Wednesday, April 11

My first Korean wedding

The happy couple :)
This past weekend I was invited to attend my friend, Rim's, wedding. It was my first Korean wedding experience! :) 3 words to describe the wedding - fun, interesting, and very different. All in all, it was a great cultural experience and I'm really thankful I was able to attend.

A few Fun Facts about Korean Weddings:

1. Most weddings take place at a Wedding Hall

Think 'Wedding Factory'. Essentially, there are a gazillion brides getting married on the same day at the same venue. For example, when we walked into Rim's wedding venue, all 4 floors of the hall were packed with various wedding party attendants. There are a number of rooms each with different decor. The bride and groom rent out a room and this is where the wedding ceremony takes place.

Leigh and I with the lovely bride

BB English Teachers
2. Brides rent dresses

Instead of buying the wedding dress, brides rent and have the dress temporarily fitted for them. (Genius!)

3. Instead of bringing gifts - you give money

When we walked into the wedding hall, first we found Rim. She was sitting in a room by herself, we said hello and took photos with her.  Next stop, we found the line for she and her husband so we could get an envelope to put our cash gift in. Then we were handed a meal ticket for the buffet after the ceremony.

4.  There are lengthy Guest lists

You invite everyone you know - friends, classmates, neighbors, parent's friends. Everyone.

5. There's not a reception

Once the ceremony is over, guests wait for the post wedding photos. The first ones are of the family.  Then there is a friends and coworkers photo. Once the photos are finished, the bride and groom change into their hanboks, traditional Korean dress, for a more private ceremony and guests go to a cafeteria/restaurant style room in the Wedding Hall for a buffet meal.

In addition to these differences, there were a few others. The officiant of the wedding was a previous teacher of the groom. The bouquet toss was staged. Rim had chosen a friend to catch the bouquet.  The first toss didn't make for a good photo, so they repeated it 2 more times to get the perfect shot. Instead of having a wedding cake to be shared with guests, there was a fake cake with candles that the bride and her groom blew out together. 

It was a little funny to watch, I had in my mind weddings I'd attended back home, and some of the traditions here were so close to being the same, but then a strange twist was thrown in....although after being here for over a year and a half I shouldn't be so surprised by Korea's strange twists :)

My eyes were certainly opened as to how wedding ceremonies can differ across cultures. I feel like in America, so much pressure is put on having the most beautiful dress, the best venue, and spending a fortune on that 1 day, instead of keeping the focus on starting your life with that special someone. Though Korea's weddings might be a little too far the other way - taking the personal touch and emotion out of it - I appreciate both, though very different, for what they are!

Wishing the newlyweds a lifetime of love and happiness! :)


4 comments:

  1. Last month, I attended a Korean wedding in New york. Korean weddings are very simple and sweet like most of the western weddings.

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  2. Hi Emily. Thanks for sharing your experience. You are lucky that you got chance to attend a wedding that happened with different culture and customs. Highlights that you have mentioned about Korean wedding are similar to Indian wedding styles. I attended an Indian style wedding of my Indian friend, last month in nyc.

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  4. Absolutely stunning Korean Wedding! It seems like you two had fun in this wedding. Pretty soon I’ll be attending an intimate Korean Wedding at one of local wedding venues. I am excited to visit there as never attended a Korean wedding.

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