Modern Korean weddings are more Westernized. Finding an event venue to host a small wedding is difficult. The Boulevard Room was designed to host up to 100 people.
Korean weddings in ancient times were held in the yard or house of the bride. The groom would travel to the bride’s house riding a horse. After the ceremony, he would take his wife in a cart called the palanquin to his parent’s house. They will live there. Both the bride and the groom would wear formal court costumes for the ceremony. It was only during wedding days that ordinary Koreans were allowed to wear their luxurious clothes.
A person of high standing will usually officiate (as opposed to a legal or religious official – unless the wedding is done in the church). The marriage becomes legal only after it has been registered with the government, which the couple can do earlier, or after the wedding.
The night before the wedding takes place, hand lanterns are used to light the pathways that covers the groom’s home and the bride’s home. Also, traditionally during this period, the groom’s family would bring gifts contained in a wedding chest to the bride’s family.
In larger Korean cities, some weddings are held in luxury hotels that have decorated wedding rooms where the wedding ceremonies can specifically be held. These rooms are rented to couples. Today, many Koreans opt to have a Western wedding style. During the ceremony, the bride wears a white wedding gown then the couple will change into traditional Korean attire to pay respect to the parents and elders of each family in a room that is separate and smaller.
The Wedding Attire
The Korean bride and groom wear the traditional Korean costume called the Hanbok, which, originally was made from white cotton, silk or hemp. Today, the Hanbok is worn in many colors and other fabric types.
The bride’s attire includes a short jacket with long sleeves (chogori) with 2 long ribbons, and a high waist, full length wrap (chima), a white sash with flower symbols, and a crown or any headpiece. The pair of shoes is boat shaped and made of silk; this is worn with white socks.
The groom usually wears a long sleeved jacket (chigori) and roomy trousers (paji) tied at the ankles with straps, and an overcoat (turumagi). A vest may be worn, instead of a jacket over the shirt. He may or may not wear a black hat (moja).
Today, most Korean couples have a more Westernized attire like a business suit or a tuxedo for the man and a white wedding gown for the woman.
The Wedding List
The wedding guest list often includes hundreds of people, because Koreans love to have lots of people at their wedding. Some of these guests are not known to the bride and the groom but to their parents only. These guests would normally bring gifts in cash and inside sealed envelopes and give it to the parents to help pay for the expensive cost of the Korean weddings. The parents normally foot the bills on their children’s weddings. Some friends of the couple, however, secretly give their cash gifts or gift boxes to the couple instead of the parents.
The Food at a Korean Wedding Reception
The Korean wedding reception can be a combination of the traditional and Western cultures. You can expect to find marinated barbeque beef strips (bulgolgi), marinated short ribs (kolbi), and a variety of kimchee which is pickled cabbage with different spices and seafood and radishes along with other ingredients. Sauces for dipping are made available in many bowls to accompany the food.
There will also be servings of sticky rice (pap), and rice, egg, spinach and other ingredients in seaweed rolls (kimpap), dumplings, and different soups, such as rice cake soup, or clam soup with fermented soybean paste (twoenjang guk). The rice cake soup is rice dumplings with chicken broth. A variety of pastries and fruits will serve as desserts. The guests will use spoon and chopsticks for eating.