Zero-cost Japanese Wedding

I’ve come across a few articles online saying that the average Japanese wedding with 70 guests costs about 4 million yen, and I’m very happy and proud that we did not spend that amount of money to get hitched.

My husband and I live in a rural area here in Ishikawa, and we are very simple people. So an extravagant wedding ceremony and party are not really for us.

In fact, our wedding cost us NOTHING.

HOW WE DID IT?

It was intimate. There were only 40 guests because the shrine could only accommodate 40 people. Usually, only the family members attend the ceremony, but growing up Catholic, it is more important to me than the party itself, so my close friends were welcome to witness the ceremony as well.

Considering the small number of people expected to come, we just did everything mostly by ourselves.

  • Our invitations were ordered online. We got 30 pieces, and it only cost us a little over 10,000¥. It was reasonably priced, and I must say that the company really surprised me because the invitations really looked way better than its pictures online. It was worth it.

  • We had a solemn Shinto Wedding Ceremony at Keta Taisha Shrine in Hakui, and we got a simple package that cost 150,000¥.  This included hair and makeup, my kimono,  my husband’s hakama, photographer, and a bridal car with driver and an assistant to help me throughout the ceremony.  The wedding kimono is really heavy, and I needed assistance the whole time.
  • Aside from those, we paid 40,000¥ in total for my sister and my aunt’s kimono.  That also included hair and makeup. Compared to other places in our area, I can definitely say that it’s really cheap, and it’s definitely a good deal.
  • For our change clothes, we just rented Susumu’s tuxedo for 35,000¥ and my wedding gown for 65,000¥. It’s actually a trend here in Japan to rent dresses, so people can save money and of course, help the environment. I’m glad that it’s an option because I didn’t really want to buy an expensive dress, which I would only use once.
  • Our wedding rings were five weeks in the making, and they cost us 215,000¥.
  • We just ordered our wedding cake at a local bakeshop near the hotel where we held the wedding reception, and they only charged us 10,000¥.
  • There was no professional wedding coordinator/planner. The person-in-charge at Keta Taisha Shrine took care of everything, while my close friends planned and organized the wedding reception. That means, we did not need to pay for them. We just gave them gifts after the event. Also, since we already had a photographer for the ceremony, we didn’t hire another one for the reception. Our friends just took many pictures, and we didn’t have a videographer either. I just compiled the pictures and videos together, then made a wedding video through magisto.
  • The total cost of the wedding reception including the decorations and my wedding bouquet was 250,000¥. The guests had a set menu, and they were free to order any alcoholic drink that they wanted.
  • Our hotel room, as well as my sister and aunts’, with dinner and breakfast cost 50,000¥. It means that it was just 12,500¥ per person.
  • We also had other expenses like the souvenirs my sister bought from the Philippines. We gave one for each guest. All of it was just 40,000¥.
  • Lastly, we went to a karaoke bar near the hotel for the after-party. There were 30 people present. It was all-you-can-drink with some really good snacks. There were fruits like strawberries, kiwis and some mixed nuts. Everybody seemed to have fun, and towards the end of the party, each guest paid 2500¥ for our two-hour stay at the karaoke bar. Hence, it was about 75,000¥, but we just paid for ourselves because it’s how it is done here. The guests pay for the after-party if they decide to come.

To sum it all, the total wedding cost from the ceremony to the after-party was about 940,000¥ = 8,580 USD = 450,000 PHP .

Now, here’s the catch, it’s the Japanese tradition to give gift money during weddings.

The standard minimum amount of money that colleagues and friends give is 30,000¥, while bosses, family members and relatives give at least 50,000¥. This money covers the guest’s meal, and the return gift, which is sent to them a week or two after the wedding.

To make it clearer, a guest who gave 30,000¥ is entitled to a gift item worth 9,000¥, which is 30% of the gift money s/he gave. For this, we asked the help of a gift shop near our house. We just gave them the attendees’ names, addresses and paid them. Then, they contacted the guests by sending them a catalog of gift items that they can choose from. From there, they waited and sent the guest’s preferred gift a few days after the response.

As for the remaining money from the guests, if any, those are used to pay for other wedding expenses.

Since we had international guests, we didn’t impose anything. Everybody had the liberty to give us a gift item or money, but still, everybody gave cash.

We received different amounts, and we’re grateful that they covered all our wedding expenses. In other words, at the end of the day, we spent ZERO.

I find that great about the Japanese culture – that we didn’t break the bank to get married because everyone shared for the cost of the wedding, and the attendees’ greatest gifts to the newlyweds are their presence, love and support.