Published: July 23rd 2012July 19th 2012 My first Korean Wedding
Sorry I didnt get any good pics of the wedding as it all happened so fast. I did get this cool wedding invitation though :)
One of my co-teachers got married the other week and Ash and I were invited! I couldn’t miss the opportunity to experience a wedding in a different culture. I got all dressed up like for an english wedding. My co-teacher was getting married in the wedding ceremony area of the big and rather posh Novotel in the downtown area of Daegu.
Entering the Novotel foyer was really confusing as it was absolutely packed out. There was a big screen showing the different weddings that day and we couldn’t believe it but there were two an hour! No wonder it was so rammed. We stood in line, bowed and greeted the dashing groom and the bride’s parents who were both dressed in traditional Korean attire, then gave our card and present to the hotel staff. Next we were asked if we wanted to see the bride (before the wedding?). We were led around the back of the ceremonial hall and in to a room where my co-teacher was sat waiting for visitors to come in for photos. She looked gorgeous. We had a quick photo, wished her luck and then headed back to the ceremony. The
room was really nice and looked like an indoor garden with trellising, trees, garden chairs and fairy lights. We had to wait a while for the wedding itself to start but were kept entertained by maybe 10 different staged wedding photos of the bride and groom shown on big screens. In Korea before the wedding the bride and groom go for a photo shoot and wear different outfits. So Ai-Lim had actually worn a few different wedding dresses in front of her hubby to be before the day of the wedding! The pictures were pretty cool, lying together in a field of flowers, in a stately home, a grand staircase and even up a ladder outside a very French looking building.
The hall was busy but most people stood at the back so there was room to sit down. The ceremony started with a speaker (in Korean) presumably doing an introduction. Then the bride and groom came in to rapturous applause. They are both teachers at rival neighbouring high schools so students from my school and the groom’s were there in uniform cheering away. What happened next was amazing, there was really loud music and the groom ran down
the aisle as if he were a boxer entering a fight and building up the crowd beforehand. Everyone was cheering loads it was brilliant. Next the bride very demurely and really slowly walked down the aisle.
During the actual ceremony everyone else was talking which was bizarre. The parents of the couple were sat on either side at the front and at one point the bride and groom got down (the bride to her knees and the groom looking like he was doing push ups) in front of both sets of parents. I presume to show respect to them. The bride’s brother then serenaded them with a song, next the groom took the mic and serenaded the bride too. Students from each of the schools also sang songs. My co-teacher’s students sang a song whilst swaying and she got all emotional and was crying, her husband’s students took a more comedic approach and at one point were all doing the funky chicken! The final thing they did was for the groom to give the brides mum a piggy back across the stage! I’m not sure what the symbolism of it was but everyone was cheering a lot.
After the ceremony we didn’t see the bride or groom again. Weddings are not all-day affairs here and they don’t usually have proper parties afterwards. All the guests went up to a huge dining hall with a few different rooms of amazing food and just helped ourselves to the buffet. There were guests from other weddings and the layout meant that people were sat all over the shop. After eating everyone just left which felt really strange but our friends had warned us beforehand so we were prepared for it. Was a great experience though just for the ceremony! Boryeong Mud Festival
Here is a snippet of info on the mud festival from Wikipedia: ‘The Boryeong Mud Festival is an annual festival takes place during the summer in Boryeong, a town around 200 km south of Seoul, South Korea The first Mud Festival was staged in 1998 and, by 2007, the festival attracted 2.2 million visitors to Boryeong. The mud is taken from the Boryeong mud flats, and trucked to the Daecheon beach area, where it is used as the centrepiece of the 'Mud Experience Land'. The mud is considered rich in minerals and used to manufacture cosmetics. The festival was originally conceived as a marketing vehicle for Boryeong mud cosmetics.’
So last weekend people from all over the country visited the boryeong mud festival on the west coast. We got on an organised coach trip with other teachers from Daegu, left at 9am and arrived about 1pm. We were staying in a ‘pension’ which is a kind of group accommodation where there are no beds, only blankets and pillows for sleeping on the floor in traditional Korean style.
We arrived, found the pension, got changed super swiftly and headed out to join in the fun on the beach. Over two weeks more than million people are estimated to go to the festival and there were loads of people already there when we arrived on the Saturday. Next to Daecheon beach there is the main mud area. You can get tickets to go on mud slides, wrestle in mud baths and get put in mud prison as well as other things. Unfortunately by the time we arrived we were told this was sold out for the rest of the day – gutted. However outside of this mud arena big vats of mud were still being provided for people so we still had lots of fun smothering ourselves and each other in mud, running in to the sea and repeating the process a few times.
It started raining pretty bad mid-afternoon but we were all merry, soaking and filthy so it didn’t bother anyone. There were some bands playing on the beach and at one point a big flash mob started dancing while a DJ played which was entertaining and got everyone in the mood.
We hung around there for a while getting drunker and then decided to all go back to pension, get cleaned and get some dinner. We did it in shifts as there was only one bathroom for 12 of us! That evening we went out for dinner and drinks close by. Ash and I decided to go for a drunken wander along the beach later on and there were some amazing fireworks. At one point we wanted to go in the sea but the Korean lifeguards were being killjoys and kept whistling at us to get out. We came back to the beach to find Ash’s t-shirt gone? Stolen in Korea? I presumed in his excitement to get to the sea he chucked it somewhere in a dramatic fashion and it had been washed away. We searched for ages and then gave up. Maybe an hour later we were walking down the beach and saw some western dude wearing Ash’s top haha. How awkward! We had to go and ask him for it because Ash was topless and it was a favourite t-shirt. The guy looked pretty embarrassed, funny though.
We stayed out a while longer bumping in to various people until the rain got too heavy and I got too drunk to handle it anymore, then headed back for a well needed rest.
The next day everyone was flaking and tired out so just chilled out by the beach and had lunch before getting the coach home. Boryeong festival verdict – FUNTIME. Next year we’ll go for the closing party where they have bigger acts playing but definitely want to experience it again.
Less than two weeks now until our holiday around Korea! Excited about that and will update with what we get up to...