Jeremy is one lucky guy. I can guarantee that if we were living in the states right now, we would have gone to more than a few weddings in our almost three years of marriage. But lucky for him, it’s not all that common for foreigners to be invited to a Korean wedding. So when one of his students invited us to his, I jumped at the opportunity (to be fair I had been to one before but I was a friend’s date and hardly knew the bride).
Traditionally there is a western wedding and a traditional Korean wedding but just like in the States, each is as unique as the couple getting married. The wedding we attended was beautiful but definitely interesting. The bride wore a typical western wedding dress which is usually rented, not bought. And I have been told that to rend a dress, it can be in the thousands! I’m so glad that I paid a fraction of that and got to keep mine!
When we arrived at the hotel, there were two tables, one for the bride and one for the groom. Men were sitting behind them and collecting envelopes of money, a typical gift at weddings. I had put our money gift inside of a card that I wrote a small note in and when I handed them a card instead of a money envelope, I had to explain that the money was inside. I guess it’s not that common, oops. Once you give your money to either the bride or grooms table, depending on who you know better, you receive a ticket for the buffet, often held in the same building immediately following the ceremony.
After getting our meal stub, we walked into a small room where the bride was sitting on an intricate couch where we were invited to sit with her and have our picture taken. There was a long line of family and friends waiting outside the room for the same purpose.
Once the ceremony started, the couple walked in together, stopped at the back and waited as a video montage played at the front. After walking down the aisle hand in hand, the ceremony was ready to begin. I wish I could say that I understood everything that happened but let’s be honest; I know about 30 words in Korea so that’s just not going to happen.
From what I saw, I almost felt as if they tried to combine a traditional western wedding with the reception. There was the traditional repeating of the vows, a friend coming and singing to them mixed with the Korean traditions such as bowing to each other and to each set of parents. But then there were other things that took place during the actual ceremony that usually are seen at the reception or the exiting of the couple. Such as bubble machines while they said their vows, smoke machines as they poured champagne into a tower of glasses…which by the way were never drunk from. And then they rolled out a giant (delicious looking might I add) three tier cake in front of the couple. They proceeded to cut it and then…it was rolled away. Never to be seen again…until the next wedding where I’m sure they use the same one. I wonder if they realize that they’re missing out on the best part!
In addition to the western style wedding, many couples also have a small private traditional ceremony as well. Everyone dons the traditional hanbok and special rituals are performed. Such as the mothers tossing chestnuts into the brides lap. However many she catches is supposed to signify the number of children she will have. I know if it were my mother in law she would pin me down and dump all the chestnuts into my lap. Thank goodness we don’t have a tradition like this in the states.
|The adorable couple dressed in our company’s uniform|
I loved being able to see a wedding from a different country and culture than my own. It’s really eye opening and humbling to how even though we come from different backgrounds, different cultures and different ways of living, love truly is universal.