A typical western style wedding, but this is not in America, Europe or Australia. This wedding is taking place in Japan. Even in traditional parts of Japan, many young couples wish to have the fabled ‘white wedding’ of the western world. Couples choosing a ‘traditional’ Japanese style wedding, held in a Shinto shrine, are now in the minority. Bizarrely, no matter whether the couple chooses a Shinto ceremony or a Christian-themed ceremony, they must first prove that they are in fact married. This usually involves filing the correct paperwork for marriage at the local government office months in advance. Documentation must then be shown to either the Shinto priest, or to the wedding company staff at the Christian chapel hall, before the wedding ceremony can legally take place.
According to findings in 2011 by Yano Research Institute, the wedding ceremony and reception party market in Japan was estimated to be JPY 1,516 billion yen (about USD 15 billion dollars). The average price for a wedding and reception, usually held in a hotels or wedding ceremony chapels and halls, hovered around 3 million yen (USD 24 thousand dollars). However, wedding venues have recently been offering more reasonably priced ceremonies and parties due to economic deflation in the last few years.
Nevertheless, those figures are just for the wedding ceremony and reception. Many companies offer complete packages that include the initial engagement ceremony and jewelry, wedding day ceremony and reception, bride and groom wedding clothing, bridal jewelry, hotel stay afterwards, honeymoon travel, and even ‘starting furniture’ for newlyweds. That market, as of 2010, was estimated to be worth JPY 2,748 billion yen (approximately USD 27.5 billion dollars), a market which has shown to be strong despite the recession.