I recently went to my 1st Korean wedding! Considering that my best friend just got married in June, I have a clear image of how American weddings usually go down. This was… different. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures from the wedding. I was a little too shocked and I didn’t want to put photos of another person’s wedding on my blog since she is a coworker that I don’t talk to often. I do have a picture of me in the car, before and after.. but I don’t really think you want to see those so.. I’m just going to find some images online of what I saw. Enjoy 😀
(I lied… I am going to post my selfie for you to see. I just like to selfie!!) So, my day started early. I got into a van with 7 other teachers and we made the 2.5 hour drive to the wedding hall together.
Before I start on the wedding hall, let’s talk about gifts. Usually we give a gift to the bride and groom, and it usually comes off their registry. Here, you give money. Just a simple envelope with your name on it with cash. The cash is used to pay for the expenses of the wedding. Pro: no pressure to buy an awesome gift. Con: feels impersonal. There was literally only my name and cash on/in the envelope. No card, no congrats, nothing. Now, you can bring the envelope yourself or one can be provided for you at the wedding hall.
ON TO THE WEDDING HALL! So, this is different. Everyone around me kept saying wedding hall, but I didn’t get it until I got there. I thought it would just be a wedding venue, but I was so wrong. It looks like a hotel with lots of big reception rooms, each one having a party for someone else. You walk into the wedding hall and find the front counter where you give your envelop of cash to a guy who then gives you a meal ticket. Yes, a meal ticket. I will explain that more later. So, I’m in a hall with tons of people walking around. Before you go to where the wedding is, you find the bride. Again, yes. You see the bride before the wedding. In her dress and everything. She is off in this little room on a couch with a pretty backdrop for you to sit with and take pictures. My coworker was absolutely beautiful, btw. After taking pictures we went to where the actual wedding was taking place (which was just around the corner).
Here is where we have the wedding ceremony. This is not where my wedding was, but looks almost exactly the same. The wedding I was at did have a large stage at the front. This room was packed to the gills! I was standing at the back of the room. First the groom walks down the catwalk, followed by the parents. Finally the bride comes out from the back and walks down as well. I believe she walked down with her father. The screen in the picture has a projection of a chapel or flowers or whatever on it. It rotated depending on what was going on in the ceremony. The couple had someone sing a song to them and then the groom sang to the bride. After all was said and done, the couple walked down the catwalk together and took pictures. They took a kissing picture which was really weird to see.. Mainly because it was so robotic. They looked at each other, tilted their head, and barely touched lips. I felt like I was watching a black and white movie kiss. No, those are too passionate. I was watching a K-drama kiss. If anyone has watched a K-drama, you will know what I’m talking about. After the wedding mostly everyone stayed in the room for a picture. They took one where all family members go up on the stage to take a picture and then friends. Everyone at the same time. So there were a freaking ton of people in these pictures.
Before I get to the food portion of the event, let’s talk about the professional dress fluffer there. The bride seemed to have one person that would go up to her every time she turned or walked to fix her dress and veil. She turned to face her husband, the lady would come fix her dress on the floor and fix the veil around her shoulders. When she turned back to the alter, the fluffer was back doing the same thing. I was a little distracted by her, but that may also be because the ceremony was in Korean and I didn’t have much else to concentrate on.
LET’S TALK ABOUT THE FOOD!!
So, this is where you need your meal ticket. You take your ticket and go to a big buffet room. You go to different stations that have different foods and fill your plate. Then you find an empty table and eat. I was told that you stuff yourself with food since it is expensive and you want to get the most out of the meal. Everyone there isn’t from the same wedding. So people from the room next to you that were at a different wedding could be sitting next to you. After the newly married couple finishes with their wedding they change into a traditional hanbok and come to the dining hall to greet/thank their guests for coming.
Overall, it was nice and it was an interesting experience. I, however, don’t think I would want to have a wedding like this. I’m sure this wedding may be cheaper since you aren’t having to buy a cake and rent a reception hall (or maybe it is all the same price, idk), but I like the cutting of the cake and the dancing and the speeches. The Korean wedding was more convenient since it was so short and informal, but I prefer the western way 🙂