Sometimes a mini umbrella or samba line just don’t cut it, when it comes to bridal sophistication. Foreign touches can add elegance and newness though – when done properly. Take a nod from the Japanese woman. She has turned a drive-through Starbucks pick me up into the height of social elegance and ceremony. Add any of these subtle touches to your wedding menu and gift list, for an old meets new loveliness.
Sake. No, not bombs. The luxurious rice wine, sipped in small ceramic cups is a sushi staple. You can serve it either cold or warm, from matching ceramic pourers. Try creating a signature Couple’s Sake cocktail to imbibe with zeal. Rice wine goes well with coconut or citrus fruits, and compliments lighter dishes like white fish or hors’d’ouvrs. Personally, I prefer mine served warm on its own. Try Rihaku Junmai Ginjo Wandering Poet, or Hiko’s Sake Reserve.
For the girls! There are endless gift and beauty ideas for the Japan-lover. Soft silk handmade Kimonos are especially yummy. They can be used as bridesmaid gifts, for getting bride-ready, also as truly unique bridal gowns and jackets. It’s near impossible to find custom kimono-makers, and new kimonos are equally hard to locate. To find the gems, you have to go vintage shopping in major cities, or select online – which is easiest on Etsy.com. The hub is a treasure trove of antiques, crafts and artisan items. Be sure to kimono-scout a month or two ahead of time, as shipping is often international and takes awhile. Also be sure to check with the seller about the condition of the garmet, and specifics of the fabric – opt for silk or crepe versus synthetic. Two special spots are Kimono My House, in Palm Beach, FL, and Ginza, in LA.
Memorable hair adornments are every bride’s wish – and the Japanese are no different. For every Memoirs of a Geisha lover, Kanzashi are the feminine dreamy combs and flowers worn by geishas. They can be more simple, for an everyday bun – made of silk, wood, or plastic. The more traditional Kanzashi – made of mother-of pearl, or metals – come in full sets of 4-12 combs and pins, often in fancy carrying cases. One or two of the many pieces are more appropriate for formal affairs. There are an in incredible variety too for a simple updo, a drippy flower bun, or a tiny bud mixed into flowy hair. A variety of materials used make these collectible, and incredibly versatile. The 90’s hairstick has also had a seriously ladylike makeover lately, with an incredible array on Amazon and Etsy. Try picking up a bunmaker at Sephora, Amazon, or any local beauty store. It’s basically a spongey donut that makes creating a perfect circular, medium-giant bun super easy.
What hairdo is perfect without smooth blemish-free skin? Most Japanese women have the porcelain skin that easily shows any imperfections, so their array of treatments and products are mindblowing. Dewy youthful skin starts inside out. Japanese women stock their beauty cabinets and kitchens with seaweed, algae supplements, and green tea or matcha. Collagen-boosting supplements are their main craze. Bath houses also are unique in Japanese culture, in that they are social centers. Many soak in mineral waters, or hot/cold pools to boost circulation and release toxins. Replicating the spa waters at home is easy – soak in a piping hot epsom salt bath for 5 minutes – then immediately jump into a cold shower for 5 minutes. Use unscented epsom salts, or any unscented sodium magnesium mix. Add a few drops of ginger, rosemary, peppermint, or lavender essential oil to your bath to upp the spa factor. Make sure the water is hot, not warm – then cold, not cool. Alternate 2-3 times, always ending with cold water. You’ll immediately feel invigorated! Try it post workout to flush lactic acid, and boost lymphatic drainage and circulation when bloated. Japanese women are big on lymphatic drainage! A short facial lymphatic massage in the morning, and before bed does wonders. It boosts your products effectiveness by getting it further into the pores, helps define facial contours, and lessen fine lines. A full body lymphatic massage miraculously cures puffiness, hangovers, sore muscles, and can even detour a coming cold or sinus infection. Don’t be surprised when you have to blow your nose and use the bathroom about an hour afterward! Try it before the big day, or after your bachelorette party.
Age-old Japanese detox secrets also include charcoal and clay. Activated charcoal soaps and cleansers iterally pull oil and grime from pores while gently exfoliating. Smoother clay soaps and masks suck up blackheads and dry out acne-prone skin. Most mixes are hypoallergenic and meant for deeper cleansing, and can strip moisture when overused. This makes them perfect for congested back/chest breakouts, and to dry/prevent ingrowns (don’t use directly on your intimate parts though.) Prep deep hydration masks and serums with choarcoal/clay products for maximum receptivity. Generously moisturize after all use. My personal obsession – for extra fluffy full hair, use Nippon Kodo deitanseki charcoal handmade barsoap, instead of shampoo! Condition ends, blowdry, pop in large curlers for sexed up Bridget Bardot hair.