Although Japan is not often considered the best place for sexual equality, steps are definitely being taken in the right direction. More and more women are trailblazing lifelong careers in not always hospitable corporate environments and forgoing more traditional routes such as marriage and becoming a full-time homemaker.
But sometimes this comes at the cost of getting married and starting a family. While some women are perfectly fine with this, others will no doubt feel the occasional pang of regret when they consider that they never had a chance to get all dressed up and be the center of attention for the day like many of their friends and family.
That’s why Kyoto-based company Cerca Travel has set up a service providing all the glamor of a wedding without any of the commitment in what they call a “Solo Wedding.” That’s right: women can now have the full wedding day experience without actually having to get hitched.
A Solo Wedding is a two-day excursion where clients spend the night in a hotel as they go in for dress fittings, bouquet design, hair and make-up, and even a full photo shoot. Each of these services is handled by a professional in the industry and done with the same level of quality and attention to detail as a real wedding ceremony.
When she’s all done up, the tour coordinator will take the solo bride to some beautiful Kyoto backdrops which complement her appearance for a commemorative photo shoot. If wedding dresses aren’t your cup of champagne, Cerca Travel can also set you up with one of the many other historical dress-up tours around Kyoto such as putting on Geisha make-up and clothes. There is also an option to have a decorative man between the ages of 20 and 70 to pose alongside you, but reportedly none of the 10 women who have enjoyed the Solo Wedding experience since Cerca began offering it in June this year have opted to do so, instead focusing on making the day all about them.
Cerca Travel’s website has some testimonies from past solo-brides:
“It really felt like a dream. I didn’t really care about the wedding dress because I was married and had children already.”
[divorcee in 50s]
“That was the best!! I feel great! I’m dating a guy but have totally put off the pain that is getting married. I always wanted to wear a wedding dress and I didn’t want to regret it, but I also didn’t want to pester my boyfriend.”
[single in 30s]
“Thank you for the other day. My childhood dream came true at 38…! It really was like a dream.”
[single in 30s]
There are a variety of packages to choose from, but since the cheapest starts at around 300,000 yen (US$2,800), just like a real wedding this may be something that you’ll only want to do once.
It goes without saying that this vacation is probably not for everyone, as whether this is a glamorous weekend out or depressing reminder of one’s relationship status really just depends on the individual’s state of mind. Ultimately, though, we see nothing wrong with a woman taking a couple of days to be fussed over, and if there’s a company out there willing to do just that, why not do a little (okay, a lot of) selfish spending?