5 Strange Things About Weddings in Korea
I have finally attended a wedding ceremony in South Korea. Since getting married is a pretty big deal for Koreans, I expected the occasion to be quite the event but I did not know what I had bargained for. Being engaged to a Korean man, I looked out for the details and noticed five things that were quite odd to me compared to weddings in the West.
Korean weddings are usually held at a designated “wedding hall”, which are scattered around every city. These wedding halls feature the actually ceremony hall and buffet areas for the guests.
The first thing I noticed when arriving at the location was that we had to “pay” to receive a buffet coupon and to basically be allowed to attend the wedding. I knew that as a guest at a wedding in Korea, you give the bride and groom a money gift but I did not expect it to be so straight forward and almost used as an “entrance fee”.
You put your money in the designated envelopes that are located in the reception hall. They all look the same, you only need to write your name on it, put the money in and give it to the staff who exchange it for a buffet voucher.
Not So Much Your Special Day
When arriving at the wedding hall, the groom and his parents and brother were greeting arriving family and friends. Traditionally, the bride’s and groom’s mother wear hanbok. The reception are was decorated with candles and flowers and pictures of the bride and groom. However, when taking a closer look, I noticed that these weren’t our couples photos but someone else’s. Apparently, there are several weddings held at the wedding hall at almost the exact time.
Thinking about it, this would be rather strange for couples in the West to share their wedding day with other couples.
Korean weddings have a reputation for being rather short but I was really surprised to notice that it only took about 45 minutes for the couple to tie the knot. Everything happened at a very fast speed and it was very predictable what would happen next.
Wedding for the Albums
The entire event basically felt like as if it was only for the photos and wedding album rather than for the actual experience and lifetime memory. The couple had just kissed and officially married when a cake was pulled from aside for the couple to slice and pose for photos. I asked Jeongsu if you actually get to eat the cake but he said he never saw anyone eat the cake that’s used to “slice”.
Also, several “helpers” always walk around the bride and groom to make sure they hold their hands the right way and her make-up and dress look picture ready.
Head Straight to the Buffet
It seems like the most important part about the wedding for the guests is to savage the buffet as much as possible. Many of the guests even skip the actual ceremony and head straight to the buffet to get as much food as possible.
The buffet took place in a huge room with all the guests and family of everyone who’s getting married at that particular time at the wedding hall. Bride and groom can’t even choose the buffet menu.
Conclusion: Not Impressed
I’m really not impressed with the way Koreans hold their wedding ceremonies. Surely, I only attended this one wedding but Jeongsu told me that Korean weddings usually follow the same routine.
I find it quite sad that one of the most important day in people’s lives is basically butchered like that. It all seemed like a “fake” wedding just to get good pictures.
Being engaged to a Korean and living in South Korea, I definitely feel like a Korean wedding would definitely not satisfy me. We will need to find a compromise between the two styles or simply have one Korean wedding and a ceremony in the West also.
More pictures from the wedding I attended:
What do you think about Korean weddings?