Tomo and Misui were married at the Holy Innocents Church, Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii. A quaint church located in Lahaina. The wedding chapel includes a room suitable for the bride to dress and make up, and a private changing room for the groom, the couple’s parents and other important guests. There is a place for the families to meet and formally introduce themselves (goshinzoku shokai), a studio or photography, and a room suitable for the reception party. Each part is staffed by highly trained professionals who make it their business to ensure the couple enjoy their special day.

The pastor gives a brief welcome and introduction, then announces the bride’s entrance. The doors swing open and all faces turn to see the bride gracefully enter the walk down the aisle. Usually the bride is escorted on her father’s arm. The wedding procession is a magnificent moment! It includes the ring bearer, best man, ushers, bridesmaids and flower girls. The procession ends with the groom bowing to the bride’s father. The father returns the bow. In Japan, the bow is an art and this exchange is especially significant as the father is handing his daughter over to the groom.

The service is given in Japanese and English. Prayers and blessings enable everyone to understand the vows of marriage.

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Sake-Sharing Ceremony

The traditional Japanese ceremony is a Shinto ceremony, though many Japanese in America celebrate weddings with a Buddhist ceremony. Regardless of religious rituals, most Japanese also include a cultural sake-sharing tradition at the wedding, popularly called san-san-kudo — san means “three,” ku means “to deliver,” and do means “nine.” This ritual dates back to a time when sharing sake created a formal bond as strongly as a handshake did in Victorian times. Using three flat sake cups stacked atop one another, the bride and groom take three sips each from the cups. Then their parents also take sips (for a total of nine sips), cementing the bond between the families.

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Honoring the Parents

Japanese weddings usually take some time to acknowledge the parents of the bride and groom. In some weddings, the couple offers bouquets of flowers, a toast, or a personal letter of love and thanks. Any of these gestures is a beautiful way to honor your parents at the wedding.

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Thank you Tomo and Misui for allowing us the honor of participating in your special wedding event.