Posts Tagged ‘wedding’

Japan by the numbers (09.10.10)

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Japan by the numbers (08.21.10)

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

Wedding plans get expecting couples to the church on time

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Pretty Chapel's tag line reads: "For couples who don't have time or money but want a fabulous wedding."

Pretty Chapel’s tag line reads: “For couples who don’t have time or money but want a fabulous wedding.”

Quickie wedding specialists Sugukon Navi have just overhauled their site and taken the bold move of creating a section specifically aimed at pregnant brides called Sugukon Maternity. According to PR Times, the company decided that as many clients buying speedy discount wedding packages had a baby on the way, they might as well be upfront about it on the website.

The Sugukon Maternity Plan is an all-inclusive package for the shotgun wedding of your dreams. The total cost of the wedding comes to around ¥1,850,000 (about $21,600) for 60 guests and includes catering, flowers, rent for venue and wardrobe, and more. While this may seem steep, Ateam, the company behind Sugukon, say sthat it’s heavily discounted and that the couple choosing this plan will save as much as ¥800,000 (around $9,300).

Brides can rent a maternity wedding dress from a range of over 20 styles and if the reception venue is near, they can keep the dress on after the ceremony. All the venues have been selected for their liberal attitude to brides with a visible bump, meaning the couple won’t be bothered by disapproving looks from the staff.  Sugukon assures customers that there is a wide range of swanky venues (“famous hotels and popular restaurants”) to choose from.

If the price tag for the Maternity Plan is a bit high, you can opt for the cheaper ¥1,460,813 (about $17,000) Sazukari Plan. Sazukari is a polite way to say there’s a baby on the way, so the plan provides for couples who’ve got a certain sense of urgency. A wedding can be put together with only a month’s notice, making sure you get to the church on time before you hit the maternity ward. Better still, you can defer payment till after the wedding. It’s traditional in Japan for guests to pay to attend the wedding, so this means that the expecting couple won’t have to pay out of their own pockets beforehand.

Sugukon Navi is not the only company offering such a service: Pretty Chapel and Sweet W also do all-inclusive maternity plans, indicating that attitudes toward pregnant brides are changing considerably.

Recession wedding (bring your own champagne?)

Monday, August 10th, 2009

Yoyogi Park wedding

Last weekend I took part in a good friend’s wedding. Rather than a shrine or church, he and his bride-to-be chose Yoyogi Park for their nuptials. The simple ceremony surrounded by friends got me wondering about Japan’s wedding industry, a massive money-making machine that feeds off tradition and class distinctions that in past years few questioned. Was my friend’s stripped-down ceremony indicative of a movement spurred on by the recession, or was Japan’s “Marital Industrial Complex” unaffected by the economy?
It turns out that weddings are considered by many to be one of the few recession-proof
industries here. Even movie theaters and the yakuza want in on the action. Hiroshi Nagasaki at Livedoor writes that although marriages are happening less frequently and later in life, the actual price tag for a wedding is going up. Even the average wedding dress price rose by 18%. And the industry could grow even stronger if same-sex couples were legalized here, argues Luxist.

While marriage rates are definitively lower than a decade ago, questions about interest in marriage send off mixed signals. What Japan Thinks shows young Japanese women showing little interest, but there are plenty of sources stating clearly that “kon-katsu” (marriage hunting) is alive and on the rise. Ameba News considers matchmaker agencies to be another recession-proof industry, right up there with designer bag rental services, where office ladies who can’t actually afford that Louis Vuitton can still flaunt one at the next wedding they attend.

Adamu at Mutant Frog points to pricey weddings exposing Japan’s growing economic disparity, but that this cost is offset by parental support and the cash gifts your guests are obligated to bring. Those without a large network of friends and family may be out of luck, especially those with a bun already in the oven (“shotgun marriages” count for at least a quarter of all new marriages, according to J-cast).

I’m still looking into Japanese “DIY” weddings and welcome your input. When my wife and I hear of our friend’s wedding expenses, we tend to measure the price in terms of months in Thailand (as in “Do you know how many months we could spend in Thailand for that amount of money?”).? Reading Phil Brasor’s recent analysis on Naomi Kawashima’s wedding last month had us fantasizing about winter homes in Krabi and Chiang Mai, with a driver, live-in help and a personal masseuse. Economic disparity indeed.

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