What’s a more Japanese wedding experience than a Japanese shrine elopement?
Picture this: the sun glistens through age old trees surrounding a beautifully exotic shinto shrine, where you are wearing gorgeous, regal, silk wedding kimonos, walking in a ceremonial procession. Around you in this procession are attentive maidens and priests all bedecked in the exotic attire of Japanese shintoism. A musician is playing a flute, producing airy, ethereal sounds. At the end of the procession and inside the shrine, you sit before the Shrine deity, which is surrounded by gorgeous cultural art, the dramatic sound of taiko drums announces your marriage to the shrine deity. Then the priest starts the dreamy chant of the ritual which will confirm you as husband and wife.
This need not be the stuff of dreams. It can easily be a reality.
More and more shrines are opening up to the idea of performing shinto ceremonies for non-Japanese. Before, they were nervous of the language barrier and misunderstandings of the importance of the shrine protocols. But luckily, with an increase in popularity of Japanese culture, this is all changing. And just as importantly, couples do not need to be practitioners of the Shinto faith.
In spite of protocols surrounding a shinto ritual Shrine weddings are actually quite simple affairs, and are sure to create moments of magic that will last a lifetime.
All our shrine weddings are wrapped in a package and come including the following:
hair and makeup
Optional extras include:
Japanese garden photoshoot.
Not included, but can be arranged: dinner reservations at a nearby restaurant of your choice for you and your beau to complete the celebrations.
What does a Shrine Elopement Entail?
Shrine weddings themselves take between 20 and 30 minutes, maximum 45 minutes, depending on the shrine. And from preparation to the end of the whole affair takes around 4 hours and 30 minutes. Depending on the timing, you can either be finished by lunchtime or by dinnertime.
An example timeline:
08:00 - choose kimonos and get fitted
10:00 - arrive at the shrine.
10:05 - pre-ceremony photoshoot around the grounds of the shrine
10:40 - ceremony rehearsal; meet the priests and run through ceremony rituals and practice vows.
11:00 - Ceremony starts, with a procession to the altar
11:30 - Ceremony ends
11:35 - final photographs inside the shrine with the shrine priests and maidens
12:00 - get changed back to normal clothes
12:15 - final chat/refreshments with the shrine master
12:30 - the shrine event ends, but the memories are guaranteed to last forever
Depending on the shrine, you may both be required to read your wedding vows in Japanese. Not to worry. If this is the requirement of the shrine, they will provide a written copy of the vows which are translated and alphabetized, for practice and to read from during the ceremony. We will be on hand to help you practice via video chat, prior to your arrival in Japan.
Currently most of our shrines are in the Tokyo area, but we are slowly adding to our list of amazing shinto venues from which to choose.