Wedding in Korea

While in the west a wedding is more or less an affair between two individuals, in Korea the entire family is involved – not only during the celebrations, but also during the decision-making process. In Korea, there are not just two individuals marrying each other, but there are instead two whole families that enter into a relationship together.

When a Korean couple starts a relationship, many parents refuse to meet the future daughter/son-in-law until something greater is settled and the man has asked for the hand in marriage of his wife-to-be.

In former times, the couples were selected by their parents, even promised to each other as early as in childhood. Of course, nowadays, that is no longer possible.

The whole procedure (from the proposal to the actual ceremony) can happen in the following order:

The son-in-law asks the bride’s parents for their daughter’s hand. With very traditional fathers, he will do this by bowing thereby and lying down on the ground in front of the parents-in-law in order to show his respect.

The wedding date is scheduled by the bride’s parents. Usually the bridegroom will bring the flat into marriage while the bride contributes in turn the interior furnishings (especially the kitchen).

Now, at this stage, they have still to absolve reciprocal visits to the bride and bridegroom’s respective parents.

Many Korean weddings are nowadays a mixture between elements of both western and traditional Korean weddings. Often, the couple goes first dressed in western wedding dresses in one of the modern wedding rooms. This ceremony takes approximately 30 minutes and is admittedly not very suitable for providing lasting memories. For this very reason, more and more weddings in the traditional fashion are being held immediately after and in addition to this ceremony (or the modern ceremony is even given up entirely.)

As a foreigner marrying a Korean, one need not fear this traditional ceremony. Everything is planned in great detail and it is catered for so that all proceeds according to plan – There is not much that can go wrong. The wedding usually commences with a photo session, held in traditional Korean garments – mostly in a garden in front of the temple or house, in which the wedding ceremony is to take place.
The bride’s parents wait at the wedding table for the bridegroom’s procession, which is headed by a person that acts as a kind of witness.

As soon as the procession arrives at the parents’ place, the bride’s parents will each receive a mandarin duck from the hands of the bridegroom’s witness.

The bridegroom places himself at the eastern side of the wedding table. Then the bride approaches and positions herself at the western side.
Bride and bridegroom wash their hands and bow to each other. A foreigner who undergoes this ceremony does not have to feel embarrassed if something should happen. Dressed in these wedding garments it is quite difficult to undergo this ceremony. The bride often can manage only with the help of two companions, while the groom will barely be able to keep his hat on his head.

Afterwards, bride and bridegroom exchange wine in small drinking vessels, and bow in front of their parents and guests.

The ceremony itself is very brief.

In principle, a Korean wedding does not take very long. While in the west one is used to go on celebrating the wedding deep into the night, in Korea all persons involved will just sit together for a meal; bride and bridegroom will drink for their welfare with all their guests, and then the wedding celebration will actually already be over.

The costs for such a festivity are very high

Rent for a white bridal dress alone can cost ca. 1,500 Euro per day. In addition, the traditional wedding dress is also purchased. Altogether one may count for a traditional wedding with costs amounting to somewhere in the range of 10,000 and 20,000.

However, the costs are usually financed completely by financial gifts given by the guests and relatives. There even remains usually a financial initial aid for the couple’s future. The financial gifts are often given alternatively to the bride’s parents.



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