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Published: December 14th 2012
Outer hall before you walk into the wedding reception area.
A couple weeks ago I got invited to Whemi's wedding on November 24th. I was super excited because it was going to be my first (and only) Korean wedding. I was excited to see the cultural differences between the U.S. and Korean weddings. Let's be honest, I know American weddings have a ton of booze and fun and so I figured Koreans drink a lot, same thing. Not at all actually. I asked Yumi a couple weeks prior about what happens at a wedding and she was saying that it was primarily about the quick ceremony and the food itself. Some people even skip the ceremony or get up halfway to go get the food!
Anyway, in Korea they have weddings in wedding halls basically. It's not necessarily a church. It's a building that is specifically catered to weddings. Each floor has different banquet halls and there are buffet rooms spread out throughout the building where that person's wedding will go.
When I first got to the wedding hall I was instructed on what floor it was by the ushers outside of the buidling. So I took the escalator to the 5th floor and saw some familiar faces from
some of the teachers and also her homeroom class that she invited to the wedding. They were excited and surprised to see me there. At the top of the escalator they have a Wedding room with some small frames with the couple engagement photos in it and then a small bench with a wedding/engagement scene for pictures with bride/groom, family and friends (or students and teachers.) The kids and I got some pictures with Whemi as she was posing and then I moved on to find the table with the guestbook and the monetary dropoff. It is customary in Korea to give money to the couple for apartments/house (since they basically pay a TON of money in rent for a year or 2 lease....anywhere from 100,000,000-250,000,000W which is like $100-$250,000) and only in odd increments. I was told I could give either 30,000 ($30) or 50,000 ($50) but not 40,000 for some reason. Bad karma maybe. I handed in my envelope and then proceeded to sign the guestbook. Thankfully the guys spoke a little English and told me to sign my name vertically which just looks really weird in English vs Korean characters. As it turns out later on from
Not sure what these are for. I'll ask Whemi then.
Whemi a week later after the honeymoon, that I actually signed the grooms guestbook instead of hers. The grooms family was trying to figure out who the hell Chris Gleeson, written vertically, was. Little did I know.
It was finally time for the wedding ceremony and we all went in and stood on the edges since there wasn't much room for us all to sit down. By this time I had congregated with the students since they could convey an English message to me with all of their knowledge combined. I found out that some of them were pretty nervous since they were surprising the bride and groom by singing a song to them during the ceremony. Her husband walked down the aisle first and went to each set of parents and knelt down and almost kissed the ground in front of them and then stopped in the middle by the preacher. Her father then walked her down the aisle to her waiting husband and he took her by the arm and led her up the stairs to where the preacher was standing.
After all the vows were said they turned around and bowed to the crowd and
Bride and Groom wedding picture area. Also a place for family and friends to take pictures before the wedding.
then Whemi's friend came up to sing a Koran song for them and her now husband joined him and sang to Whemi. Then it was time for the boys to sing....about 6 of them went up front and each sang a little part of the song. They did really good overall despite being so nervous! I videod the whole thing which I am currently trying to upload to Youtube but for some reason, can't. Technology...ugh. After all the pictures were taken we all found our way to the buffet where there was a TON of Korean food waiting. Pieces of sushi, noddles, beef, chicken, dessert, you name it, it was there! All the food was insanely good. That is why a lot of people go to the weddings, just for the food. One of the funniest parts of the day was at the buffett when we were eating, I had gone up to get another helping and I come back and see the kids laughing and giggling and acting funny. I was curious so I kept looking over and seeing what they were doing and of course they had taken one of the beer bottles and poured each other a
glass and had drank it by the time I had come back. Sneaky!
We were getting ready to leave and we bumped into Whemi and her husband as they were walking around and saying thank you to everyone dressed in a traditional Korean wedding dress called a Hanbok. From there I took the subway to Hongdae where I got a hostel, showered and changed, and met some friends out for a night out on the town! Overall, a great experience and I had a great time with the kids.
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