This little entry is about me attending a Korean wedding. It was different.
F. M. Laster
“I only like two kinds of men, domestic and imported.” -Mae West
Black Barbie’s First Korean Wedding
I should have written about this sooner, but life, men, and alcohol got in the way. Anyway, a few Saturdays ago, I had the chance to attend my first Korean wedding, thanks to a fellow EPIK teacher who was getting married in Korea. She is from Waco, or Houston adjacent like myself, and has finally tied the knot with her Korean boyfriend after dating him for 2 years.
I will share with you my experience as a foreigner attending a Korean wedding. Here are a couple of things to expect:
- Korean weddings FAST!
How fast? Fast. For starters, the bride is separated from the rest of the party to take some pretty pictures with her friends before the wedding. Korea is nothing but efficient, and Korean weddings are very efficient. Weddings are usually booked in wedding halls with more than one wedding taking place that day. Back in Texas, if you booked a hall, YOU had the hall; you weren’t sharing it with 6 to 7 other couples.
Korean weddings are like an assembly line with one wedding starting right after another. The stage is barely clean before the next party takes the stage. When it was my friend’s turn, they changed to nameplate to hers. The whole ceremony took all of an hour, which includes the bubble machine, balloons, and the group photos. Then it was off to the buffet where we had 30 minutes to eat before the next party arrived. In total, that wedding was 90 minutes. Try to pull that back in Texas. I think not.
- Cash is KING
It’s all about the Benjamin’s or the wons in this case. You have to bring money because that’s your invitation. There are some strict rules about this money shit as well:
The amounts are 30,000, 50,00, and 100,000 won.
Anything over 100,000 usually comes from the family or people close to the bride and groom. 50,000 is the industry standard to give if your friends and 30,000 if you’re poor or unemployed. There are no lower amounts. I gave 30,000 since I knew her, but not well enough for 50,000. Hell, that’s cutting into my drinking money.
Another thing about this money; it should be in a white envelope. Korea’s not nicknamed the land of the white envelopes for nothing. Like giving the money, there are also rules about the envelope:
- Just money, no note or anything extra
- The bills should be new
- Write your name on the envelope
- The Bouquet Catch is Rigged
That’s right, the game is rigged. For this particular wedding, a single girl was selected to catch the bouquet. She stood directly behind the bride, and the bride just tossed it over her shoulders. You know what? She missed it! How the hell do you miss something thrown directly at you? I kind of like this practice of selecting someone in advance. There’s no Hunger Games where the girls fight to catch the damn thing.
Best of luck to the happy couple because from the looks her mother in law was shooting her, she’s going to need it!