What would be at my wedding? Hmmm...

Good morning everyone,

It looks like today will be mostly overcast, but it's not supposed to rain. Speaking of which, is the end of Rainy Season near? It's already over in Tokyo! Tomorrow will be mostly sunny and the rest of the week is looking not too bad either with a mix of sun and clouds and highs in the high 20s.

With wedding rates spiraling to record lows, there’s more reason than ever to pull out all the stops once two of you have successfully navigated the dating minefield, worked hard to earn your parents’ blessing and filled out all the adorable paperwork.

There are a whole host of wedding services dedicated to putting a little extra sparkle into your big day, and one of them – a company called Surprise-Mall – is gaining some serious steam, with videos posted by the company racking up thousands of likes and well over a million views on YouTube.

The service they offer is called “MemoReplay“, and they define it themselves like this:

“Thanks to a combination of our team of professional (child) actors and your own treasured memories with your parents, MemoReplay revives your memories with warmth and vivid color, and lets you convey all the gratitude you felt to your parents while they raised you. Finally, we will gift the new bride with a letter that’s sure to make this experience even more unforgettable.”

Putting it in simple terms, the company works together with the new couple’s wedding planners in order to create slideshows of nostalgic photographs from when the bride and groom were much younger, and then they bring out child actors to recreate their thoughts and feelings.

The stage is set, with all of the parents at the front of the room in special seats, when a little boy enters. He looks uncannily like Shigeru once did…

▼ “Hey, look at this really cool toy Dad got for me!”

From the old photographs displayed in the backdrop, to the child actor’s perfectly coordinated outfit (the company matches their wardrobe to old photographs) to the emotional swell of music – everything is a precision strike to the feelings. A little girl portraying Kanna, the bride, also comes onstage, and from the second she speaks the bride’s mother is reaching for a tissue to wipe her tears away.

We skip forward to the difficult teenage years. The child actor for Shigeru does a great job retelling his accomplishments in judo club, and the support from his parents that enabled it; but many commenters on the YouTube page cite the brother of the bride’s reaction to her impassioned speech as the part where they welled up.

▼ The actress talks about how in her teenage years she would come home late, and her usually jovial family would yell at her because they were so worried

Lastly we have fresh-faced adult versions of the newlyweds thank their parents with eloquence they can only use with the gift of hindsight. Many of the guests are openly sobbing by now, and the bride’s recollection of her dramatic return home to her parents during the 2011 earthquake only intensifies the emotion in the room.

▼ Her dramatic monologue finishes with the passing of a letter along a chain of the actresses, until it reaches the real bride herself

We’re then treated to a tearful Kanna reading out her letter, and the performance is finished. But the video also checks in with the guests outside, and from their glowing comments it seems the MemoReplay was a resounding success.

▼ The mother of the bride said she was “stunned” by the ceremony, and praised the company for coming up with such a great idea

To Western viewers, the concept of a service based entirely around thanking your parents – a service that costs upwards of 218,000 yen and comes with trained child actors who mimic your younger self – might seem a little intense at first. However, filial piety is a deeply respected concept throughout Japan (and indeed many other Eastern cultures). While the wedding is about the young couple, it’s only right to consider the great efforts of the men and women who guided them through life so that they could meet each other – and though this performance is a very dramatic expression of that gratitude, it definitely sends the message home.

What’s more, you get the added bonus of a sentimental ceremony that portrays everyone’s different lives and contributions in a special and unique way. I had my doubts before watching, but found myself stifling sobs right along with the bride’s older brother. Judging from the comments on the video, and the glowing reviews popping up all over the Internet, I’m not alone!

What are your thoughts? Would you splash out for this time-travelling luxury?

Have a great day!

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