In order to follow correct Japanese seating etiquette for your wedding table plan, it is traditional that the most important guests sit on the ‘kamiza’ (honoured seat) which is located furthest from the entrance to the room. If you really wish to bring the Orient to your seating plan, serve the reception food on low tables set on a tatami matting floor. The formal Japanese way of sitting is kneeling – although the ‘seiza’ style of kneeling on the floor with your legs folded under your body, with your back resting on your heels is usually impossible for Westerners who have not been brought up sitting like this for extended periods of time. Casual kneeling in Japan sees women kneeling with their legs to one side, men sitting cross legged.
Red, black and gold typify an oriental colour scheme, with room decorations of tall bamboo planters, cherry blossom flower arrangements and elegant flowering orchids. Add a depth to the lighting with decorated lanterns, and dress your tables in crisp linen that matches your colour scheme. Centrepieces of live bonsai trees, or large circular bowls filled with floating water lillies and lilly pads would be an eye catching talking point among your guests. Create an elegant cherry blossom motif to tie all of the décor together – printing it on invitations, menus, place cards, napkins and as much wedding stationary as possible.
Favours and gifts for guests can easily be personalised, with paper fans interwoven with paper inscribed with the name and date of the wedding, or simpler chopsticks or sachets of green tea. Serve small glasses of sake as a welcome drink, and ask a local chef to prepare and serve Peking duck at the top table as a starter for your Japanese themed wedding meal.
Finish your meal with coffee or green tea served with a fortune cookie for each guest. Personalise the bride and groom’s cookies with a quote such as “Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing.” (Goethe).