The criticism of the bouquet toss has led many Japanese brides and grooms to omit it from their receptions entirely.

The bouquet toss is a well-known tradition at weddings in the west, and its fame has earned it a spot in Japanese receptions as well. It’s said that the person who catches the bouquet will be the next to get married, so typically unmarried women eagerly gather around the bride in order to be the lucky one to catch it.

But while for some the bouquet toss is a fun tradition, for others, it’s a nightmare. For some, being singled out as a “single lady” in front of a whole party of guests is insulting and embarrassing. This is especially true in Japan, where women are still expected to focus on their predestined roles as housewives and mothers, and being an unmarried woman at an older age implies that you are not being successful in life.

That’s why, for some, being exposed as a “single lady” in front of a large crowd, like during a bouquet toss, is almost a public execution. Some single wedding guests go so far as to say the bouquet toss is “singles harassment”. It’s so hated by single women that, sometimes, when the bride tosses the bouquet, nobody moves to catch it, and it just falls to the floor in a sad puddle of petals.

“It’s just a smug way for the bride to show off,” some women say, while others might add, “Why should we have to suffer such humiliation in front of a crowd when we already have to give the bride and groom 30,000 yen (about US$270) for their wedding gift?”

▼ It’s customary to give a large amount of cash to the bride and groom in an envelope like this to help them along in their new lives.

The opposition has been so strong that many brides in Japan nowadays are forgoing the tradition altogether. When asked in a survey whether they did or plan to do the bouquet toss at their weddings, only 42 percent of brides said yes. In another study, three out of five brides surveyed said they wouldn’t do it either.

Many articles have been written about this issue recently, and Japanese netizens have a lot to say about it, too:

“The bouquet toss is harassment? Everything is harassment these days. It feels like there are more and more negative people who only see the bad parts of things. Or rather, maybe their voices are just the loudest on the Internet.”
“Aren’t people there to celebrate? How sad. The bride and groom invite you because they think you have a good relationship. Why not just skip the reception then?”
“I’m already someone who hates a lot of wedding traditions, and I am pretty critical of them in general. After I read [an article about bouquet harassment], it’s even more clear to me that it’s a really demeaning practice.”
“This made me realize that the bouquet toss is kind of depressing. But when I caught the bouquet toss at a wedding and the bride and groom told me, ‘You’re next!’, I was actually really happy. Is it really that embarrassing to be single?”
“Lately brides have been tossing bouquets not just for the single women to get married, but so that all of the women can achieve happiness.”

Much like the idea in the last comment, more and more Japanese brides are substituting the bouquet toss with something else for the sake of their unmarried guests. The broccoli toss has become a popular alternative: instead of the bride tossing a bouquet, the groom tosses a stalk of broccoli, which symbolizes continuing the family line, to the single male guests. Whoever catches it takes a bite, and then it’s tossed around to other male guests. Apparently it becomes quite exciting, like a rousing rugby match.

Other netizens had more great ideas to replace the bouquet toss. Instead of throwing a whole flower bouquet, one bride took flowers from her bouquet and stuck them to a Donald Duck and Daisy Duck plush doll, which she then tossed around to her guests. She hoped that no matter the age or gender, all of her guests would get joy from her Disney dolls, rather than a single woman in the bouquet toss.

Another couple used a “parachute bear”, which was more universally appealing than a bouquet, and another bride tied a bunch of ribbons around her bouquet and had each of her guests pull one to see who got the lucky ribbon. And in Nagoya, it’s apparently tradition to throw sweets down on the guests from an upper floor, which could be a fun substitute for a bouquet toss.

▼ Perhaps throwing flower petals would be a good alternative too.

Since there are other very serious forms of harassment that occur regularly in Japan, including maternity harassment and power harassment, it may seem silly for singles to get so worked up about a simple wedding tradition. However, the fact that many brides are taking their single friends’ feelings into consideration when planning their weddings indicates that for many people, it’s a serious problem.

But it’s not all bad! Who knows? Maybe a substitute for the bouquet toss will catch on, and a new Japanese wedding tradition will be born instead.

Source: Naver Matome
Featured Image: Pakutaso
Insert Images: Pakutaso (1, 2, 3, 4)