Key Roles in the Selection Process

Japan, a country that maintains tradition and looks to the West. Learn its singularities to access a new market

In Japan, tradition plays a fundamental role in all socio-economic aspects, and the wedding environment is not exempt of influence from customs and consumption habits along the whole process of designing a wedding.

The first choice a couple makes is the place where the event will be held. These venues offer all kinds of services, from wedding dresses to catering, decoration, flowers… It is a fully comprehensive service, employed by most Japanese couples. In turn, venues sign agreements with their different providers who receive hefty commissions, sanctioning couples in any decision not adhering to companies prescribed by them.

Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo
Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo

These wedding organizing enterprises may have even dozens of delegations around the country. Some as important as Best Anniversary, who have three wedding dress distribution chains associated with them. These distribution chains possess several stores in turn.

These venues offer all kinds of services, from wedding dresses to catering, decoration, flowers… It is a fully comprehensive service, employed by most Japanese couples.

The Wedding Planner, a Rising Figure

In Japan, the figure of a freelance wedding planner as we know it in the West is rather unknown. Their role as organizer, coordinator and advisor throughout the preparation process only takes place in specific instances. Even so, a larger presence is expected in the future, as brides are beginning to demand more personalized weddings without having to adhere to the “pack” offered by the venue.

Mirror Mirror, Tokyo (Image provided by Yuko Nogami)
Mirror Mirror, Omote-Sando, Tokyo (Image provided by Yuko Nogami)

Planners and coordinators, on the contrary, are popular and well-known figures in Japan. While planners show couples the installations and conditions of the contract, coordinators are responsible for attending them once they confirm the celebration of the event. They also accompany them on the wedding day. These names may vary according to the place, but every establishment has its own team of professionals, whose role is to advise brides on everything related to the products they offer there, and also providing knowledge on makeup, hairdressing and even protocol. Some renowned coordinators with great knowledge have gone from working for a company to become freelance wedding planners. These are fringe cases however, as venues maintain their dominant position and may restrict access to the site from outside personnel.

The wedding is an event that shows family status, which is why parents assume a relevant -and often determining- role.

Cultural Differences between City and Countryside

It is in rural settings that family environment takes on a great importance. The wedding is an event that shows family status, which is why parents assume a relevant -and often determining- role in everything from choice of dress to the planning of the event. The economical and esthetical contribution from parents is undeniable.

Image provided by Yuko Nogami, Executive Producer in Mirror Mirror and Wedding Planner
Image provided by Yuko Nogami, Executive Producer in Mirror Mirror and Wedding Planner

On the other hand, urban couples exemplify Tokyo’s trend of following a more independent and progressive pattern, which translates to assuming most of the expenses. In the capital, it is usual for the choice of dress to fall upon both members of the couple, in contrast to the West, where grooms are not allowed to see it beforehand.

Conclusion

In the Japanese wedding sector it is essential to understand the importance of venues. They will be the main brand prescribers directing customers to their suppliers.

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