQueen, Lanvin, Vivienne Westwood, Chloé and Valentino, are just a few of the heavenly designs featured. www.net-a-porter.com
By Vivian Morelli
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