Here comes the...
With flashing lights, smoke down the runway and techno music playing, you’d think you were at a runway show. But, think again. We were at a wedding! This is not a typical American or traditional Korean wedding; it’s a modern Korean wedding. As a guest at two different weddings, surprisingly the setting was very similar. Dozens of people in their nice suits and dresses waited outside for the next wedding to start. Each room had a certain time that was in intervals of 30 minutes. A wedding lasts only 20 minutes. And most of the time, the guests are talking loudly. The last 10 minutes are used for taking pictures and getting ready for the next wedding. Then, all of the guests go to the buffet restaurant inside of the wedding hall convention center (which is what I will call the place where these massive and numerous weddings happen at the same time). In the restaurant, tons of other people from other weddings were having lunch. This might be considered their reception. The guests have a huge buffet lunch on their own while the bride and groom take more pictures in their tuxedo and gown and then in their hanboks (traditional Korean outfit). The bride and groom visit the guests only once after they changed into their hanboks. Then, they would be on their way to their honey moon!
First Wedding The first wedding we went to was with our friend Youngsik. He took us to his friend’s wedding in Daegu. After the short wedding, the bride and groom were off to Hawaii on a 2:30pm flight!
Second Wedding We thought the second wedding would be more personal because the bride is a personal friend. She was our Korean teacher when we first got to Ulsan and has helped us out a lot as a friend. But, nonetheless, the wedding was very similar to the first. Kimmie, the bride, seemed stressed out like every other bride because of pictures and so many friends and family members present. But, we got to see her happy face during our meal and then she was off to Phuket for a 6:30pm flight!
Bride and Bridesmaids Bridesmaids don’t exist. The best friend is usually responsible to bring flowers. The bride wears a beautiful (rented) white gown and walks down the aisle with her father. She always looks down, probably some form of respect, but to a westerner, she looks sad.
Eagle-Eye Weddings or engagements ceremonies are usually a big show just for the family and friends. In Korea, it’s a huge, but short, show! Also in Korea, parents pressure their daughters to get married, especially if a woman is pushing the age of 30. Nowadays, all over the world and in Korea, women are getting married at a later age for different reasons. In Korea, this burden is especially hard when the woman is still living with her parents. The mother will set her daughter up for a “meeting,” or blind date, hoping to be the matchmaker. Eventually, after so many “meetings,” the daughter either gets married with one of the men or moves to a different city so that she doesn’t have to live with her parents. This is a huge burden that no one should have to go through because it’s not only hard on the woman and her family, but sometimes it is also the beginning of other fallacies in a marriage. Regardless of these fallacies, that may or may not happen, best wishes to Kimmie and her husband on their new journey!