Closer to home, Jason Bechervaise and Ahn Meeyeon (above) of koreanfilm.org. uk are preparing for their own future together. They will be.
This is a very popular Korean singer, Taeyang, with the song ‘Wedding Dress.’ It is included here as a glimpse into the current life of young modern Koreans, and the influence of Western wedding traditions. The song itself is a poignant look at love.
From the olden times, there has been a saying all across Korea that men from the South make the best looking grooms (shin lang) while women from the North make the most beautiful brides (shin pu).Historically, the neighboring countries of Asia, especially China, perceived Korea as a ‘country of courteous people in the East.’ This epithet says something about the Koreans’ traditional esteem for decorum, courtesy and propriety. Indeed, it is certainly true to say that Koreans are known to be very polite and friendly, and their hospitality is internationally acclaimed.
We have included many traditions from Korea. Please feel free to contact us with your comments, and any other traditions which you would like us to include. Enjoy reading!
Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the Constitution, and many of the world’s major religions are active in Korea. Buddhism, Confucianism, Christianity, and Shamanism are the four major religions of Korea.
At one time, matchmakers were used for half of the weddings in Korea. Families would go to a matchmaker and present their young person with their resumes, and ask them to find someone that is compatible in status and earning potential. Koreans keep precise lineage records and these would be listed on the resume. Today, the matchmaker no longer exists, and some marriage arrangements are made through large, online dating services like Duo. Most weddings are Western style and these is no small Korean style wedding prior to the main event.
A note about surnames: Family names are limited in Korea and respect for lineage is powerful. There are only about 300 surnames. Families maintain careful records of their ancestry which are important in marriage, school entrance and job applications. Women do not change their surnames after marriage.
For over 2,000 years, the traditional Korean costume, the Hanbok, has been worn by men, women and children. Originally, the Hanbok was made out of white cotton, silk or a scratchy coarse fabric called hemp. Today Koreans wear Hanboks in many colors and types of fabrics.
A jacket (chigori) and trousers (paji) and an overcoat (turumagi) are worn. The jacket has loose sleeves, the trousers are roomy and tied with straps at the ankles. A vest may be worn over the shirt. A black hat (moja) could be worn.
The wedding feast or reception, (kyorhon p’iroyon) can be a mix of traditional and western cultures. At a traditional wedding feast, you would expect to find bulgolgi (marinated barbeque beef strips), kalbi(marinated short ribs), a variety of kimchee (pickled cabbage with a variety of spices, with other ingredients such as radishes, seafood). There will be many accompanying bowls of sauces for dipping.
The meal is always accompanied with a vast quantity of white, sticky rice (pap) as well as kimpap which is rice, egg, spinach and other ingredients rolled in seaweed and sliced into 1-inch rounds. Mandu, a dumpling filled with an egg roll filling – cabbage, carrots, meat, spinach, peanut butter, garlic, onions, deep fried might also be served. Soup will be offered, very frequently a kimchee type, or a rice cake soup (rice dumplings with chicken broth), or Twoenjang guk, a fermented soybean paste soup with clams.
Also popular are a light broth boiled from dried anchovies and vegetable soups rendered from dried spinach, sliced radish or dried seaweed. Steamed rice cakes (ttok) sometimes embellished with aromatic mugwort leaves or dusted with toasted soy, barley, or millet flour are presented as tasty ritual food.
A large variety of fruits and pastries will be offered for dessert. A spoon and chopsticks are used for eating.
In ancient times, the wedding day the weddings were held in the bride’s yard or house. The groom traveled by horse to the bride’s house and after the wedding ceremony took his wife in a palanquin (cart) to his parents’ house to live. The bride and groom wore formal court costumes for the wedding ceremony. Ordinary people were permitted to wear the luxurious clothes only on their wedding day. Hand lanterns are used for lighting the way from the groom’s home to the bride’s home on the night before the wedding. Traditionally, the groom’s family would carry a wedding chest filled with gifts for the bride’s family.
Wedding ducksare a symbol for a long and happy marriage. Cranes are a symbol of long life and may be represented on the woman’s sash.
In larger cities, luxury hotels will have ‘wedding rooms‘ used specifically for wedding ceremonies. These rooms are decorated with a wedding motif and rented to couples.
Today, many couples have a more ‘Westernized’ ceremony with tuxedo attire and white wedding gown.
If you are bringing a gift to the wedding, do not expect that the gift will be opened in front of you. The Korean custom is to open gifts in private.
A reader asked us:
I would appreciate if you can assist me. I am living in Korea and I will be attending a Korean wedding. I am American and do not know what type of gift to give. In America we give money. Is that the same for Korean weddings? Thank You, Jake
We contacted www.korean-arts.com to help us with this question:
Thank you for contacting Korean-Arts.
First one must know the type of wedding being given; if it is a tradtional Korean style wedding and most of the guests are Korean then the Korean gift giving system should be employed. If it is an American style wedding and the guests include both Koreans and Americans then American style gifts may be in order. It would be best to check with the bride and groom to see what type of wedding is planned. Most weddings in Korea are Western in the sense that they wear Western clothing and have a Western style service, so the type of wedding is not simply based on the type of clothes worn – traditional Korean clothes (Hanbok) vs Western wedding gowns, but is more determined by wishes of the bride and groom.
Here is a description from the About Korea: Gift Giving in Korea” page on their website discussing the Korean wedding tradition:
Korean wedding lists often include hundreds of people that the bride and groom barely know, or don’t know at all because one of the goals is to have as many people there as possible to show the import of the wedding. And this, it seems, works out quite well for the parents who must foot the bill. Wedding gifts usually include an envelope with from $30 to $100 in it from mere acquaintances and the envelopes are checked into the guest register at the front of the wedding hall and given to the parents of the couple after the wedding to help pay for the wedding (weddings in Korea are really expensive).
Close friends of the bride and groom, on the other hand, want their money to go directly to the couple and not to the parents so they sometimes give the envelope to the couple surreptitiously. Very close friends may instead give personal gifts like sleepwear or other clothing.
From April to May, when trees are beginning to blossom, young couples are found by Taedong River or Pottongang Hotel. They talk with each other sitting in a bench for hours. Most marriages are for love, but if one of their parents oppose the marriage, they will obey.North Korea is striving to construct utopia by socialistic ways, so the age of marriage is late. The suitable age for marriage is from 28 to 30 for a man, and from 25 to 28 years old for a woman. After the wedding, the couple will go to the statue of the late President Kim Il Sung.
At one time, matchmakers were used for half of the weddings in Korea. . vs Western wedding gowns, but is more determined by wishes of the bride and groom.
This is an excerpt from the full collection of happy birthday wishes
Few days of the year are as important to us as a friend or loved one’s birthday. Whether we want to admit it or not, we expect a certain level of special treatment on our birthday and we also expect happy birthday wishes from those who are important in our lives. When your friends, family, spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend or other important people in your life have a birthday, we usually send them a birthday message greeting them and wishing them well. However, we often don’t give the birthday wishes careful thought. And on a day that is so important and personal to so many people, why not take the time to craft a clever, heartfelt, romantic or funny birthday wish that can help make their special day a bit more special?
However, it can sometimes be a bit difficult to come up with the right birthday message or to know what to write in a birthday card. But don’t worry, because we’ve got you covered. We have chosen for you the 35 best birthday wishes, quotes and messages perfect for any occasion. And not only that, but these birthday quotes are all on funny, touching or romantic images, because a picture can help say so much more.
This collection contains birthday greetings for anyone you know who is having a birthday including birthday wishes for a friend, co-worker, husband, wife, son, daughter, sibling, boyfriend, girlfriend and more. We even have some belated birthday wishes, because we all have moments of forgetfulness!
Feel free to share these with those you love and care about and enjoy the celebration of life. Happy birthday to us all!
This sections includes birthday wishes for friends, coworkers and general greetings for acquaintances. It also includes a few birthday wishes for best friends.
Are you looking for the perfect way to say “happy birthday sister”? This collection of happy birthday wishes for sisters will help you to choose just the right message for your sister.
These birthday wishes for brothers will help you to make his day extra special. We hope these help you find the perfect way to say “happy birthday brother!”
Show your daughter how much you care with one of these heartfelt birthday wishes for a daughter. Send her a message much more touching than a simple “happy birthday daughter”.
What is more precious than your child? And what is more important than their birthday? This section will help you find the most touching birthday wishes for a son.
Rule number one for a happy marriage: never ever miss your wife’s birthday. So on her special day send her one of these funny or romantic birthday wishes for wife.
Remind him of how important he is and how much you love and care for him with these happy birthday wishes for husbands.
Don’t forget your girlfriend on her birthday! Choose from our funny or romantic birthday wishes for girlfriends and help make her day extra special.
Let your boyfriend know you are thinking about him and show him how much you care with one of these birthday messages.
We are all forgetful from time to time, but as the saying goes, better late than never. So, send them one of these happy belated birthday wishes and make up for being a bit behind.
We hope you have enjoyed these happy birthday quotes, wishes, and images. Visit Best Birthday Wishes for more ways to say happy birthday. And a special thanks to wishespoems.com for sharing some of their happy birthday wishes.
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Weddings, weddings, weddings! With so many celebrities tying the knot these days, you might be wondering what wedding customs are like in Korea. We’ve noticed some questions in the comments section – for sure, Korean weddings can be confusing for those not in the know. Let’s take this time to talk about how they’re typically done!
Don’t be fooled by what you see in all the K-dramas! The down-on-one-knee proposal actually isn’t standard in Korea. Instead, the topic of marriage is one which both partners decide and plan jointly. While this seems like the most equitable setup all around, it doesn’t lend itself naturally to those suspenseful fairytale proposals that you see in TV shows and movies.
This also means that engagement rings are not so common here. Some of the younger generation are starting to pick up the custom, staging a romantic proposal after the agreement has been made. But the woman may or may not wear the ring after the wedding, and both parties may opt to skip the wedding rings entirely. This again is a generational thing – older Koreans tend not to have wedding rings at all.
Falling cherry blossom petals and a heartfelt declaration of love from Lee Seung Gi in “The King 2 Hearts“
So if the telltale sign of engagement isn’t the ring, then what is? If you’re at all familiar with Korean culture, you can probably make a guess – it’s when the two families meet each other. In Korea, marriage is considered a union not just between two individuals, but between two families. Before any engagement is announced, the two families are expected to meet each other. Typically, this is a somewhat stiff and awkward intro at a private room in a restaurant. But rest assured that both families have done the research on each other in advance, so if they’ve agreed to meet in the first place, that’s a good sign. (In other words, we’ve never heard of a K-drama-like family-to-family showdown!)
But before the two families meet each other, the couple has to meet each other’s parents. In the U.S. and in many other countries, it’s not considered a big deal to introduce your new boyfriend or girlfriend to your family early in the relationship, but in Korea, the parents will not typically meet any significant other… except for the last one. So if you’re being introduced to the parents, chances are that your partner is gearing up to make it permanent.
Hopefully your prospective parents-in-law never judge you as much as the parents in “Bride of the Century.”
One of the most common comments we’ve read in response to celebrity weddings is that the bride must be pregnant, because the period between the engagement announcement and the wedding seems too short! Based on netizens’ response to Won Bin and Lee Na Young‘s recent nuptials, it seems that even Koreans can get confused on that point as well. But that’s just how it is. Weddings do not take a long time to plan here, so you can easily have a very nice wedding in just three months. Year-long engagements are uncommon. So next time you see someone making a guess about a shotgun wedding, you can tell them, “This is typical in Korea!”
Bae Yong Joon and Park Soo Jin would like you to chill with the rumors!
The reason that Korean weddings are easy to plan is because the whole industry is built around speed and convenience. Most Koreans get married in wedding halls, which are venues built expressly for weddings. If you sign a contract with a wedding hall, they’ll take care of almost every detail imaginable, right down to the flowers, food, and music. There aren’t going to be any problems with finding the perfect chairs, table linens, or caterer – it’s all a package deal, where what you see is what you get.
Although wedding halls are a very convenient place to get married, the efficiency and speed leads to some drawbacks. You may be celebrating your special day with several other brides and grooms who are getting married in the rooms next to yours. The staff may be cleaning up and clearing you out as your ceremony is wrapping up, so they can prepare for the next wedding to take place. There are more upscale wedding halls that offer more privacy and time, but these will cost more.
Generally, most celebrities do not get married at wedding halls. Instead, they will celebrate their big day at a house wedding venue or an upscale hotel. (For celebrities, the preferred house wedding venue is The Raum, and the top hotel is the Shilla Hotel.) However, whether it’s a house, hall, or hotel, all three venues will tend to share similarities in terms of atmosphere and structure.
Despite the prevalence of Christianity in Korea, church weddings aren’t extremely common, and any other setup (such as Won Bin and Lee Na Young’s outdoor wedding, or Hyori and Lee Sang Soon getting married at home) is downright unique!
Wonder Girls’ Sunye had her lovely ceremony at Lotte Hotel.
As we’ve mentioned, signing the contract with the wedding venue will take care of most of your concerns. The rest will be taken care of in the “seu-deu-meh” package – short for “studio, dress, makeup.” Have you ever seen those gorgeous engagement photos of Korean celebrities? You might think those fancy pictures are limited to the world of actors, singers, and models, but absolutely not! Most Korean couples getting married will book a photography session with a studio that offers picture-perfect backdrops such as vintage-looking European cafes or flower gardens. The studio will do their best to make you look like a glamorous celebrity, but for those who find these photos bland or cheesy, there’s also the option of portraits or informal Western-style candid photos.
Whatever you choose, you’ll also get dress and tuxedo rentals. Most Korean brides do not buy wedding gowns – women here tend to be similarly sized and prefer the same styles, so rentals are a more economical option. For the cost of buying one dress, a bride can instead rent three to five dresses, to be worn between the engagement photos and the wedding day. There’s a huge range of options as well, from bargain locally-made dresses to top-tier Vera Wang and Monique Lhuillier gowns.
Also included in the package are makeup and hair sessions. And yes, the makeup and hair is for both the bride and groom.
Girls’ Generation’s Seohyun and CNBLUE’s Yonghwa had a lovely (mock) engagement photoshoot for “We Got Married“
The Korean tradition is that both sets of parents (who are probably sharing the wedding costs) will invite everyone they know, regardless of whether the bride and groom have any idea who they are! This can easily result in weddings with over 500 guests, leading to a stressful day for the newlyweds – because they need to greet everyone who showed up. Some of the younger generation are beginning to break away from tradition in favor of more intimate ceremonies, which they may pay for themselves. Luckily, wedding halls and hotels offer rooms of different sizes, so you can celebrate in style regardless of whether your guest count is 50 or 500!
If you are attending a wedding in Korea…
If you’ve opened up that beautiful cream-colored wedding invitation and are looking around for the RSVP card, stop looking! Due to the traditionally large guest count, RSVPs are neither customary nor necessary in Korea – wedding halls will typically base their expected headcount on a percentage of the total number of invitations that have been sent out. Still, if the couple requests an RSVP, do the right thing and give it to them!
If you’re attending a Korean wedding, probably the one thing to know is that you should bring a gift of money in an envelope – there are no wedding registries in Korea, and money is not considered a tacky gift, just standard protocol. The amount depends upon your relationship to the bride or groom, and perhaps your age as well. The best way to gauge is to ask around discreetly to see what your peers are giving the couple to be. But if you’re a young person attending the wedding of a friend, you would typically be expected to shell out 30,000 won. Try to find the cleanest, crispest bills you can find. If you’re planning to give 50,000 won (for a particularly close friend), then give one 50,000 bill as opposed to five 10,000 bills.
When you’re at the wedding, you may be surprised to see a lot of variation in guests’ outfits. The old rule that only the bride can wear white isn’t a common rule in Korea, and some people even show up in sneakers and jeans. Still, we advise that you play it safe and wear an outfit that you would typically expect to see at a wedding – skirts, dresses, or suits for women, and suits for men.
What your wedding would look like if the guests consisted of almost all of SMTOWN
It is difficult to write about gift-giving customs because Korea has experienced a lot of cultural changes over the past forty years, and the customs that were once deeply entrenched may no longer be practiced as widely as before. For example, Korean tradition dictates that the family of the groom buys a house for the newlyweds, while the family of the bride buys the furniture and household items, as well as gifts for the parents of the groom. This custom can be seen in the context of people living with their parents well into adulthood, and parents living with their children as they grow older in age. However, these days, many young people prefer to live on their own once they find a job, and many parents do not necessarily wish to shoulder the burden of buying an entire house for their children. So while this tradition is still practiced today, it is nowhere near as widespread as it used to be.
However, the families of the bride and groom may still exchange smaller gifts, such as luxury watches, jewelry, handbags, suits, and hanbok. This is again dependent upon the preferences of the two families, and ideally both parties will reach an agreement regarding their expectations in this matter.
While Western custom dictates that it’s bad luck for the bride and groom to see each other before the wedding ceremony, in Korea there’s no such concept. The bride and groom will travel to the wedding venue together. Before the ceremony, the groom will join the parents in the lobby to greet the guests who have arrived, while the bride will sit in her own special bridal room where guests may come, chat, and take photos with her.
Musical actress Kim Sa Eun greets guests in the bridal room before her wedding to Super Junior’s Sungmin.
Above all, weddings in Korea are short and sweet. Whereas in many parts of the world, the wedding is all about the bride and groom, in Korea, the guests’ preferences always come first – and very few guests want to spend an entire day at someone’s wedding. Therefore, the ceremony will take no longer than a half-hour. It will be presided over by an officiant and an MC (both likely to be personally known by the couple), who oversee the rituals with lightning speed and efficiency. There’s usually no bridesmaids, flower girls, ring bearer, or groomsmen. Instead, there’s a speech, a brief musical performance, the kiss, and… that’s about it. A meal will be served immediately after the ceremony. On whole, you can expect to leave the wedding within two hours after arrival.
And yes, that means there’s no reception. With the possible exception of some very upscale weddings, there will be no dancing, no speeches, and no DJs or live bands. Guests are expected to eat their meals, greet the happy couple, and leave.
Go So Young and Jang Dong Gun exchange rings
After the wedding is a short Korean ceremony called pyebaek, which is for family members only. The bride and groom will wear special wedding hanbok and will bow to their parents who are seated behind a low table stocked with traditional and symbolic wedding foods such as chestnuts, jujubes, and dried persimmons. The parents will bless the newlywed couple, and there will be an entertaining round of “catch the jujubes and chestnuts” to predict how many daughters and sons the couple will have!
As for whether guests wear hanbok to the wedding, the answer is generally no – except for the female relatives of the newlyweds. The mother of the bride will typically wear a pink or purple hanbok, and the mother of the groom will wear a blue hanbok. The rest of the female relatives may or may not wear hanbok, according to preference.
Eugene’s wedding hanbok during the pyebaek ceremony
So that’s your typical Korean wedding! We may not have covered everything, so feel free to share your thoughts or ask questions below! Also tell us, how do Korean weddings compare to weddings in your home country?
I wish both of you the best of happiness in the world.) Or you could simply say: 결혼 축하 드립니다. (Congratulations for your marriage).
Thank you Wishfull for your help.I like the second translation by Wishfull (but without the space between the sentences).
By the way, defacta, didn't you mean marriage when you mentioned wedding?
Check out a list of the top Korean wedding traditions. clothes (Hanbok) vs Western wedding gowns, but is more determined by wishes of the bride and groom.