Weddings From Heaven

by Oliver Arlow
Weddings From HeavenGetting married has never been more fun

As the happiest and most memorable day of any couple’s life, a wedding has to be just right. On this day — with friends, family and new in-laws looking on — it needs to be perfect. And as most of us only do this once (or perhaps twice …), then it is worth talking to the experts to make sure that everything goes to plan before the first note of the bridal march is played.

Mr. J and Ms. Y had a very clear idea of what they wanted, combining the traditions of a Japanese ceremony with the flexibility of a karate demonstration during the reception.

“Ms. Y had been to a relative’s wedding there when she was a child and the memory of Meguro Gajoen stuck with her as the ideal venue,” said Mr. J, 32, from Galway, Ireland. “And also, because I had family coming over from Ireland, I wanted to show them something very Japanese. The banquet rooms at Gajoen are very ornate and the atmosphere was perfect.”

Meguro GajoenThe bride and groom wore traditional Japanese wedding attire before switching to a white wedding dress and tuxedo, with their 60 guests decorating their cake with messages while they were changing.

Mr. J said that the day “flew by in a blur” — and admits that he was sufficiently nervous that he forgot to mention his own parents in his speech — but both he and his new wife were delighted at the standard of service and how smoothly the entire day went.

Something of an oasis in the middle of the city, Meguro Gajoen incorporates modern architecture and technology — most visible in its huge atrium garden — as well as the touches for which Japan is famous, according to spokesman Kenji Shibata.

“I had family coming over from Ireland, I wanted to show them something very Japanese. The banquet rooms at Gajoen are very ornate and the atmosphere was perfect.”

Happoen The banquet facilities include 22 halls, all of which are different in design and style, while decoration throughout the venue — which opened in 1931— includes carved reliefs, mother-of-pearl inlays and other fantastic works of art.

Japanese and international couples looking to get married here are both driving a new-found popularity for “Wa-kon” weddings, with “wa” representing a broad sense of Japanese style, from graceful, traditional clothing to Japanese food, coordination of the event, ceremonies in Shinto shrines or Buddhist temples, according to officials of Happoen — a venue whose name means “garden of eight views.”

The venue dates back to the Edo period and, unsurprisingly, prides itself on the carefully preserved hillside gardens that are interspersed with historical buildings and water features. Located in the fashionable Shirokanedai district, it is particularly popular with wedding parties during the cherry blossom season in spring and in autumn, when the leaves of the trees are flaming reds and golds.

Happoen holds chapel-style or Shinto weddings, followed by receptions in the sumptuous banquet halls, which make the most of the surrounding 50,000m squared of gardens.

Full Throttles: top-end Tokyo and exotic resortsAnd for anyone not entirely sure of what they want for their special day — but definitely want it to be memorable for everyone involved due to the sheer quality of the event — then Full Throttles are the people to speak to.

As the name suggests, the company is dedicated to going all out to give the customer exactly what they want, according to President Koichi Imabayashi.

“At the moment, we’re focused on restaurant weddings, which have a rather down-market image,” he said. “But we’re targeting the very top end of the market by providing the most up-market restaurants that serve up the best food in the best environment.”

Top of the list are venues such as Nobu Tokyo, La Rochelle, Ristorante Sabatini and Ginza Raffinato, while formal dress can be supplied by Pronovias Tokyo, Atelier Aimee or Deux Endiro for her or Kirk Men’s Formal for him. After-party locations range as far and wide as ViVi la Verde Ebisu, Katsina, the Flamingo Cafe or Oli.

“We really go all out to make sure the food is of the very highest quality because time and time again, when we ask people what the most important thing at a wedding is they say the meal,” said Imabayashi.

Full Throttles is also branching out to offer weddings at some of the most exotic places on the planet, including Mauritius, the Maldives and Bali, working in cooperation with the renowned Amanresorts and One&Only Resorts.

“For any couple, it’s the most important day of their lives and it’s up to us to make it so,” said Imabayashi. “And we pride ourselves on making their dreams come true.”

Meguro Gajoen
Tel: 03-5434-3837

Tel: 03-3443-3111

Full Throttles
Tel: 0120-511-350