It is safe to say that our international guests from Germany and Russia can easily read English. Most of our Japanese guests also know enough English to understand our invitation…however, I have one special Japanese guest who doesn’t know any English.
Although I was motivated to translate because of my teacher, I decided to include the translation for all of my Japanese guests. I had two main goals for my Japanese version:
a) to sound good in Japanese
b) to maintain the aesthetic of my invitation
I hit a snag with my first translation draft because the differences in Japanese grammar didn’t allow me to present the information in its original order. So, I looked into using traditional Japanese invitation wording…but that was too far removed from what I was looking for. A truly Japanese wedding invitation is a flowery, formal letter. It announces the couple’s engagement and intent to marry, and requests the guest’s presence at the ceremony and/or reception. Below the letter, the ceremony and reception details are given bulletin-style (see this example in Japanese).
In the end, I chose to create a hybrid that had elements of both styles and maintained my invitation layout. I asked one of my host families to help me finalize the wording, as I wanted to ensure that it was mistake-free and that it sounded appropriate in Japanese. *
I printed the Japanese text on vellum paper, which I bought at my favorite paper store, Semikolon, in Munich. I managed to fit one set—invitation and RSVP—onto one sheet of paper. I printed the amount that I needed and a few extras, then cut them to the right size with a paper cutter (Thanks again to MOH R!).
When my Japanese guests received their envelopes, they were be greeted by…
An envelope addressed by me in print—sadly not in Japanese calligraphy *sigh*
A hint of Japanese text
The complete set: invitation, information, and RSVP + envelope
The same information in Japanese
RSVP overlay (getting the spacing right took forever)
Did you do anything special for your international guests?
* Wording wedding invitations is not something regularly covered in Japanese class :p
Catch up on our wedding invitation details: