A Korean Wedding

A week and a half ago, on April 12, Jen and I had the opportunity to attend a Korean wedding. 박성환 (I’ll call him Mr. Park for those of you who can’t read Korean) worked at my school last year and he wanted very much for me to attend his wedding. He wasn’t one of my co-teachers and in fact, he wasn’t even a teacher at all. He worked in admin, but we would often see each other while walking to school and so it was during those morning chats that I got to know him.

I would love to see a traditional Korean wedding, but seeing how many people get married these days was still a great cultural experience. I’m glad that I was invited and that I got to see this bit of Korean culture while I was here.

The invitation, with the exception of the cover, which handily tells us that this is a wedding invitation, was entirely in Korean, so we had to enlist some help from 민주 (Min Joo), one of Jen’s co-teachers. Upon arriving at the hall, we encountered the building above, which, all in all, looked pretty decent. Entering the hall, we weren’t quite sure where to go next. Luckily, we saw the following…

This big screen tv was displaying all the pending weddings for the day and floors on which they were taking place! 박성환? Ah, there we go, floor number 3 at 2.30! It was like we were in an airport and we had to check from which gate our flight was leaving!

Here’s Mr. Park with his mother (I think) and two other official looking types. We had to wait for the wedding beforehand to complete.

This is the accountants’ reception area. There are two sets of accountants at Korean weddings, one for the groom’s side and the other for the bride’s side. When you arrive at the wedding, you give your gift to the appropriate accountant (depending on who you’re associated with and thus who invited you). Upon receipt of the gift, the accountant will then promptly issue you meal tickets, which are good for the buffet on the upper floors of the wedding hall. If you arrive early enough, yes, you can go and eat before the ceremony and we’re told that some people like to go early and eat first since it gets too crowded after the ceremony.

Here is Jen holding the meal tickets we were issued. The buffet was actually fairly good and there was a decent selection even for us veggies.

Here are a few more photos of the event. Just a small selection to help you get an idea of what it might have been like to attend.

Mr. Park sang for his new wife. He was actually pretty good! Like the party poppers? It was awesome! The ceremony was fairly short. Not understanding any of it, it’s hard to have any real sense of what the ceremony is about, but at least we weren’t there for hours. The whole thing was over in maybe about 30-40 minutes. After that, all the guests cleared out pretty quick and headed upstairs for the buffet.

The whole affair is pretty efficient. All of the ceremony rooms are perma-decorated and the halls just shuffle the couples through like an assembly line. Done? K, next couple is up. Done, next, done… It certainly makes for a lot less planning when you don’t have to worry about decorations and I’m guessing the photographer too. It’d be my guess that you simply book the hall and show up. The photographer comes with the hall, the food’s upstairs, the piano is already in the room for the music. You could probably bring in your own photographer and musicians if you were really picky maybe? Not sure, but anyway there were maybe 4 or 5 couples who were married that afternoon and we saw that there were at least 3 more being married later in the evening (we spied the schedule on the big screen tv on our way out). The hall had two rooms where couple could get married, but still, that’s efficiency!

Again, really cool experience. I’ll leave you with a couple more photos. Here’s the wedding room without any people to give you a better look at it. Note the raised glass aisle. Sweet.

And here’s a “photo room”. It seems like wedding halls typically have many of these photo rooms, where the couple can have photos taken with a variety of backdrops and other props. This hall had three different rooms and this was one of them.

I hope you enjoyed the wedding as much as we did.

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~ by dawseng on April 22, 2008.

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