Sunday, September 8, 2013
Couples Let Imaginations Run Wild With Weddings
TOKYO (Nikkei)--People tying the knot in Japan have been opting for more lavish and unusual weddings over the last few years, partly because couples are more financially secure as they tend to marry later, and partly because they want to stand out from the crowd.
- Wedding planner United Style organized a reception with an outdoor rock-concert theme.
On Aug. 18, a restaurant in Tokyo's Taito Ward hosted an unusual wedding reception. The bride and groom are fans of outdoor music festivals, so they decided their reception should have a summer concert theme.
Normally Japanese wedding parties are straight-laced affairs, with guests dressed conservatively. Not this one. To set the mood, tables were covered with artificial turf, and guests were asked to wear specially designed T-shirts and wristbands, just like the happy couple. Many rock concert goers in Japan sport identical T-shirts; wristbands allow re-entry to the venue.
Celebrate, Good Times
"I wanted to have a lot of fun with everyone. Initially my family was opposed to the idea, but in the end my family and friends told me they were moved" by the event, said the 27-year-old bride.
Saki Yamakawa, a manager at wedding planner United Style Co., put on the rock-n-roll reception. The Tokyo-based company last summer began offering a service called Crazy Wedding. It holds monthly meetings explaining the service to around 50-60 couples. It hopes to put on receptions for nearly 100 couples by the end of June next year.
Crazy Wedding parties typically cost about 4.5 million yen, a bit more than the industry average of about 3.4 million yen. But Crazy Wedding events attract about 100 guests on average, compared to around 70 for a conventional reception.
United Style has organized a number of unusual wedding parties. In one, guests formed a circle and danced around a tower outdoors. Another had an "Alice in the Wonderland" theme, complete with emcees dressed as the White Rabbit and the Queen of Hearts.
Something Old, Something New
Minnano Wedding Co. operates a search engine called Brideal that helps couples find freelance wedding planners. The website showcases receptions put on by registered planners. In April, one planner threw a wedding party in the observation deck of Tokyo Tower, the first time such an event was held there. Other unique receptions put on by the website's planners include one held at a museum and another in which the bride, groom and guests danced with theater performers.
"People in their 20s and 30s these days have experienced a wide variety of events and they find traditional wedding receptions rigid, so they prefer to set their receptions apart from others," said Mihoko Nishii of Dentsu Inc. (4324).
(The Nikkei, Sept. 4 morning edition)