Getting married in Japan, the legal process- not the human drama, is not a big deal. It is so not a big deal, that it isn’t that uncommon for people to be married without any major announcements beforehand. (Once you say it on Facebook, it is pretty much official though.)
Your first steps towards martial bliss:
Step 1. Fill out 2 simple document that are readily available your local ward office
Step 2. Find 2 different witnesses (usually friends or family) to stamp the papers.
Step 3. Take it back to the ward office.
We decided on the morning of March 31st that the date would be easy to remember for our anniversary…so we dropped off the paper that night. Yes, just as romantic as it sounds.
Getting married and having a wedding are two completely different things though. They normally don’t overlap, so the wedding usually occurs several weeks to months after legally becoming husband and wife.
Marriage itself takes about as much effort as it does to send a certified letter at the post office, but a wedding has so many social obligations connected to it, that the wedding and actual marriage don’t normally happen at the same time.
As for us, we actually haven’t had a wedding yet because of the logistical problems of getting our families together in one country. I swear if that doesn’t happen before our 5th anniversary, I’ll give up and buy another cat.