This recent article on Japan Probe about Fake Wedding Ministers caught my eye. This is not a new thing in Japan but I have yet to witness one. I have read articles about it in the past. If I remember correctly, a piece was done on these White Weddings a few years back on Metropolis. I’ve also heard from other foreigners that they’d been invited to officiate some of these ceremonies. According to one foreign attendant, the ceremony was so odd: the center aisle was called a “virgin road” and the ceremony was conducted in English, which the bride and groom did not always understand.
This got me curious and so I asked people in my conversation classes about their wedding ceremonies. A lot of them did have Western ceremonies, saying it was a lot more fun preparing for. The brides wore several beautiful Western gowns, and grooms wore coat-tails and they even got to wear rings. But they continued on to say that they took these off as soon as the ceremony was over. Which I felt really made the whole ceremony more of a farce. It was really sad that they seemed to enjoy mocking Western wedding traditions.
Even the wedding chapels are built in a way that they resemble Gothic cathedrals, or pretty Mediterranean chapels. In almost every big city, they light these up at night – especially during the winter, and they are breath-taking, but knowing they are merely Japanese wedding chapels kind of ruins the view for me. But as my students and I talked more about wedding ceremonies, most of them said it was a really memorable experience, and mostly it was fun. Shinto ceremonies seemed more sacred and correct for them, but the Western ceremonies were full of excitement and joy, and so that’s why they chose them.