Korean weddings are rich with many wonderful cultural traditions however, modern Korean weddings may differ somewhat to what you’re used to. If you should ever find yourself attending a Korean wedding we have put together this handy list of things we think you should know to avoid an #awkward moment.
Koreans practically turn weddings into a sport of speed and convenience. Most Koreans get married in wedding halls, purpose build spaces specifically designed for weddings. These facilities churn out literally dozens of weddings a day. Wedding halls are designed to make life easy for the Bride and Groom as they essentially take care of every conceivable detail imaginable.
This is primarily why Korean weddings are able to be planned so quickly as the food, music, flowers and seating arrangements are all part of a pre-package deal.
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Korean weddings can be HUGE!! Korean tradition dictates that both sets of parents will essentially invite everyone they know. This can easily lead to a guest list of over 500 people. Many of whom the bride and groom do not even know! But of whom they are still expected to greet individually. If any of you have grown up on Gilmore Girls this might remind you of Lanes wedding, in which she was forced to greet a seemingly endless procession of relatives she had never met as they showered her with gifts of money.
Short and Sweet
A Korean wedding is an experiment in lightening speed efficiency. With an all day affair believed to be an inconvenience to most guests, the peddle is pushed to the meddle. Ceremonies typically last no more then half an hour and are usually devoid of any bells and whistles. There’s usually no bridesmaids, flower girls, ring bearer or groomsmen.
Guests can expect a short speech, a brief musical performance, kiss, and……wam bam thank you mam that’s about it. A meal is served immediately after the ceremony and then the guests are expected to go along their merry way.
Koreans don’t have quite the same protocol when it comes to what guests are expected to wear. If a guest was to show up in white at a Korean wedding she would not be vilified as a social pariah. The unwritten rule prohibiting any guest from wearing white is not common in Korea as it is in Western countries.
A Wild Goose
One singularly unique aspect of a Korean wedding is the customary giving of a wild goose from the groom to the bride’s mother. Today a wooden goose is often favoured for convenience sake. Wild geese mate for life so his gift is designed to be symbolic of a life long commitment to her daughter.
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Dates and Chestnuts
After the official wedding ceremony, a smaller, more intimate ceremony called ‘Pyebaek’ takes place. This is for family members only. The bride and groom will wear traditional wedding hanbok’s and exchange symbolic offerings of food with their parents who are seated behind a low table. Then begins the entertainment, whereby the bride must catch dates and chestnuts with her skirt. This is designed to be symbolic of how many children the couple will have.
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