Last Saturday, I attended a Korean wedding. Not the traditional style Korean wedding which I posted up on Facebook a while ago, this is the typical wedding which young Korean couples go through. Thanks a lot to my friend for asking me to tag along to his ex-university coursemate's wedding, cos he knows I really really wanna see a real Korean wedding!
A Korean wedding is usually held in a wedding hall during the day time. In this case, it was 12 noon. I was really slow and late, thinking that the wedding would not start on time, just like "Malaysian-style" weddings. My friend was getting frustrated in the end so we took a cab and rushed there. The wedding was held at Marin Wedding Center near Busan Station. The wedding center is a tall building facing the marina, with a few halls on different floors which I guess had a few weddings going on at the same time. It was already 12 noon when we reached the hall. Took the elevator up to the 3rd floor, and was greeted by this huge, romantic sakura tree at the entrance!
Usually on such a festive occasion, the parents of both the bride and groom will be decked out in colourful hanbok, or the traditional Korean costume.
We rushed to the small room next to the wedding hall, where usually the bride sits there and everybody queues up to take a picture with her. When we reached there, the bride wasn't the one we wanted to see! OMG... at first I thought the groom had a change of heart... haha... but actually the "real" bride had already entered the wedding hall. The bride sitting there was the next one to get married at 1pm.
The "real" bride... my friend's friend... hahahahaha... already on her father's arm, preparing for the wedding march! Although I felt very sorry for being late and making my friend not able to take pictures with the bride, but at least we didn't miss the bride walking down the aisle. In Korean weddings, there is always a "helper" helping to arrange the dress and suit of the bride and groom. Helpful indeed, but always gets in the way of the photographers!
After the wedding officer gives his speech, the couple exchanges their vows. The couple bows to each other, which I think is pretty cute. Reminds me of Taekwondo sparring, the contestants also bow to each other before starting to fight! Haha!
Then comes an emotional moment where the bride and groom bow and thank their parents for bringing them up and caring for them until they get married. The groom will kneel all the way down to the floor!
Then the whole wedding ceremony is over in just half an hour. Before the end, suddenly a violinist appears out of nowhere and starts to serenade the crowd with a couple of joyful songs. At first I thought it was a friend, (like in our Malaysian weddings sometimes a good friend will sing a song for the happy couple), but the violinist is actually prepared by the wedding hall as a celebratory gesture. The groom was really sporting and he started to dance to the violin tune... quite funny that part!
Then group phototaking session, the speaker will announce the relatives to take a group picture first, then the friends, etc. Lastly the crowd will disperse to the lunch venue (usually in the food hall upstairs) and the next wedding takes place......
(Before continuing, I wonder if my friend sees this will he scold me for blogging about his friend's wedding... haha cos I think he will consider he to be somewhat rude...)
First of all, I just wanna say that after attending the Korean wedding, I felt very grateful and blessed that in Malaysia, I could take the time to have a proper celebration throughout the entire (day)night and have my family and friends share my happiness with me. We didn't have to feel rushed, we didn't feel like "going through routine" and that everything was prearranged. We actually had the choice to make our wedding special and put our personal touches to it. I especially appreciate the "fetch the bride" session where my family prepared a buffet-style dinner the previous night and all my relatives and friends came to stay with me and to see me off the next morning. And the "heng dai tuen" ("brothers" of the groom) and "ji mui tuen" ("sisters" of the bride) where it made the whole affair seem so lively and fun and really cheered up the atmosphere. Then during the night everybody had some time to mingle around and look at the powerpoint presentation on screen, reconnect with old friends, and going up on the stage to careen a few songs for the bride and groom. Looking back at our wedding, Leo and I always say that it was very warm and personal and we were very very happy that our wedding turned out to be so memorable because of our friends and family.
OK I digressed too much. =_=''' After that I asked my friend, why are Korean weddings held in such a rush? As in hourly sessions, and everything is done very routinely. The wedding hall arrangement cost around 3-4 million KRW, I think inclusive of lunch? Then I suddenly realized the answers:
- Korean population is double that of Malaysia, that means twice the amount of couples getting married each year
- In Korea, land is scarce and living cost is expensive, which means they don't have the luxury of choosing from many wedding options unlike in Malaysia (hotel, beach, garden, etc.) For them to have a beach or garden-style wedding is almost unthinkable for the normal couple, it is too expensive!
- Korea has four seasons, and not everybody likes to get married when it is freaking cold outside...
P/S: Feeling extra-romantic today cos today is my 2nd year ROM anniversary with my beloved LEO! Missing my hubby so much... yesterday we had a virtual "anniversary" dinner which consisted of him eating delivery pizza and me eating instant bakuteh noodles... hope that next year anniversary dinner will be better! But I know it definitely will... because by then we'll be back to our "happily ever after".................. :-))