Real Bee Budgets: Gondola Edition

It’s time for the Gondola wedding budget post.  Most of this post is going to be ridiculously easy because Japanese weddings are one-stop, all -inclusive events.

Location: Kyoto, Japan
Number of Guests: 71
Budget: $15,000- $20,000

Reception Costs : $10,950


Our venue, like many in Japan, has a set price per guest which covers all of the reception costs: food, drink, wedding cake, food tastings, the MC fee, linens, AV equipment, flowers for the table, countless meetings with the wedding planner,  and more.  The price per each guest (plus bride and groom) was $150. So $150 x 73= $10,950

Photography :$525

Ridiculously cheap, I know,  but this only covered 3 and a half hours of photography. In my personal opinion, Japanese wedding photography is still a few years behind American wedding photography.  Nevertheless, I believe that I got above and beyond what I paid for. Our photographer had a great personality and he got some amazing shots.


Our photographer was able to get great candid shots like this.

Bouquet: $200 


The bouquet was a separate cost from the other floral arrangements that were included in the reception fee. I thought it was a bit small for $200 dollars, but I liked it.


This includes the Jenga set, the tripod, the photo booth props, and crepe paper for the photo booth, and a few wooden boxes and vases.

Paper Goods:$198

We could have gotten our paper goods from the venue but they would have been about $5 a piece so I DIYed everything and had it printed on Vistaprint with lots of coupons.


Thank You Cards: $50

STDs: $25

Save-the-Template from Etsy Shop: Paper Flowers Designs

Template purchased from

Bathroom Door Posters: $10


Men’s Bathroom Door Sign. Personal Photo

Place Cards and Escort Cards $8 ( I just bought business cards from an office supply store and printed them at home.)

Pamphlets: $25

Dress and Veil: $600


Trying on my wedding dress. Personal Photo

Necklace: $55

option 3

 Image via

Mr. G’s Suit: $450

We bought it a Men’s Wearhouse on a trip to the states.


Hairpiece: $50

Shoes: $50

Make-up & Hair: $100

Now comes the hard part: the gifts. Hive, I mentioned in my gift- giving post that there are lots of gifts to give at a Japanese weddings.  Here is our gift breakdown.

Favors: $1950

Gift catalogs that were $30 each (30 x 65=1950)

Special Favors for Close Family Members: $1800

Gift catalogs that were $300 each (300 x 6 =$1800)

Petite Gift$71

This gift is expected to be at the table and about a dollar in cost. It’s usually cookies or crackers, but we did scratch- off lottery cards. (1x 71= $71)

Favors for the Favors: $355

Yes, your $30 dollar wedding favor has to have a favor attached to it. It’s expected to be something cheap. We did a gift certificates to Starbucks so our guests could grab a cup of coffee while they waited for the after party. (5 x 71= $355)

Receiving Line Gift: $71 (This is the gift you hand to everyone at the receiving line. We did personalized lip balm (1 x 71= $71)


Our lip balm gift bag. Personal Photo

After Party Receiving Line Gifts: $130

This was the gift we gave at the after party receiving line. We did bags of American candy. (2 x 65= $130)

After Party: $0

All expenses of the after party besides the receiving line gifts were covered by the cover charge all of the guests paid so our after party cost us $0.

Japanese Wedding Grand Total: $17,705

So did we have a zero wedding? Well, we received about $12,000 in wedding gift money so the difference was $5,705 which means we didn’t have a zero wedding. This is common for most couples in Japan as buying gifts will eat up most of your budget very quickly. Our gift budget was actually a quarter of our entire grand total! I know there aren’t a ton of people here at the hive who are getting married in Japan, but I hope this gave you a nice peek into Japanese culture.

If there is any budget advice I could give to brides it would be to get on a mailing list for Vistaprint. They send so many coupons it’s ridiculous and I saved so much money having my printing done by them!

*Unless noted, all photos by Teppei Kawakami 


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