wedding culture differences

It was only this evening, on a talk with Hubbie, did I realize three glaring differences between the wedding etiquettes in Japan and here in Philippines. One particular etiquette may be SOP in one country but could be perceived as presumptuous on the other country.

Here goes what, in no particular order of gravity.

1. cash gifts

In Japan, it’s automatic that when one gets invited to the wedding, he/she would be setting aside some money for their cash gift. A previous Japanese seatmate at work mentioned before that usually, minimum amount for the gift is 30,000yen. “Why so expensive?!”, I exclaimed. He says 10,000yen is deemed too small and 20,000yen or any even digit number is considered bad luck. So the cheapest sensible amount is 30,000yen. 40,000 is considered bad luck also so the next reasonable amount is 50,000yen, then 70,000yen, so on and so forth. I had another Japanese friend who cannot attend his friend’s wedding hence he bought flowers for the newlywed but still, prepared his cash gift. Buying a bedsheet or a rice cooker for the couple wasn’t considered at all.

In Philippines, it’s been a custom to set aside some of our time to shop some house items for the couple as our gift. And hence those who didn’t opt for the bridal registry would then find themselves showered with 3 rice cookers, 4 flat irons, plates, pans, glasswares, und so weiter. Although it’s still considered a delicate matter, the Philippine wedding setting has already been somewhat mimicking lately the culture on cash gifts. However, because of the ingrained attitude we Filipinos have to go and shop for house items for the newly-weds, couples are opting to include in their invites their preference for cash gifts. I must tell you though: finding the nice and appropriate way of including this request in our invite is VERY difficult since some guests may perceive this as very presumptuous indeed. But I had to include this request on our invites owing primarily to the fact that our wedding is here in Philippines yet we will be settling down in Japan. To have the material gifts we received here be shipped to Japan would probably cost much more that their actual cost. So I hope, I hope all our guests would understand this.

2. Attire

In Japan, it’s automatic, everyone would come to the wedding attired in their formal wear. They need not be informed beforehand. I have one concern though: they consider black suits as a formal wear. But I don’t want anything black on our wedding. Hence we may have to specifically state on our invites that we’re requesting for no black suits. Barong tagalog is requested especially for male guests who will be part of the wedding entourage.

In Philippines, your invites have to be specific. You need to specify if attire is strictly formal or if casual wear is acceptable.

3. An adult affair

In Japan, again, it’s understood that parents will not be bringing their small babies to the wedding event.

In Philippines, you have to really specify that it is an adult affair and that the couple has to politely request parents not to bring their infants to the wedding. Of course, the kids who are part of the entourage are still coming with us to the reception; they’re old enough anyway. I’m talking of infants. This one is particularly difficult on me now. And I can only hope we can settle this matter without feelings getting hurt.

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