Today I attended a Korean wedding and it was sooo beautiful! The lucky lady was one of my Korean co-teachers Laura who was getting married to her boyfriend of 4 years ( he’s charming however i never managed to grasp his name!) The wedding took place in Seoul and Laura has been preparing for a rather long time. Korean weddings are totally different to ‘English’ weddings on almost every level but both are still amazing!
For a Korean wedding there are two ceremonies, a western style ceremony where the bride wears a traditional white western wedding gown and the groom a tuxedo. This is followed by the traditional Korean ceremony in which the couple change from their western clothes into traditional Korean outfits and also ‘switch’ locations (within the same building) from the modern wedding hall to the the traditional wedding room which is far more intimate.
The wedding was starting at 11am at a wedding hall near the War Memorial in Seoul, myself Lisa and Jenny all headed down together in our lovely wedding outfits and arrived with just enough time to go into the ‘Bridal room’ and get our photos taken with Laura in her western dress before she got married! I’m not sure how long she was standing in the room for but as soon as we had had our photos taken the wedding co-ordinator rushed her around the corner into the wedding hall. The wedding hall was a huge room, white with gold decorations a beautiful floral ‘altar’ and an amazing lightshow going on (lots of pink light going on) Laura and her hsband walked down a red velvet carpet aisle to the altar, but not before the mothers of both parties did some kind of ceremony which involved candles and bowing to the couple and the other end of the red carpet! What was the maddest thing was the noise. Unlike western weddings which are incredibly silent, everyone sits still and listens the back doors were wide open and the noise of chatter from everyone was constant throughout the service. Our other co teachers shouted with joy when Laura came past and Laura just bantered back… as she was walking towards the altar.
Now I have missed out to major aspects of the western ceremony and that is the official wedding ‘entourage of assistants’ aka the co-ordinator and two ‘air hostesses’. There are no bridesmaids, maids of honor, groomsmen, bestman just the officials and these officials were leaving no stone unturned in their mission to create an incredible performance. As Laura walked up the aisle the co-ordinator was at the back frouffing the train and as they reached their positions she was there creating a perfect arrangement of lace in a perfect position for the perfect photos, tweaking hair, straightening the grooms tie and various other forms of prodding and poking (and she didn’t stop with to be married couple, she was tweaking both sets of parents as well!) Once the train was in the perfect position the smoke machine started up (yes smoke machine) and it started slowly blowing smoke from a vent that was under the train so that couple looked almost like they were standing on a cloud!! The dude at the altar (not sure of his official title – master of ceremonies, ringleader) was saying his thing and then the most bizarre thing occurred as ‘the entertainer’ appreared and sang a love song to the newly married couple. After this the tears started from alot of the congregation and from Laura as the couple thanked their two sets of parents (presumably for letting them get married?!) which was so romantic. They didnt walk down the aisle and there was no confetti after they started the photos. Now there were the official group photos, all through the ceremony the photographer and camcorder guy were taking shots, like proper close ups, at one point about three inches from the couples face whilst they were ‘getting married’ in order to get the ‘perfect shot…’ they were like wedding paparazzi! After shots with family groups we then got pulled up to be part of the ‘friends’ photos and found ourselves right at the front! After the photos the couple then walked down the aisle accompanied by the airhostesses with what looked like golden guns blasting streamers at them! It was genius, i want these girls at my wedding, their outfits were FABULOUS! Little pink and white suits and hats – like air hostess’! After Laura and her husband left the main wedding hall they went up to the traditional wedding room and got changed. Laura wore a super glamorous and utterley beautiful hanbok with the most amazing headpiece and her husband had a gorgous traditional male wedding outfit on accompanied with an uber cool belt!
The traditional wedding ceremony was great to watch and very colourful. It was all about traditional rituals, wear the newly married couple bowed to and shared food and drink with different members of the grooms family. There are also some rituals involving the grooms parents specifically which involve the parents throwing nuts? and the couple catching them and the more they catch the better their chances of childbearing are! After they have had several cups of a traditional alcoholic beverage ( a bit like soju) The groom then gives the bride a piggyback around the room and they have their photos taken clutching the envelopes of money that they have been given! Laura and her husband then dissapeared but the fun was not over as we headed down to the buffet!
Food at a Korean wedding is plentiful, and is available for when the guests want. There is no real schedule of what you have to do and when and essentially you could turn up, eat, and leave. The bride and groom therefore don’t actually eat with the guests but go out with immediate family to a restaurant! Although in this case Laura’s new husband had some major exam he had to take so they were going off to do that before heading off on honeymoon to Australia!
Anyway back to the food. All i can say is wow and that I apologise profusely as I was too busy eating it to take photos it was the most amazing buffet I have ever had and included around a hundred different dishes of different Korean food. We had an awful lot of seafood, different types of chicken, salads, rice, sushi, kimbap, raw tuna, raw beef, soup, snails, seaweed and a barbecue. It was all washed down with beer, soju and coke. It was amazing.
What was more amazing that despite the fact we arrived at 11am, watched two fairly intense ceremonies and filled our plates twice we were over and out by 1.30. A mere two and half hours after we had arrived. It was amazing how quick everything was! All in all it was an amazing experience Laura looked incredible in both outfits and well i’m just going to let the pictures do the talking.