Living in a country that is multicultural (while unfortunately not always living up to this beautiful ideal) has made me want more than the standard I do – He does for our vows. To start with we began composing our self written vows, which although not complete have come together beautifully so far. But I felt there was a bit of a hole, we both had no family traditions to carry on. And the large gaps in my family tree makes it improbable to look back on what others had done. Wolff and I both currently study Japanese, and while I find it difficult it is also beautiful and rewarding, mostly owing to the depth of Japanese culture. Because of this we have decided to incorporate the Japanese wedding tradition of Sansankudo. To explain I have pasted the section that our marriage celebrant will read to our guests while we are taking part in the ceremony.
San San Kudo – Sansankudo – さんさんくど or 三々九度
Celebrant: Tyler and Lila have opted to incorporate a Japanese wedding tradition into their ceremony today.
“Sansankudo no Sakazuki” generally called “sakazuki-goto,” is the traditional custom at every wedding performed according to Shinto rites – Long ago in Japan, sake played an important role in tying together the gods and common people. Therefore, one would never drink alone, but always in groups. There are now many old customs which have lost their meaning or popularity, but the drinking of sake at wedding ceremonies, known as “Sansankudo no sakazuki”, a major focus of the ceremony, continues to thrive even in modern culture. “Sansankudo no sakazuki” brings the gods in between humans to help them, through the sharing of sake, come closer together and create a bond of friendship.
San-san-kudo literally means “three, three, nine times.” The cup used at san-san-kudo is a special one called “sakazuki,” which is only used to drink sake and no other beverages. The bride and groom take turns taking three sips each of three different bowls of sake, each one larger than the next. One does not drink the sake like a ‘shot’ but rather tilting the cup up very gradually and sipping lightly. Three is an indivisible number, and it is considered a sacred number in Buddhism. Nine means triple happiness. But just as the san-san-kudo sake sips may not be altogether delicious, the couple’s marriage life may not always be delightful, but they will have to overcome their hardships with the co-operative spirit of the san-san-kudo. By exchanging the nuptial sake sips—three times three—husband and wife are united.
The sentiment really resonated with us and as such we set about having a special sake set created for us. It is probably noteworthy that it is not traditional to have the pitcher that we have selected for the ceremony but rather a sake pot. The only explanation that I was given for this was that the sake is warmed in the pot and also that it is easier to pour. We decided that it would not impact on the meaning of the ceremony for us to go with the pitcher.
Of course to get this set created I turned to the ever wonderful resource of Etsy. I searched for sake sets and trawled through the many wonderful artisans until I found Page Pottery when I saw their style I knew there was no looking further. I messaged them with a query regarding our needs and if they would be willing to make our set, and to my ridiculously huge happiness they said yes. It was the start of another beautiful step in our wedding preparation. Not only did they take time to make sure of exactly what I was after I was sent progress reports and pictures.
And then when they were finished (much more quickly than I expected) I was sent these amazing pictures.
We received them shortly after packed so carefully that I think even if someone had tried to ruin the package they would still be intact. I cannot recommend JR & Kristen enough they do beautiful and even more important to me enthusiastic, passionate work. I think they were almost as excited as I was about this project as they even blogged about it I really hope to have need to call on their services in the future. In the meantime a big thanks goes out to them for helping create our meaningful ceremony.