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At The Ring Bearer.ca we believe cultural identity does not have to be an individualistic preference. Having a wedding with many cultural influences is a great way to experience new and wonderful traditions and experience what makes humanity so special. Join us in breaking down some of the world’s barriers by celebrating these unique differences we have with love and friendship.


-When the apple blossoms are in bloom: We take you through the traditions of a Shinto wedding-

For many centuries, the Shinto religion has been a big part of the Asian Pacific culture. Synonymous with the Asian countryside, many would recognize a Shinto temple (Jinja) for its famous sloped roof and beautiful natural surroundings that complement its design. 

It is in a Shinto temple where couples come to marry. In front of the sacred shrine of the temple, couples ask that Kami (the Japanese word for "god") bless their marriage to one another. In the Western world, where there is not a heavy abundance of traditional Shinto temples, many couples will find similar sacred shrines within modern hotels where the ceremony can also take place.

The ceremony starts by everyone being lead into the holy area by a Shinto priest.

The bride wears a traditional white kimono called a shiro-maku, her hair adorned with ornaments and accessories for good luck and her body covered in a white powder. Like western society, white represents the purity of the bride on her wedding day and signifies a proclamation to the gods. The groom wears a montsuki kimono and a haori overcoat proudly displaying the family crest.

The ceremony starts with the priest banging a drum to awaken the spirits and saying a prayer to ward off any evil that might have followed the couple into the temple; more prayer to purify the couple follows this. The bride and groom’s family sit face to face during the ceremony, those invited to the ceremony are mainly close family members and friends, as these ceremonies are meant to be quite intimate and private.

The bride and groom read a Japanese passage, usually inscribed in the shrine, to which you promise to Kami to take care of one another throughout your lives together. The groom then reads the words of commitment, upon completion a traditional symbolic offering to Kami is given for thanks and blessing (rice water, salt and fruit). San-San Kudo -the ceremony of the Three Times Three, is served by Shinto serving girls dressed in red and white dresses. Three stacked sake cups sit beside the bride and groom, which they each take three sips from three times.

Sake, a traditional tea, is served to everyone as a good faith gesture to welcome the two families together as one new united family. The tradition of sharing sake is a rather highly symbolic gesture and is one of the unique qualities of a Shinto wedding ceremony.

Some western traditions have been adapted to the Shinto ceremony. For instance, exchanging of wedding rings and western attire, where the bride may wear a white wedding dress and the groom a traditional tuxedo replacing the kimono for the ceremony, but wearing the kimono for the reception instead.

The Reception
It is common to hear traditional Japanese flutist playing welcome music for the guests’ arrival to the reception. The fathers of the bride and groom start-off the festivities by introducing their respective families. The newly wed bride changes into a red kimono for the festivities and is introduced with her new husband. Red and white is considered a happy colour combination, so this theme may be carried out in the overall colour scheme of the reception. You will even find this colour combination in the food!

The receptions are colourful affairs where the attending single women wear highly ornate and colourful kimonos. Married women wear black formal kimonos with elaborate and colourful graphic designs, but must still be less attractive than the maiden kimono. As a wedding gift, guests will customarily offer, goshugi (money), in a decorative envelope. 

Most Shinto weddings are planned for the spring or fall and takes place on what is considered a lucky day. Just when the apple blossoms are in bloom, or as the leaves change colour, a Shinto style wedding can be quite the experience, beautifully different in its simplicity yet entrenched with tradition.

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