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Una boda

17 November 2008

A colleague of mine was married on Saturday and she kindly invited me to her wedding.  I had no idea what to expect at a Korean wedding and wasn’t quite prepared for all it entailed.

I had known she was getting married about the first week I arrived in SoKo, but didn’t receive an invitation to her wedding until about 5 days beforehand ( I wasn’t expecting one, mind you).  I found out that she did not invite me to her most dreamed of, intimately personal day because I was a good friend or so that I could experience this as a foreigner, but because it is custom to invite every single person you know to your wedding.

So here’s how it goes:

Weddings take place wedding halls.  On any given weekend probably 50 weddings (maybe more?) will happen in this one building.  Therefore, it is teeming with brides, grooms, and guests galore.  Different rooms have different themes and are different sizes.  There is a video screen that scrolls names of brides/grooms at the entrance so that one may more accurately find the appropriate hall.   So Vegas-esque.

We arrived early and caught the bride in the Bride’s Room.  This is like a greeting place for guests to come say hello to the bride dressed as a princess and sitting for all to admire.  The groom was there but didn’t seem to be as important.

After greeting the bride and having your picture taken with her, you go directly to a cashier.  The common gift for a newly wed couple is money and it is put in a bank like envelop and handed over.  In return, you get a meal voucher.  I went with another colleague who suggested we get there early and eat before the wedding.  Confused by having the option of when to eat, I soon found out that there are common dinning halls with buffet style service where guests from all different weddings come together to grub.  With 30 minutes to eat, we didn’t so much hurry back downstairs for the ceremony and missed the beginning of it.  Along the way we ran into more colleagues who had just arrived and were going to eat…skipping out on the ceremony altogether.

The ceremony hall where Jung-mi’s wedding was unique.  I couldn’t understand anything as it was in Korean, but even if I could I would barely be able to hear it as people were chit-chatting, coming and going, and groups waiting for the next wedding were milling around and being loud outside.  The ceremony lasted about 20 minutes with lots of praying, singing, TONS of bowing, and then some pictures.

After all that, it was done.  We were expected to go on with our Saturday as the bride and groom were whisked away to their honeymoon…Greece in Jung-mi’s case!

For me, it was all a loud, confusing mess.  But, for Jung-mi it was no doubt the best day of her life!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. 18 November 2008 1:30 am

    What a neat experience. Glad you posted pictures which for a change included you. Rather interesting that ones entire acquaintance is invited. The money packet would explain that.

  2. 18 November 2008 6:01 am

    that sounds like my anti-dream wedding, but to each bride her own! you look v pretty in that photo!

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