Recently at the Holiday Inn in Albany, I was the disc jockey for a real fun, high-end, Asian-fusion-themed Sweet Sixteen Party. The party was formal, and also much like an Japanese-American themed Wedding I did recently, so I thought I would throw down some ideas to help others who are thinking about a theme for their special event.
It’s okay to be different. The birthday girl at the party I did was an African-American. If you love sushi and/or Chinese food and have a huge passion for the East, who says that you can’t have an Asian-themed wedding? If you are thinking of changing things up a bit for your wedding, it doesn’t matter if the bride or groom has Oriental roots or not, it really doesn’t matter. America is about diversity. How many theme parties have you been to where the hosts actually fit the mold in their daily lives, anyhow?
Anyhow, it could be difficult and limiting to isolate your event to just Chinese or Japanese culture, since they themselves draw from so many inspirations. The modern Japanese writing system itself uses three main scripts, and one of them, Kanji, is basically made up entirely from Chinese characters/letters. Since here in the west, we often group eastern ideas and cultures together, it may be interesting to have an Asian-Fusion Theme, so you can incorporate all the fun.
WEDDING CEREMONY – For the actually wedding ceremony, there are many different eastern traditions that can easily be researched. One interesting one has the bride and groom entering the room from opposite sides and symbolically walking together. Guests then wave paper streamers over the couple’s heads for purification to keep evil spirits at away. After exchanging vows, the bride and groom each drink a symbolic glass of sake. Finally, they trade glasses nine times to symbolize their new bond.
BRIDE DRESS- Typically, a bride in Japan wears a white silk kimono that can cost over $20,000, but you can get something much cheaper here in the states, or even have something made. The fun part for the bride in Japan is that she gets to act like Lady Gaga at an award ceremony all night. Normally, the Japanese bride changes into up to five different kimonos throughout the wedding day.
Japanese brides often wear a traditional Japanese wig as part of their regalia. These wigs are very fancy and decorated in golden barrettes, pearls, and beautiful artificial flowers,
GROOM CLOTHING- On the other side of the ying yang, a Japanese groom wears all black. A “haori” on the top and a “hakama” on the bottom are the official terms of the traditional matrimonial garb.
DRESS CODE – The wedding party also dresses in kimonos, usually in a color chosen by the bride. Depending on the atmosphere you are looking for, you may want to encourage fun eastern attire from the guests as well. Warning… be forewarned that Uncle Charlie could probably show up as a ninja.
The reception is where you can really pull in the Asian-Fusion theme. There are so many options with this that there is no excuse if you fall short.
ARRIVAL – Though I will admit I have not seen this, coming in pulled on a hand-pulled rikshaw would kick some major bonsai!
DECORATIONS – There are so many options. Bonsai Tree centerpieces, Shoji paper lanterns with Japanese script, Chinese paper parasols, Lucky bamboo plants, Fancy sushi trays and dipping dishes, Cherry Blossoms, paper wall room dividers, hanging oil lanterns. Mini Sandy Zen gardens with tiny rakes. Polished river stones can act as paperweights for napkins.
PRINTING – For the invitations, print custom invitations on Japanese Fine artisan papers and make sure to include some Chinese or Japanese letters. You could also print programs on paper fans!
FAVORS – In Japan, a nickel is a beautiful cheap coin that has a hole in it. It is said to be good luck to wear this coin as a charm on a necklace. Therefore, why not give out Good Luck Japanese Nickel Necklaces? Also, every place setting could have a Lucky Red Takeout Box & Japanese Chopsticks, and Origami. You could also go with a keepsake Porcelain Chinese Takeout Box , Longevity Chopsticks in Silk Pouches, or even Personalized Japanese Wood Chopsticks. Also, fortune cookie with pre-printed fortunes, customized by the bride and groom would be a great hit!
DRINKS – Bowls of edamame beans at the bar, Sake, Wasabe Brew, green tea, or mango sodas.
APPETISERS – Sushi, sashimi, a full raw bar spread, dim sum, shrimp tempura, spring rolls, teriyaki or yakimore sticks and noodles dishes.
MAIN COURSE – Don’t even get me started.
No matter what you do, a theme wedding is the way to go. No one will forget! …And do not be afraid to play Carl Douglas’ “Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting” and The Vapors song “I’m Turning Japanese.” You know you want to!