That’s Amore: A Quick Guide to Japanese Wedding Receptions

The next few hours of our wedding reception were done in typical Japanese fashion.  A lot of it was very “Japanese” so I’m going to provide a quick guide to Japanese wedding reception culture.

Pouring Beer

When you go out to eat in Japan you never pour your own drink. A bottle of beer, or wine, or sake is placed at the table and everyone watches everyone else’s glass and you fill another person’s glass when it gets low. It’s a sign of respect and shows you’re attentive to another’s needs. At weddings, guests come up to the bride and grooms table at intermittent times and pour them beer to show their respect. In turn, the bride and groom drink the beer and wait for the next guest to come and fill the glass again.  It’s a very nice way of seeing all of your guests throughout the reception and saying hello. It’s also a really easy way to get drunk. If you have about 80 guests you will probably have your glass refilled about 80 times. Fortunately, the wedding industry has thought of a way to combat the bride and groom getting drunk at their wedding. Under most sweetheart tables are buckets where the bride and groom toss their beer after their glass has been refilled.


The infamous bucket. I wasn’t able to get a photo of mine, but here is a photo from a wedding website. Image via


A groom discretely disposing of the beer. Image via

Mr.G doesn’t like beer so he always threw his beer away. I drank most of my beer and I was fine. The adrenaline running through  my body seemed to counteract any of the alcohol.


Receiving beer from some of our guests. Personal Photo


Japan is a country that loves “cute.” Everything, no matter how formal, has to be cute.  Cuteness was ever present at our wedding with heart- hands (making a heart with your hands). Our photographer constantly had me and Mr. G making heart- hands.


He had all of our guests do it when we took pictures at everyone’s table.

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We even did heart- hands in the formal family portraits.

Our photographer also had us do “cute” poses during our couples photos.


Mr. G and I felt incredibly silly doing poses like this, but our photographer kept saying “Don’t worry. It will be so cute!”

Happy Wedding!

You may have heard me mention a few people saying “Happy Wedding!” at the reception.  For some reason, many Japanese people think that English speakers say “Happy Wedding” at weddings and say it all the time when a couple gets married.


Our wedding cake with “Happy Wedding”

Our photographer had us say “happy wedding” rather than “cheese” at every photo. My family though this was hilarious and started saying “Happy Wedding!” for anything and dissolving into giggles afterwards.


My sister and I doing a few cute poses as our photographer tells us to smile and say “Happy Wedding!”

So what do you think of these Japanese traditions?  Most importantly, what do you think of heart- hands? Cute? Or do we look like we’re eating invisible hamburgers?

recap icon

Photography by Teppei Kawakami 

Miss a recap?

We have our rehearsal dinner,.

We set up the venue,

We do our first look and family photos.

The sushi at cocktail hour was great.

We blatantly copy the internet. 

Our boss gives a speech.

We say Kampai!

We cut the cake.


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