Sunday, October 18, 2009

The “Japanese Wedding” Protocol – the invitations

P8140374 Even though a lot of things about Japanese weddings may have changed over the years (and I will talk about these in more detail later) one thing stayed the same – there is a very well defined protocol in inviting and accepting (or rejecting) the invitation. If someone invites you to a Japanese wedding they will not just hand you an invitation – no, no… They will give you a little packet containing  the marriage ceremony details, invitation to a part (or multiple parts) of the ceremony such as the chapel (the trend these days), the dinner, and one of the after parties (yes there are multiple usually) and a postcard for RSVP. It is this postcard that I want to focus on…


What’s so special about RSVP you might say and I must admit it is rather similar to an RSVP card in the US but there is one little procedure one needs to follow which I think reflects the Japanese culture’s many aspects. See, there are some not-so-out of ordinary fields such as the name, address, and a message for the couple. The really interesting part is where you are supposed to circle a phrase signifying whether or not you will attend. The two phrases, 出席 (will attend) and 欠席 (will be absent) both start with the honorific “ご”. In English one can think of this as an RSVP card which has a phrase like “I will honor the party” and in Japanese it is pretty normal since it is the owner of the party referring to the presence of the invited. However, since it would be rude for the accepting/rejecting person to use this phrase for himself/herself when returning the RSVP, one is expected to cross out the “ご”.

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