Posted by: rbbadger | September 28, 2008

The Wedding

Today, one of my co-workers got married.  So, myself and all of my co-workers found ourselves at the Nowon Wedding Hall.

Wedding halls are a very, very common sight in South Korea.  Some of these look not unlike Sleeping Beauty’s castle at Disneyland.  Others of them sport domes and other similar decorations.  These are not tasteful places. Until today, I had never been in one.  Probably the best way to describe them is that they are like Las Vegas wedding chapels on steroids.  They are often vast places.  They offer one-stop shopping.  The bride can buy her dress there.  They can have wedding photos taken, order announcements, get the groom’s suit, and everything else wedding related.  There are chapels where weddings can take place (about eight were scheduled for today) and rooms where the wedding guests can be fed in the best Korean fashion.  The Nowon Wedding Centre (named for Nowon-gu, one of the districts of Seoul) looks like a fairly typical large and ugly Korean department store. 

At two, the wedding ceremony began.  It was basically a Protestant wedding ceremony with the traditional bows to the parents thrown in.  The whole thing took about 20 minutes.  When the groom walked in, a spotlight followed him all the way to the front to the strains of Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1”.  Following that, the bride made her way in to the strains of the wedding march from Wagner’s opera Lohengrin.  The bride, groom, minister, and their family members were all wearing white gloves as well.  The mother of the bride and the mother of the groom both wore hanbok (traditional Korean dress) but all the men were in dark-coloured suits.  Some Korean couples choose to have a Western-style wedding with all their guests and a smaller traditional style wedding ceremony immediately following with their families.  In Korean culture, white is the colour of death and mourning, so the bride would wear red if she was going through the traditional wedding rites.  It is the same in China.  We had pictures with the bride and groom and then made our way to the area where the luncheon was served.  It was a truly vast spread.

It only took an hour and a half for everything to be over.  I didn’t even get a chance to wish my co-worker the best, as she had been spirited away.  It is traditional for the friends of either the bride and groom to offer money.  Each of us gave them 40,000 won (about $35) a piece.



  1. i’m sad there are no pictures of this! boo. also, when do you get to come home?

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