Monday, September 6, 2010

Korean Wedding

Mike & I were invited to the wedding of one of his co-workers at GM Daewoo this past weekend. It was at the Children's Grand Park in a building that looked like a traditional Korean-style temple on the outside, but had been transformed into a Wedding factory on the inside. They said there is one wedding/ hour there all day, so things move quickly.

Just to qualify this wedding, since the bride and groom were in western-style clothes, I don't think this wedding was completely traditional Korean. The ceremony starts very similar as the bride is walked down the aisle following her mother and mother-in-law and presented to the groom and both stand at an altar or central area as they say their vows and stuff. The different really is about what is going on in the audience throughout the wedding and after the vows.

All throughout the wedding, everyone in the audience is talking, walking around, laughing, and going on as if nothing is happening. The atmosphere seems more celebratory than solemn, as I would explain some American weddings. The parents and some of the family wore traditional dresses and this little girl was particularly cute.

After the vows (20 minutes or so), the couple is presented to the audience and there is a professional singer who serenades them. Following this, from what we can gather, the new groom is asked to do something silly by the announcer, which proves his "manhood" or "strenght" or something like that. In this case, he raised his arms and yelled very loud (as if you were calling from the top of a high summit), then did a little 10 second dance. I am told in other ceremonies, the groom swaddles the bride and needs to do 3 squats while holding the bride. It is up to the announcer what happens. My best guess is that this is part of the tradition, as in Korea, the man is still the matriarch of the family and it is, in a comedic way, proving that he will be able to care for his new bride and their future family. I would definetly have had Mike do the squatting!

The ceremony is followed by food, but the food is served in a non-formal way, as we sit in a very large room and food is served immediately. It feels a bit like a cafeteria, as we handed in our food tickets we got before the ceremony, and just sat down and ate. In traditional Korean style, we (we ate with Mike's co-workers)had a full table of plates and many Korean dishes, soju, mak-ju (beer) and soda. It was delicious and I am going to guess much more affordable than the extravagant US weddings.

I am also told (and have notice) that wedding rings are for special occasions. You rarely see Koreans wearing their wedding rings (engagement rings or the wedding bands). I have gotten mixed answers on this subject, but I think they consider them very good jewelry and think wearing them everyday could ruin them. Personally, I like wearing my wedding bands everyday. I have them, so I might as well enjoy them!

The whole event was just 1 1/2 hours. Best part, we took the subway & bus home and I did it all in my heals! I think the Korean women (who walk around in heals all day everyday) are wearing off on me. Mike was lookin' like a stud on the bus. Couldn't resist this picture.

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