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Japan's Trend Of "Solo Weddings": Marriage Without A Groom

In Japan, a new trend has emerged where young women are participating in “solo weddings,” where they “marry” themselves and forgo the traditional marriage rituals. The brides organize and plan everything themselves but exclude a groom from the ceremony. Some women are motivated by the desire to mark a significant life moment, while others simply […]

Solo Wedding (Rep. Image)
Solo Wedding (Rep. Image)

In Japan, a new trend has emerged where young women are participating in “solo weddings,” where they “marry” themselves and forgo the traditional marriage rituals. The brides organize and plan everything themselves but exclude a groom from the ceremony. Some women are motivated by the desire to mark a significant life moment, while others simply want to wear a beautiful white gown, according to a report in the South China Morning Post.

Mana Sakura, an adult video star, is credited with initiating this trend. In her March 2019 “wedding,” she placed the ring on her own finger and pledged, “I will respect my own life. In health or in sickness, I will always love myself and make myself happy.”

Hanaoka, another woman, spent 250,000 yen (US$1,600) in total and hosted a solo wedding ceremony at a restaurant in Tokyo, inviting 30 guests. “Marrying myself does not mean I don’t want to marry a man,” she said.

She continued, “I read about solo weddings in a blogger’s article and thought I could not do it. But about three years ago, I started doing things that made me happy, like wearing beautiful clothes, enjoying delicious food, and taking baths with flower petals. That is when I began to think about marrying myself.”

Interestingly, even married women are embracing this trend. In 2018, 47-year-old Yukie also organized a ceremony to “relive the feeling of being a bride” once again.

The trend is gaining traction amid declining marriage rates in Japan, with government data indicating fewer than 500,000 weddings in a year, marking the lowest level in 90 years. As marriage rates drop, the “single economy” has thrived, leading to the emergence of solo weddings as a lucrative new market within the wedding industry. Services offered include photo shoots where the bride can involve loved ones, as well as options for creating solo honeymoon packages.

A planner at a Japanese wedding company said, “Solo weddings are a sign of the changing times. Now, more Japanese women can support themselves without getting married, and they do not want to be constrained by traditional roles.”

Numerous companies are now developing products and services tailored for this wedding trend, ranging from solo camping experiences to karaoke outings.

This has sparked a discussion online and elicited a mixed reaction. “Solo weddings seem great. There are many ways to achieve happiness. The most important thing is to love yourself first,” said a user.

Another commented, “I don’t quite understand. Is it a pledge to take myself seriously from now on? This is just a way to avoid the ridicule of being unmarried, serving as a last line of defence.”

“Although there’s nothing wrong with it, placing the ring on your own finger seems a bit lonely,” said a user.

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JapanMarriage without a GroomSolo Weddings New TrendTDGThe Daily Guardian