- Wedding: December 2014 - Maui
I’m an American living in Japan. I’ll answer the questions based on Japanese etiquette.
Location: Sapporo, Northern Japan
Cash bars: Unacceptable. Open bar is the norm.
Alcohol free wedding: Unacceptable. They love to drink here.
Potluck/Backyard BBQ: Unacceptable. Hardly anyone’s house/yard is that big and a full course plated French dinner in a hotel banquet hall is the standard. Maybe buffet style in a restaurant is ok but that’s as casual as it gets here.
Outdoor wedding: Not very common. They don’t want guests to be uncomfortable.
Save the Dates: Not very common.
Inviting people to parties and showers but not wedding: There aren’t any parties or showers.
Including gift list/information in invitation: No gift registries. Cash gifts are the norm. In my part of Japan, people are not well off so the cost of dinner is explicitly written in the invitation and guests cover the cost of their plate, normally about $150. In other parts of Japan, there is no cost of dinner written explicitly but proper etiquette is to bring at least $300 in order to cover the cost of your plate. Weddings are more lavish down there on the mainland.
Wedding favors: A must! In my area the cost is around $10-$20 per favor and it’s usually something edible, like a pound cake. In other parts of Japan with the lavish weddings, favors are around $50 per person, and are either household items like dishes, or can be chosen from a catalog.
+1: No way, not even if you are married. Only people who personally know the couple are invited.
Tiered reception: Normal. Usually the ceremony is family only unless the church is really big, reception is family, coworkers, and close friends, and the after party is for friends only.
Wedding party attire: Wedding parties aren’t common here. But I think if there was a wedding party, the bride and groom would pay for attire.
Dollar dance: Doesn’t exist. No dancing at all at Japanese weddings.