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. 😀

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. 😀

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. 😀

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!!!

Wishlist: Hacienda Isabella

Hacienda Isabella is one really beautiful place. It’s one place that would be perfect for photoshoots and dreamy honeymoons (considering the bedrooms! hehe). I fell in love with the place more and more as I come across pictures of it every now and then in my research for wedding details. Hubbie shares my feelings and views on the place as well. Beautiful.

Yet, we had to forego the place. We were almost about to make a go for the place until we’ve decided to set aside a weekend day to check out the place and see it for ourselves. And as we drove on and on, my heart got sadder because even when we haven’t seen the place yet, I know that we have to forego it simply because of its distance from Caleruega. To top it off, our wedding is in the evening hence the long and winding and tricky road to Hacienda Isabella might leave a lasting (and negative) impression on our guests. We presume the guests are real hungry already by the time they’re on their way to the ceremony.

Of course, foremost to us is the comfort of our guests.

But without a doubt. Hacienda Isabella is a beautiful place for a wedding. Perhaps, if your wedding is early in the morning, then, perchance, the Hacienda can be a perfect location for your reception.

Do check out below some of our photos. Courtesy of my friend Rezza Flauta-Chua. Our thanks to Rezza and her hubbie JJ and their really smart niece Maki for setting aside time to accompany me to Hacienda Isabella despite their busy schedule.

After visiting Hacienda Isabella, we drove to Ville Sommet as well just to check out the place again. This time, I felt the “this is it” moment with Ville Sommet. This time, i’m settled. Albeit at the back of mind is the thought that the place sure is really expensive (considering the minimum amount 900 php per head they require for the catering).

Oh yeah. I asked uber smart 5-yr old Maki to help me in judging whether to select Hacienda Isabella or Ville Sommet. After we did our rounds, Maki confidently selected Ville Sommet. That made me smile. Sometimes, kids’ judgment has to be trusted. ^_^

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Another thing I have to let go with Hacienda Isabella is that a lot of my favorite Dino Lara pictures were taken from this place.

Hacienda Isabella are renting out rooms though for honeymooners and out-of-towners so you just might want to consider the place for your stay.

One happy note: Yey, I was finally able to know how to make a slideshow in wordpress. I really love wordpress!!!

wifey’s note: all posts with “wishlist” are not what we hope to receive on our wedding. Rather, they are stuff that we would love to have but we’ve found we cannot have for our wedding anymore owing primarily to practicality.

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