As a predominantly Western-based wedding site, we don't see many traditional Eastern Asian wedding ceremonies. So when we saw Lilliana and Mitsu's Shinto wedding in Kyoto, Japan we had to pick our jaw up off the floor. Not only did this couple time their big day perfectly to coincide with the changing of the Japanese maple trees but the detail and beauty of this whole day are mesmerizing.
Keep scrolling to find out more about the traditional Shinto wedding ceremony and be sure to visit the full gallery to see every last photo taken by the amazing Adriana Morais Photography. Hint, there are some fantastic fall photos taken with Mount Fuji in the background that you will not want to miss.
Love From Across An Ocean
A European and an East Asian celebrate their love and unite their families in a Shinto shrine in Kyoto. Since she was a child, Liliana felt a deep connection with Japan. She had to wait several years to visit the country, but when she got there - coming from Brazil to do a PhD about Japanese ceramics - all it took were a couple of weeks to meet Mitsu, an unconventional but calm Japanese man that fell in love with a mercurial westerner. It was the beginning of their love story.
A couple of years later they were living in Tokyo when Mitsu surprised Liliana with a proposal in Portuguese. They decided right away that the ceremony would be in Kyoto, near Mitsu’s family and home to many of the most beautiful temples in the world. The ceremony took place on the 26th of November of 2018 when the leaves from the Momiji - the Japanese maple trees - turn red and give us an amazing backdrop to the wedding pictures. It was celebrated at a Shinto shrine, following the tradition of one of the oldest religions in Japan, that puts nature and spirituality at its center.
In Japan, it's normal for the bride and groom to dress together, with the help of wedding planners. It’s a complex process. The clothes have several layers and elements that only a specialist knows how to put together. Inside the kimono (Irouchikake), brides usually take a dagger (kaiken) and a golden folding fan. The shoes are always thonged Japanese sandals (zouri). Although clothes are in general more complicated than in a western wedding, there’s one thing in common: the groom takes much less time to dress. He usually uses a black kimono (Hakama).
After getting dressed, both join their families that are waiting in a room nearby, where a priestess explains how the ceremony is going to work and everyone’s role in it. It’s common that only the nuclear family attends the wedding.
Tradition Meets The Nontraditional
The ceremony was quite simple and beautiful. The bride and groom entered the Yoshida Shrine together to the sound of drums and prayer. Almost every gesture is planned and has meaning. The couple drinks three cups of sake, that represents blessings from the gods. The families do the same, creating a bond between them. Everything is accompanied by music.
At dinner, the traditional clothes are replaced by more relaxed and comfortable ones. Liliana, Mitsu, and their families share an amazing 12-course meal accompanied by, again, lots of sake. Most Japanese weddings don’t have parties afterward. Although it was a traditional wedding the couple isn’t and that shows. They share their love in public (kisses, hugs), something that Japanese couples don’t often do.
Post Wedding Photo Session
Liliana and Mitsu wanted more photos so the next day we drove to Mount Fuji, a special place for both of them. We searched for the best view we could find until finally, we saw this jaw-dropping scene at the Shoji lake. They were so happy that they didn’t mind entering the water, even if it was freezing cold.
Wedding planner: 220$
Bride wedding dress 1 (rented): 535$
Bride wedding dress 2: 150$
Bride wedding dress 3: 100$
Groom outfit (rented): 100$
Wedding rings: 30$