So your in-laws are Korean, and you wish to include the Korean traditions, and you want to include the traditions of Korea in your wedding. That’s very thoughtful of you. But for that, you need to know the ABC of Korean wedding. Read on to know the traditions involving a Korean wedding.
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In Korea, marriage is a union, not just of two individuals, but also of two families and the wedding encompasses the importance of family and relationships. The couples may be knowing each other for long, but the marriage plans are usually put on hold until both the families meet.
In the case of arranged marriages, (yes arranged marriages happen in Korea as well) the couple meets for the first time at the time of the wedding. This usually happens amongst traditional Korean families.
Several factors are considered while arranging the marriage. Some families even consult fortune tellers to predict the couple’s life together.
In Korea, the groom’s family brings the betrothal gifts to the bride’s house accompanied by close friends, family, and a band. Yes, everything, including the betrothal ceremony is carried with pomp. The band members, dressed in costumes, with face blackened, sing all the way long to the bride’s family. As they are about to enter the bride’s house, they chant “Hahm for sale, hahm for sale!” Hearing this, the bride’s family comes out of the house and gives money to the band members. The bribing would continue until the members deliver the last hahm.
The wedding invitation can be printed (formal) or verbal (informal). Since the Koreans have plenty of people to invite to the wedding, they usually opt for the verbal invitation. And verbal invitation, in no way, indicates the importance or reflection of the relationship to the person who is inviting you.
Most of the Koreans, especially of today, get married in wedding halls or banquets, where the family members introduce each other to their relatives and friends. As for the entertainment, classic Korean music, along with Karaoke is performed.
If you want, you can assign all the duties of your wedding. The wedding hall will take care of the minutest of details, right from the flowers to the music. Those who have big houses organize the weddings in their homes.
Pre Wedding Tradition:
A few days before the wedding, the groom hands his to-be-mother-in-law a wild goose, which may be real or wooden. Since wild geese mate for life, this gift is a reminder that he will take care of his daughter forever. In some cases, cranes, which represent a long life, can also be presented.
Seeing the bride in a traditional Korea wedding dress is a sight to behold. In the pre-wedding function, the bride wears a light green wonsam along with an elaborate floral hwarrot or flower robe. Underneath, there will be a traditional robe. At the head, the bride bears a black gem studded cap. The accessories include embroidered shoes and white socks. The makeup is kept minimal with three small sized circles to ward off the evil spirits.
The groom traditionally wears a dark dress of nobility embroidered with auspicious symbols. The headdress includes a black top hat made of silk.
A hanbok, the traditional Korea dress, is worn after the wedding ceremony. It comprises of a jeogori, a short jacket with long sleeves and two long ribbons hanging. The skirt, known as Chima is worn under the jacket.
The vows between husband and wife are exchanged during the ‘kunbere’ ceremony. The groom stands on the eastern side, and the bride walks to the western side of the wedding table. The helpers of both bride and groom help them wash the hands.
A mat is then laid in the yard, where the bride and groom stand, facing each other. The bride has to cover her face with her hands. Next begins the bowing, which symbolizes the promise of commitment to each other. First, the bride has to bow twice, and groom has to bow once. Again, the bride will bow twice, and then the groom bows deeply and kneels down.
The bride and groom seal the vows by drinking wine in a gourd, which must be grown by the bride’s mother. But before drinking, the bride and groom have to bow again and raise the cups to the sky.
After the wedding, the newlywed couple visits the groom’s family for ‘p’ye-baek’, another wedding ceremony. During the ceremony, the bride has to offers chestnuts and dates to the parents of the groom, which are the symbols of offspring.
The ceremony begins with the parents of the groom sitting on cushions behind a painted screen, with the newlyweds opposite them. The bride and groom have to bow down to their parents. The bride then offers a cup of rice wine to her father-in-law and the groom gives a cup of rice wine to his mother. The parents then discuss the importance of wedding to them.
The groom’s parents then throw the dates and chestnuts, which the bride should try to catch in her wedding skirt.
A table is placed at the entrance where each guest has to place his/her gift. The gifts are also recorded in a notebook by anyone in the bride or groom’s family.
Cash is the most preferred gift. The bills must be new and must be put in a white, wedding envelope. A regular envelope can also be used, but it must be crisp and pristine.
The foreign guests tend to bring household appliances for the couple. Even they have to leave the wrapped package on the table.
Koreans do not organize elaborate dinner or lunch for their weddings. Noodle soup is a staple dish in their wedding, as noodles symbolize a long and happy life. In fact, the Korean wedding banquet is called ‘kook soo sang’, which means ‘noodle banquet’. The noodles are first boiled in beef brother and then cooked with veggies. ‘Dok’, which is a sticky rice cake, is also served at the weddings.
We hope you enjoyed reading about Korean wedding customs and traditions. If you have anything to share, leave us a comment below!