Japanese Wedding Etiquette

Wedding Etiquette

Reply to Invitation Letter

The host(s) determines the number of seats, presents and seating arrangements after counting the number of guests expected to attend a wedding ceremony. Generally, invitation letters specify ‘Please reply on or before (RSVP). ‘Those invited should reply within a week after receiving an invitation to allow the host(s) time to plan the ceremony well in advance. It is against etiquette to verbally reply regarding attendance or non-attendance no matter how close you are. Your response should be written. Also, regardless of whether or not you are attending, you should write a congratulatory message.

Wedding Gift Money Envelope

Envelopes to hold money given at rare festivities of life, such as wedding ceremonies, have red and white paper strings to tie them. Be sure to use only new banknotes.

A note of congratulations is written on the face of the envelope. The full name of the sender is written under the red and white strings tied in the middle. The amount of money is written in the center of the face of the inner envelope, and the sender’s name is written on the back of the inner envelope.

Appropriate Amount of Money

When attending the reception of a friend or acquaintance, the accepted amount of gift money is ¥30,000. Amounts such as ¥40,000 or ¥90,000 should be avoided, as ¥40,000 and ¥90,000 phonetically imply ‘death’ and ‘adversity,’ respectively. Fundamentally, the amount should be an odd number. If enclosing ¥20,000, a way to avoid offending the receiver is to enclose one ¥10,000 bill and two ¥5,000 bills.


Black only, as it is the color of mourning attire, or white only, which is the bride’s color, are against etiquette. The main players are the bride and bridegroom. Guests should dress conservatively but appropriately in accordance with the level of formality and minimum etiquette of the party.

Wedding Gift (Thank You Gift)

After the reception, the bride and bridegroom and their parents see off the guests. When this occurs, a wedding gift called ‘hikide-mono’ is presented to each guest.

Edited by NTT TownPage

(Created December 2015)