As many of you know, this day has been over three years in the making. Having decided to get married in November of 2019, the original plan was for a civil ceremony in our living room before Ayami went home for Christmas, and then a big ceremony in Tokyo in April of 2020. Plans were made, civil ceremony was celebrated, and Ayami left the day after that on a plane out of YVR. Little did we know that they could not be together again for almost eleven months and we would not see her again for almost two years! The men determined that the big ceremony would probably never happen due to all the uncertainty of Covid, but I was on team Ayami – someday it was going to happen. (And not for nothing, I was right.). And the even better news is that after three and a half years married, they still want to get married to each other again.
The happy couple arrived at the hotel by rickshaw. Three of us missed it as we were racing to get shoes on and down the elevator, but there is a four foot tall wedding general orchestrating this wedding who waits for no parent.
Next, we formed a procession to the ceremony, led by the most amazing and ancient musicians, then the bride and groom, followed by the fathers, the mothers, and the rest of the families. I will try to upload my little stolen video, but not sure if that will work. You might have to use your imagination. It was amazing.
We were led to the front of the temple and even had rituals to perform as the parents and family of the groom. Mostly, we watched the Hasegawas and took their cues on when to clap, bow, and drink our little sip of ceremonial sake. Don and Mr. Hasegawa went up to the alter and did some ritual turning of a branch and offering it up to the gods. No one slapped his hands, so I think Don did a great job of it.
Now happily married, with yet another set of borrowed rings, the first being my parents’ at the civil ceremony and the second being Ayami’s Mom’s and Don’s (mine having been deemed “too fancy”), it was time for the reception.
And Oh the Food!!
There were 3 minute speeches and slide shows that Ayami had prepared, as well as a surprise video that Ayami had planned for David, with messages from friends and family who couldn’t be here in person. They were even close captioned in Japanese so everyone could understand the sentiments – it was definitely a highlight with backgrounds from San Diego, to Campbell River, to Nelson, to Cochrane and even one from Fort McMurray. There was snow, there were climbing walls and there was even a shooey which drew gasps (you might have to look that one up) – it was amazing.
Ayami made a beautiful speech that had us all crying. David had always said he couldn’t speak at the wedding, but was going to surprise us by saying something. Unfortunately, he got cut due to time constraints by the wedding general. Lastly, it was time for the big finish – wedding speech by the Groom’s parents. Don read most of it, then I read a bit in English before switching to the Japanese portion I had prepared with the help of a friend of a friend in Vancouver, Yasuyo, who kindly translated my speech and even sent me a voice recording to use as a reference. I took a big breath, said “here goes . . .” And spoke the longest two sentences ever written. All of which was received with great delight and long applause. Ayami said I did good – whew!!
So all went amazingly and it was time to go. At this point in the wedding – the end – everyone needs a wedding general. She scooted everyone towards the receiving line and out the door in record time.
2 responses to “At Last – The Long-Awaited Japanese Wedding Day”
Beautiful Wedding. Trip of a Lifetime! Congratulations to all. Thank you so much Jan for sharing these amazing photos with us. ❤️
Oh my, everyone looks so fantastic! Congratulations…better late than never.