a Japanese wedding

NSO took their sweeeeet time in verifying my records when I was still applying for my spouse visa hence I wasn’t able to attend Hamakawa-san’s and Akika-san’s wedding which Hubby and I sooo wanted to go together.

Thankfully though, this time, we can go together to the wedding of hubby’s bandmate, Hosogai-san. Trust that I was a bit nervous with this social function as it’ll be the first time I’d be meeting all of Hubby’s bandmates.

To aid me for the function: Shu Eumura loose powder, hand lotion, meds for headache, L’Occitane peony perfume, my Inden-ya purse containing the essentials I should always have with me when I go out – my alien card, my train pass, my atm card.

Have to look my best, as I was with the bestlooking guy in town. :D

Hubby’s unusual but cute necktie pin sure got a lot of attention.

And no, it doesn’t actually move, much less cut.

The wedding was also a good opportunity for us to wear the couple bracelet that our Ninang Vanz gave us for our wedding. :D

We were a bit early (or make that almost 2 hours early) so we lounged in Hotel New Grand’s cafe. Loved this honey lemon iced tea. One of the best I’ve had so far.

This being my first to attend a Japanese wedding, I absolutely have no idea how the ceremony and reception is. Albeit this is actually not a very traditional ceremony because the formal ceremony is not held in a Shrine but in the hotel. Still though, there were quite a number of interesting customs that was kept in place.

The entourage is just composed of the “lightbearers” who carried a slim torch and lighted the two candles set up in a candelabra up in front. I was wondering why they left the middle one unlighted. A few minutes later, I knew why. The couple will use the light from the side candles to light the candles they’re holding so that together, they can light the center candle. Yep, this is the Unity Candle. Seeing this, I realized why there were some priests (ours didn’t allow us!) who doesn’t allow Unity Candle ceremony in Church weddings in the Philippines: it really isn’t Catholic tradition and was just “copied” from another culture’s wedding rites. And I wouldn’t blame couples copying the Unity Candle tradition, I would want it for ourselves as well, if only the priest allowed us. It really has such a beautiful symbolic meaning – the coming together of two families (the bride’s and the groom’s) into a single familial union. It follows then that the lightbearers in yesterday’s wedding was the sister of the groom and Hosogai-san’s brother. Too bad I wasn’t able to take a decent shot on it. My phone camera has limited powers.

The couple enter and leave the ceremony room together albeit the groom is walking a couple or so steps ahead of the bride. My interpretation on this custom is that it signifies the groom as the head of the family, leading the way, with the wife supporting and obediently following behind.

This is age old custom. But I am so thankful Atsushi and his family didn’t insist on us walking like this as I do want us to be side by side, holding hands as we leave the Church and (symbolically) face our future together.

The formal ceremony took only around 15 minutes. Before the Unity Candle lighting, the bride and groom each had a speech and had their vows. The Unity Candle lighting was followed with an exchange of rings and after which was the signing of the official marriage documents, with the lightbearers signing as well as tthe witnesses. We then proceeded outside for the pictorials, and then proceeded further to another part of the hotel for the reception.

Japanese wedding receptions are actually pretty organized as more often than not, the affair is really an intimate one with guests definitely less than a hundred. After giving our cash gifts, hubby was given the reception program booklet wherein the seating arrangement is conveniently mapped out.

The couple also had their short bio in the leaflet which I will not post here for privacy reasons.

I love what greeted me in my seat.

If I’ve come across the idea of handwritten messages for the guests before our wedding, I would have done so, especially since we only have less than a hundred guests.

What about food, eh? The vegetable-seafood cake with caviar as appetizer was interesting as well as serving the grapefruit sherbet before the beef entree. My favorite though was the seafood doria and the dessert. And the coffeeeee!!!

Halfway through the reception, the bride is escorted by her father out of the hall for her to change out of her kimono into a western bridal gown.

Sometime later, the groom is escorted by his mother out of the hall for him to change as well into western groom tux.

Group picture!

Hubby and I look very “healthy” in this picture. :D

Now, the most touching parts of a Filipino wedding are mostly parts of the Church Ceremony, and the earlier parts of the reception. But usually when the reception is drawing to a close already, the guests are also somewhat preparing to wrap themselves up, getting ready to leave.

But the most emotional part for me during the wedding was actually the last part wherein the bride and groom ceremoniously goes to their parents to give them flowers and gifts. This has got me crying big fat tears alright. Thankfully, lights were turned off and the spotlight was focused on the family.

Another detail I loved in this wedding was the message slideshow that the couple prepared. Yes, they had the growing old slideshow as well but they prepared another slideshow which they showed at the end of the reception. Aside from the personalized message they put on each guest’s seat, they also had personalized slideshow message. It was just one liner for each guest, yes. But there’s something good about waiting for your name to flash on the screen; the anticipation of knowing what the message for you will be impressed in me a very good feeling. If we can do our wedding again, I’d definitely have this as well.

And, as it goes, it all comes in threes. A third detail that I would have wanted to have had incorporated in our wedding was for me and Atsushi with both our parents line up near Ville Sommet’s door to personally see off each and everyone of our guests. The chat may not be long and it may be more formal, but at least you get to see off all of your guests.

They were giving out a small neatly packaged souvenir at this time. This is on top of that paperbag in the picture which is the takeaway loot each guest are which contains a bom cake and the formal giveaway expensive glass set.

I was delighted though when I opened the small package they were handing out at this time.

They had it personalized at decocho.com. Love how they chose the pictures for the chocolate giveaways: a photo each for when they were kids, a photo together, a photo of the reception venue’s grand staircase and a photo of the university where they went to together (Waseda University). I love it how the packaging is so like the usual Japanese food packaging. It has information on the flavor as well as the calories! This particular one has 55 kcal for each square chocolate. Again, pardon for the blurriness, I’m just using my phone camera.

I may not understand the language used but still, the wedding has touched me. And had me commeding the bride on the detail she did for their wedding.

Congratulations and Best wishes Mariko-san and Takashi-san!!!

lightbulb moment

I don’t think I can ever survive a day without at least a minute of quality time with God. But if truth be told, I am not highly religious. Not religious in the sense that I am not a regular church-goer and there are a number of facts that I don’t know about in the Catholic dogma. 

Was able to attend a Palm Sunday mass this afternoon and it was with a surprise that I had moments of “oh! so this is how it is done during Palm Sundays”. I realized that the last Palm Sunday mass I attended was back in 2007 in Japan hence it was quite different with how we do it here in Philippines. I tried to remember when was the last time I attended a Philippine Palm Sunday mass. Even when I wanted to say my last was before my Singapore stint (because with that I can have a proper excuse), I am ashamed to admit that I think my last Pinoy Palm Sunday mass was back in University days, the latest of which was probably 2001.

But I am so thankful I was able to finally attend one this year. Thankful because I was deeply moved during the mass. I felt the strong yearning to unload in the altar my worries about Taal, about wanting to have a beautiful and joyful wedding for Atsushi, for my parents and family, for Atsushi’s parents and family, for our close friends. And suddenly, I felt joyful and peaceful. I can feel God smiling at me and blessing us even more and telling me to let go and not worry so much. Everything will turn out fine….

I will try to put work-OC Marj to sleep, at least for the next 2 weeks, albeit I probably need to remind myself about this every now and then. I have to let our suppliers be, with what they’re good at – they’re more experienced in this. I will just have to finish my tasks at hand which are mostly filling out all-important lists and also the napkin rings.

Believe that everything will turn out fine.

Yesterday, I was worried that I haven’t found yet the candles that was perfect for offertory even after scouring our neighborhood friendly malls (ATC and SM Southmall). But I walked in National bookstore earlier and lo and behold, the first thing I saw were just the thing I was looking for.

The angels look so joyful with their ribbons and trumpets.

I also have some idea already what to do with the matches. And I’ll be borrowing my parents’ Bible albeit it’s in Bisaya.

I also found the perfect missing piece to our principal sponsors’ giveaways, at a very affordable price.

Had rehearsals with Edna and Rodel (MPO) for Edna’s parts on the wedding. The very moment I heard Rodel hit the note in his keyboard, a smile lit up my face – good music really lifts up moods. Rodel was pretty impressed with Edna’s voice. But of course. Edna’s voice was just beautiful…

2 weeks countdown

Have to write everything down, to organize my thoughts and plan the next course. And since i’m writing, might as well post it in our wedsite. ;)

  • misalette sent to the printers to revise the coversheet. Will feature that supplier later when I have time, she’s  worth a post. Thanks to Leah for referring her. I had to revise some parts though since we wouldn’t be singing some of the responses. If not for Dhonna’s help, I wouldn’t have been able to finish the misalette. The template I referred to before doesn’t have the responses since they were all sang.
  • booked our accommodation for when Atsushi arrives here in Manila. We were prepared to pay the published rate but still I asked if they have discounts for long stays, just in case. The reply: none. But when they did email me to advise the bank details for money transfer, they gave us 1400php discount per night. Swell. :)
  • thankful to Jeckoy and Jonathan for obliging us on our request, even at the last minute. We owe you guys! :)
  • will meet up with Mang Rey Casedo tomorrow for the remaining three barongs
  • will meet up with MPO on sunday with Edna for rehearsals. Oh, I still have to look for directions how to get to MPO’s office
  • have to buy matches (and try to prettify them as much I can) and candles for the offertory. The matches I only remembered just this evening.
  • was able to send to Jason our SDE/cinematic highlights song preferences albeit Jason might not be able to see it since he’s on a vacation now in the US.
  • still no accessory. This one is proving to be quite difficult to find. I’ve searched his and los already for the one that i would love at first sight. Oh, well, I actually found the perfect one yesterday but it’s leaning towards the expensive side already. 
  • still no “something borrowed, something old”
  • lovely, lovely, lovely gown. thanks to Richie. Guests will surely not be bored looking at our back :)
  • transpo matrix still under clarification. emails emails.
  • wedding datasheet still under preps
  • napkin flowers still in the cellophane waiting to be picked
  • program still to be updated
  • El Nido trip already finalized. Goodness they do ask for a lot of documentations!
  • booked Antonio’s for dinner-with-parents (yet to wait for their confirmation)
  • browse through more pictures and have it developed
  • chase after IPL machine (this would have been a good blog had I more time)
  • pack the rest of my things here in the apartment before the next week ends
  • rsvp guests. emails emails, text text
  • guest list and seating arrangement
  • look for that TD for the principal sponsors gifts
  • write my vows and memorize
  • memorize the last two lines of our song – it’s hard believe me. i’ve been trying for the last 2 weeks already
  • still more sessions with dentist…the last two sessions each took half of my day. I assume the other 2 or 3 would be the same.

So, okay, anybody want to lend me an extra arm and leg? :D

candles, in our colors!

A “pick-me-upper”: finding something that has our colors.

I had no idea what to give my colleague who was my “baby” in our seniors’ Christmas party exchange gifts. Asked hubbie for inspiration ideas and he threw in candles among others. When I went to “Our Home” store to look for home decor ideas, I came across this candle.

Pretty, ne?

Well, suffice it to say that within 10min, I had it gift-wrapped after finding the suitable ceramic stand. =)

Hmmm…this one would be great during cocktails..!

Thanks to Hubbie for giving me the gift-idea. =)

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