Engagement Diary: 1. How Is This Even Possible?
I have been engaged for a month now and it’s been great. Well, Jeongsu is in Korea and I’m in China so our lives continued normally. My family and friends were surprisingly supportive of this engagement which I didn’t expect. I thought there would be some serious drama but there was none (yet).
I’m still smiling and am extremely proud when I look at my beautiful rose gold ring and still need to get used to calling Jeongsu “my fiance”. Now to the bummer: For a German and a Korean to get married requires a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy is involved (as expected).
Unlike two people of same nationality, international couples can’t just set the date and get married. Both our “governments” need to accept the marriage and certain documents need to be provided to get the “approval” to make the marriage legal in both countries. Jeongsu needs to get 3 different documents:
- 가족관계증명서 (Family Relations Document),
- 기본증명서 (Identification Certificate) and
- 혼인관계증명서 (Marriage Relation Certificate).
These documents need to be officialized with a so called “apostille”, an international seal. Then, the documents need to be translated into German. Next, I have to go to my German local authority and request a document as well where I need to show the 3 translated Korean documents.
Then, we need to go to the embassy in Seoul, present all documents and get the “approval” along with another special document to get married.
At that point, we already need to decide what registry office (Gu office) in Korea we want to get married at. After we got “married” there, we need to come back with another certificate to make our marriage valid in both countries.
I was aware that it’s quite complicated to get married with a person of different citizenship but the process mentioned above basically means that we cannot simply say: “Ok, we will get married next year June 7.”
First, we need to get the documents and then we can decide when to hold the ceremony because we actually have to get married at a Gu office already in order for the marriage to be recognized in both countries. Seems pretty unromantic to me.
- How long will it take to get all the documents?
- How many times do we have to make an appointment at the embassy in Seoul?
- Do I have to get my German document in person and fly back to Germany?
Questions over questions…
Planning the Ceremony
After all the documents are finished and done, we need to start thinking about the ceremony. That’s going to give me another headache because how can we plan a wedding ceremony with family from Korea, Germany and the US? This will probably involve a year of planning to make sure as much family friends are able to participate and fly in. Or should we have two ceremonies in Korea and Germany? But that’s going to be double the cost. So…?
How Is That Possible?
At the moment I feel like I have to conquer Mount Everest. It seems to be an incredibly large amount of work and effort and planning to get this wedding done and the marriage recognized in both countries. However, I was quite certain this is how it would be but now that I see everything in front of me, I’m just overwhelmed. I really ask myself: How is that possible and how are other couples able to do it?
The Bright Side
I’m just looking forward to the wedding and marriage itself. Spending the rest of my life with Jeongsu is the best reward possible and I’m willing to put all my effort into this.
Wish me luck!
Advice Highly Appreciated!