Categorized | Daegu, Expat Life, Korea, Random

A Korean Wedding

So last night I had the opportunity to attend a Korean wedding. After talking to someone from work about what Korean weddings were like, I was very excited to be going. I mean what are the chances I have the chance to attend a Korean wedding again? So yesterday morning I set out downtown to do a little tie shopping. I don’t know if I left my ties on accident or if they mysteriously disappeared during a bag inspection on my trip out here. I had gone to the department store nearest my apartment on Friday only to find the ties there ran around $80 US. I wasn’t about to fork out that much money for a tie, so I headed downtown to search. I quickly found one to my liking for just a bit over $30 US, which was much easier to swallow. Now with tie in hand I was ready to go.

Now before I tell you about the wedding I attended, let me explain why I was so excited to be going. First of all, its a Korean wedding. Need I say more? Yes, okay I will. Earlier this week I was speaking to 2 of my co-workers who attended a wedding last year and to my surprise it sounded like a lot of fun. First of all, it sounded like a very nice ceremony. The bride and groom entered walking on an elevated walkway made of glass with flowers underneath. Now that sounds like an entrance! But what really caught my attention was what they said next. As the groom walked down the isle the theme from Star Wars played. Yes, you read that right, Star Wars. You know the greatest movie ever made, at least to my generation. I was so surprised I almost did not hear them talking about the strobe lights, smoke machines, and bubble machines that were also present. Now if that doesn’t sound like a shindig worth attending, I don’t know what does.

Okay so back to the wedding I went to. The reason I was invited, and I say “invited” loosely, was the bride was not only one of the school owner’s daughters, but she worked in the middle school department of our branch previously and knew some of the teachers. In the end it was more of a requirement to go than an invitation. It started out as an invitation that myself and a few others jumped at. Then by about 10 to 10pm on Friday night (we get off at 10), it had gone from a its not required but we would like you to go, to a you must go scenario. I didn’t mind as I was already planning on going.

So Saturday night we all met at work to take a taxi down to the Hotel Inter-Burgo, which is the only 5 Star hotel in Daegu. We arrived a little late and the ceremony was already going, which seemed to be okay. It was held in a large room in the hotel. I am guessing there were about 50-75 tables, maybe more, spread out in the large room filled with people. It was the largest wedding I had been to. Outside were even more people milling around during the ceremony, which seems to be normal here. We watched from the doorway and couldn’t see much of the stage it was on, but never fear there were 4 large screens (see pic below) showing the proceedings on stage around the room.

It was a very elegant ceremony, but I am not sure if it was religious or not. The bride wore a Western style wedding dress, and the groom a tux. They were on an elevated stage that had a long isle running up to it lined with nice flower arrangements. It truly was a beautiful ceremony, even if I didn’t understand a word they said. There was no Star Wars theme or anything like it. This wedding was a showcase, and they wanted everything to be top of the line which it was. Toward the end of the ceremony they did have smoke machines that started on stage and was actually quite nice. Then as the happy couple was walking down the isle as husband and wife, the bubble machines started in the ceiling.

There area lot of differences from what we are used to back home. There was no party afterwards. Everyone went to eat at the hotel buffet, which was amazing, but they also paid for it. Traditionally the guest pays for his/her own meal. They had tables set up where they collected money and gave the guest a meal voucher as they paid. The school paid for our meal, but I was told it is typically about 30,000 won or just under $30. Some other differences were that the bride and groom had already taken pictures together. Apparently long before the ceremony they go off somewhere and take their wedding photos, so there was a nice large portrait of the bride and groom as you entered the room. This means unlike back home the groom sees the bride in her dress before the ceremony. I think that almost robs the groom. That moment of seeing your future wife for the first time in her wedding dress as she is walking toward you might have been the best moment for me in my wedding. Again there was no reception afterwards. Everyone just ate and left, but all in all it was a very nice experience.

The buffet was amazing. They had everything there. It had sushi, sushi rolls, mandu (dumplings), salmon, crab legs, oysters, eel, octopus, all sorts of Korean and Chinese dishes, and so much more. It was an amazing spread. I filled up on all sorts of goodies and tried eel for the first time. They had snail as well but they must have run out before I could try it because when we went back looking for it, it was gone.

So all in all it was a great night. A very nice ceremony followed by good food and good company. You can’t ask for much more.

A blurry pic of the walkway lined with flowers and candles.
The chandelier in the hotel.

The hotel Christmas tree.

An ice sculpture for the wedding.

You can see the bubbles coming down here.

More bubbles.

About Eric Bynum
I taught ESL for three years in South Korea and now I am looking to set out on a new journey after just finishing my teaching certification in the US. I hope to continue teaching and traveling and you can follow his journeys here.

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