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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Happy Wedding Day YooMe and GeunYung!

Earlier today, I headed to one of my co-worker's weddings at a wedding hall in Seomyeon, filled with brides! There were 4 "wedding halls" in this building and a new wedding ceremony was scheduled every hour, from 11:30am - 5:30pm! WOW! 

While Korean weddings have some similarities to their American counterparts, there are some traditional Korean things that happen as well.  For instance...YooMe and her dad come into the ceremony and stood in the back while her fiance walked down the aisle ahead of her.  There are no bridesmaids or groomsmen in Korea and the bride and her dad don't link arms like in America, but rather he holds her hand up in the air the way a king would direct his queen down an aisle.

Her dress was GIANT and beautifully detailed with a long white train and veil. Only difference between this and America is, in Korea, they rent the dress and veil!  But believe it or not, it still costs bride's between $600-$1000 to RENT IT!  

YooMe and GeunYung stood in the back of the wedding hall, facing the speaker while he shpeeled off who knows what.  There is no reciting of vows or exchanging of rings in Korean ceremonies, which is always a bummer to me because that's my favorite part about western weddings!

GeunYung is also a teacher, so his school's recorder choir came, in matching uniforms, to perform a special song for them!   

But one song wasn't gonna do for this Korean wedding... Not in a culture where most nights end in a trip to the karaoke bar!  So, GeunYung grabbed the microphone and sang one of Korea's most popular love songs to his bride!

Did I mention that all of the flowers are FAKE at Korean weddings? ... Because they are!  There are 4 "wedding halls" in this building, each decorated with a different theme that never changes... You pick the room depending on your personal tastes.  Fake flowers are included!

I've been to a couple other Korean weddings, but I had never seen a "cutting of the cake" ceremony!  They literally rolled this table over, had them cut a piece (no eat it, just slice it) and then rolled it back over to the side of the room.  It's funny how Korean's attempt at becoming more western is always just a little off.  I actually think they just cut the cake and then reuse the same cake for the next wedding, which is a shame, because who doesn't love a piece of wedding cake?!

Most of the wedding guests stand around and talk while the ceremony takes places, but the mother and father of the bride and groom are always sat in the front row, in fancy armchairs, fit for royalty, and dressed in their traditional hanbok attire!

A Korean wedding is never complete without a deep bow to the parents.  I actually really love the symbolism of this moment!  It's a huge sign of appreciation for someone to do a deep bow like that.

And just like that, YooMe and GeunYung are married!  

Here's me, Hana (6th grade teacher) and Jeudee (her daughter and my student) after the wedding. 

Sadly, there are no receptions in Korea.  Instead, YooMe and GeunYung gave my Principal a credit card and told us (my school's teacher's) to go eat wherever we wanted, ON THEM!  Sooo weird!  So, about 10 of my co-workers and I all went out to lunch and spent the next couple hours enjoying each other's company! :)  Gotta love Korean weddings!


  1. The differences in cultures are partly what makes these experiences special :) And, bizarrely, I think the British (in some ways) are less rigid in some of our wedding traditions - e.g. I've seen brides hold their father's arm, link arms, hold hands, etc. Also, although we do eat the wedding cake, the "ceremony) is similar to the one you observed - the couple pose with a knife and cut it once. No eating until later in the evening.
    Looks like you had a lovely time :)

  2. Loved this post! Thanks for sharing. I'm always interested in learning more about the Korean ways the longer we live here. :)