This was such a fun and easy TL;DR to film! We’ve been to quite a few weddings in Korea (but we have yet to go to a super traditional wedding). This TL;DR wasn’t too opinion/reflection on the meaning of life based, so we didn’t rack our brains over it at all, we just hopped in front of the camera for this one and told our stories while acting silly…because we mightttt have had too much coffee and chocolate milk. BUT YOU CAN’T PROVE ANYTHING!!!

Anyhow, there’s not much more for us to say about this TL;DR topic via our blog post. We covered a lot of what makes Korean weddings special in the video itself. We’re really quite torn about what side we prefer, though. Korean weddings are a bit too short and lack that specialness, but Western Weddings are sooo long and sometimes too much “specialness” is placed on making the wedding day itself perfect…OR ELSE! I mean, we could go on about how sucky some Western weddings are, especially when a bridezilla is involved, but I think we all already know about that. So let’s talk about things we don’t like about Korean weddings!

The extreme rushedness of it all kinda sucks. We’re not joking when we said that the wedding hall staff would start cleaning up while the wedding is still finishing up. It’s so rushed that it feels extremely impersonal. What we find especially shocking is that people will talk on their cell phones or chat with each other during the wedding ceremony, but at the same time food is also being served. I just feel like it’s weird to eat or talk while my friend is exchanging wedding vows. Plus, it feels like some of the things that are deemed important in a Western wedding like, for example, catching the bouquet, are used in Korean weddings but stripped of all meaning. For example, every Korean wedding I’ve been to so far, the bride threw the bouquet to just one planned person who is standing alone. I was like…umm…what? Shouldn’t there be a hilarious battle between all the single ladies to try at catch it? And the cake cutting I also found odd, because it should be at least EATEN. I’ve yet to see the bride and groom or anyone at the wedding actually eat the cake! It was just literally cut for pictures, and then wheeled away. Besides the quickness of the ceremony, the wedding day pictures are actually taken months before in advance in a studio. Now this might be my old fashion weddingness talking, but I still like the idea of the groom not seeing the bride in her dress, but in the Korean case, the groom and bride both see each other all dolled up way in advance. That kindof takes away the specialness to me, but then again, the specialness is really the wedding dress, and if you aren’t buying a wedding dress, I guess it really doesn’t matter if your groom sees you in a couple in advance, right? I do like how once the ceremony is over, the now married couple will change into traditional Korean outfits, right down to those lovely rubber shoes!

Now the more traditional parts of the Korean wedding are awesome, but we have yet to see it in person! If you’re really close to the family, you might get to experience 폐백 (pehbaek) which is a more traditional ceremony involving lots of cool symbolic things, like greeting elders and exchanging chestnuts and other foods which are symbolic of the couple’s union. It can occur right after the wedding (once everyone else has left) or on a different day all together.

We might be biased (just a little) when we say that we still like our wedding story the best. Not too personal, not too small, and ended off with partying with celebrities. MUCH BETTER STORY, IN MY OPINION! Here it is below, if you haven’t seen it yet:


Also, like we said before, we haven’t been to a super-traditional Korean wedding, only the fast wedding hall style. We have no idea what those are like. Are they longer than the ones we went to? Has anyone been? Let us know in the comments!

Oh, and…vote for us on the Shorty Awards! We might just win this, if you Nasties keep on voting! Yay!

Nominate Simon and Martina for a social media award in the Shorty Awards!Nominate Simon and Martina for a social media award in the Shorty Awards
  1. What I find wonderful about where I live (Latvia) is that we can have our wedding absolutely anywhere we want. There are the church weddings, to which I’ve never been, but there are also weeding held in I guess you could call them wedding halls too, but they are basically just this big room where the guests stand as the the couple walks to the registry table, have the official part, sign the papers and afterwards the wedding reception can be held wherever: their house, a restaurant, a guest house (which are very popular here), an old manor. But then there are the wedding which you can have IN A CASTLE. Sure, they are more manor houses, but still, nobility did live in them. While the more popular castles can be quite expensive to rent, some are actually the official wedding halls for that administrative region, so you can hold your wedding in the most beautiful baroque building here for free. And because we are an underpopulated country: little to none lines.

    The wedding reception does differ greatly, according to couple’s wishes. Some are just a dinner where the hosts don’t even show (immediately into honeymoon), some take place over the whole day + next morning (you can stay over at the guest house, but should leave early) and the more traditional wedding take place over at least 3 days with hundreds of guests and lots and lots of drinking. There are certain traditional things the couple does during the reception – the groom carries the bride over the threshold, also steps on a plate (the number of pieces the plate breaks into is the number of kids they will have), there is singing, dancing, the bride changes into a simpler dress, there are lots of games. And drinking. Weddings are the place to get really drunk.

    I have no idea which of the traditions are more global though. The white, the cake, the throwing of the bouquet, the lock on the bridge are ones I know are international. And I know this post is a year old, but I wrote this anyway, if someone cares about this kind of stuff :D

  2. totally of topic but i want to know about martina’s crown ring, because it is amazing~

  3. What a lovely wedding story! I will look at your blog. I’m very interested in interracial couples.

  4. Super late commenting on this but oh well. I wanted to some how link to a very edited video of our Korean wedding that I posted on my facebook awhile back for my family and friends to see but I couldn’t find the way to do it so I will send a link to our pics… hopefully this works.

    Seems like Nic did everything similar to us. We had our beautiful traditional Korean wedding on October 2006 in Chuncheon…then a court ceremony for visa reasons( had to do it within 3 months of him entering USA…don’t ever want to go through the fiance visa/green card process again..biggest pain in the butt!!!!!!!!!) on April 2007 in North Carolina….and then finally had my American wedding on November 2007 also in NC. I loved everything about our Korean wedding. It is defiantly on the the greatest moments in my life …not just because it was my wedding but also because it was so different and completely amazing to me.

    We were both carried but by the same 4 people and on the same wooden thing. I didn’t have to get into a box thing like Nic but that looks interesting. Oh oh oh the big bow…you know I practiced that and got really good and was so proud I could do it without any help but then a few days before the actual ceremony I hurt my foot so I ended up doing everything on one foot so had to have help anyway. My husband was the one telling me what to do from across they way and usually he didn’t understand what was going on either. I remember his face looking confused most of the time cause he couldn’t understand what the guy was saying. I loved the traditional music dance with the drums, completely amazing to watch but I just don’t know how they don’t get sick spinning and spinning. We also had the chickens thrown in the air. Then we had the Pyebaek right after. All the money that all the guests left with the sign in table was given to my husbands parents and that was used to pay for the whole ceremony. But the money that we got from his parents and aunts and uncles (father side) we got to keep. We bowed to them and they give us envelopes of money and their wishes for our future. I was told after everything was over that they were out of food so we didn’t get to eat but i wasn’t that hungry so that was fine. But I was freakin thirsty and thought I was going to die if i didn’t get something to drink. We only had Janchiguksu (a Korean noodle dish that is usually served for special occasions) for people to eat. I know they gave people a little dot sticker as they got a bowl and then at the end count up how many stickers were used and that is how we paid for the meals. I remember that there was so many people there like 300 or more. That was only from my husband’s family and friends cause the only people that could come for me was my mom and sister. Plus there were still friends that could not make it..I knew then that he has so many friends..just unbelievable to me. Oh I forgot to say that I loved how they fixed my hair. They twisted it all around into the big beautiful bun. I couldn’t get a good pic of how awesome it was.

    I think our American wedding was beautiful also …ha of course. Especially since I made pretty much all the decorations and stuff myself with a big help from my sister. We had red velvet cake ..yum my favorite!! A friend of my mothers made the cake and then we just put real flowers all over it …simple and beautiful!! His parents and sister defiantly got to see a difference in the weddings when they helped decorate and set up everything the day before. I also think they enjoyed the dancing afterwards which as far as know Koreans don’t do. Here is a link to that photo album if anyone is interested… http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1101719663849.2015292.1252430295&type=1&l=52d2c2e19a

    Oh Nic your vintage wedding was so beautiful. I loved your pictures…the color and feel of them..love the old bike. Your dress so cute!!! Your head piece so beautiful!!

  5. Awesome! I’m guessing you have amazing pictures! But… I got really excited when I heard your chocolate mudcake with marshmallow frosting…HAHAHAHAH!

  6. I got the Right Said Fred reference. lol.

    But that’s just because I saw the Jeremy Renner version :p http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s78B0nWKqos

    2NE1 is not a prime number.

  7. I was going to ask about that next. I assume these Wedding Hall weddings are for people that are non-religious? I know that if you want a Catholic ceremony, you have to do it in the Church. No beach, flower covered meadow or mountain top for you. So I would imagine that a Korean Christian wedding probably looks more like a western style wedding, just out of necessity. You can’t eat or talk on your cell phone in a church, so you’d have to do a ceremony then a reception.

  8. You know, I think I read on a blog somewhere where this girl went to a Korean wedding in a hall, and was really surprised that people ate and chatted through the ceremony. She asked some other people there about it, and basically their attitude was, “Oh, this isn’t the real ceremony, so it doesn’t matter.” If you’re saying that there is a whole OTHER, more traditional ceremony that takes place, then that makes sense that the “western style” would be more casual.

  9. Those sound like Indian weddings. Wow! You know when you have to plan for a horse or elephant it’s a big production.

  10. “because we mightttt have had too much coffee and chocolate milk. BUT YOU CAN’T PROVE ANYTHING!!!” XDD

    “I just feel like it’s weird to eat or talk while my friend is exchanging wedding vows.” Yup.

    “Shouldn’t there be a hilarious battle between all the single ladies to try at catch it?” that sounds dangerous *imagining the worst case scenario*

    Your wedding was the best wedding in the world! *^*

    P.S: Simon, I like your arm-warmers? XD

    ♥♥ ♥ ♥

  11. I kinda want a Korean style wedding orhow my cousin and his wife did. They had the wedding around noon and it was just family and then everyone else came for the reception that was at night. I still think the actually wedding part should be for family and friends kinda like how Graduation should be. Party is when you can invite everyone.

  12. “I just feel like it’s weird to eat or talk while my friend is exchanging wedding vows.”
    I can totally understand this happening! I went to a new years festival with my Taiwanese boyfriend’s family and he had warned me before hand that things get very loud. (I was thinking ok whatever its a festival of course this will happen, boy was I wrong!). It was EXTREMELY loud! haha But there was also a play/theater that was going on and many people talked outrageously loud over top of them, so you could not hear anything! I think things are just generally louder over there (election trucks!! XD haha)

  13. i think I’d prefer cash honestly. :) my friend got many duplicate presents at her wedding (3 blenders among other things), but cash would have helped pay for the wedding itself. or helped them on the honeymoon, or they could have bought what they really needed for their home.. having said that, in truth, I’d rather just have my family and friends there, and not worrying about having to pay for a gift or figuring up a way to come up with extra money. loving me enough to spend time and effort (and in some cases money) to come see me and my hunny on our special day would have me satisfied and happy.

    most kdrama’s have super rich people or are held in villages etc. the super rich could have any wedding they wanted, which lets face it, would not be a conveyor belt wedding. :) and the villagers would probably have a more traditional wedding anyways, big cities always tend to loose more traditions than small towns. at least that’s how it is here in my home state. so don’t let it wreck your k-drama bubble :) chances are there are still people out there who do weddings that look just like the ones on tv

    did you see the comments by Nic on here? she had an amazing wedding, very traditional, and she even shared some beautiful pics :) see? just more proof that the conveyor wedding isn’t for everyone

  14. HONEY SENPAI!!!!!!!!!! >_<
    mmmmm…i want chocolate milk now!! i only have strawberry flabour right now….it'll do!!!
    wow that sounds like such a weird way of having a wedding!!
    the other type of wedding with the sitting in the same room as the bride and groom and getting food served sounds much more normal, like the ones i go to!! but i don't like going to weddings so the first efficient type sounds better!!! i'd just be able to go to eat the food and get back home quickly!!
    the weddings i go to last a few hours, obviously if you're really close to the bride or groom it's a full day thing!!

    random and this may be an odd question, but i've been wondering…… do you have ice cream vans in Korea?

  15. a friend of mine married a korean man and recently had their baby, their wedding was held in morocco so it was very moroccan, but when she went to live with him in korea they attended his sister wedding!! she really did not like it, especially the part where you have to pay in order to get food, in morocco you don’t even have to bring a gift in order to get food,!! and also the part where it’s really fast so it looses all of its glory

  16. This sure explains all those k-drama weddings I’ve seen and hmmmmm-ed at! BTW Simon I’m really loving your new style! Awesome.

  17. I think they mentioned it in the blog – “Now the more traditional parts of the Korean wedding are awesome, but we
    have yet to see it in person! If you’re really close to the family, you
    might get to experience 폐백 (pehbaek) which is a more traditional
    ceremony involving lots of cool symbolic things, like greeting elders
    and exchanging chestnuts and other foods which are symbolic of the
    couple’s union. It can occur right after the wedding (once everyone else
    has left) or on a different day all together.”

  18. It kind of reminds me of the description of my parents wedding – I can’t remember if she bought or rented the dress, but there was no big deal made over hair and make up, it was done by family, the wedding cake was made by family… I think it’s only in the last 20 years that weddings have become huge business (well, Ireland at least).

  19. About the amount of money. I’m from a Korean family (and I am Korean) usually when it comes to family it’s more than $100 more like in the thousands. Usually they give this in cash however family members give gifts such as fridges, aircons etc if they have a home. They give around $1000 in cash/cheque to help them start a new “life”. Honestly I find it excessive but it’s family and in the end when it’s my turn (when I get married in like a gazillion years) I’ll get the money back in some way or another. Also my family is not excessively rich either. It’s like this in most middle class families. Again like Simon and Martina said it’s ranked, as in eldest Aunt/Uncle will give the most and it will go down from there. But it’s definitely more than $100.

  20. wow this doesn’t sound like much fun… everytime i’m at the wedding (polish, btw, so maybe simon would know what am i talkin abt… XD) i think that if korean would be invited for such wedding, it’d blow their mindddd…. so much drinking, dancing, fun, and yeaaaah whole night party. lol. i’d love to see their faces hahaha xDD

  21. In Singapore, weddings usually depend on your race like Malay, Chinese etc. In chinese weddings there are kind of two parts to a wedding. One is the traditional one where you do this serving tea thing to your elders and then the second part is the wedding dinner. Its kind of an event where you have to give the bride and groom your fullest attention for the whole day. It’s kind of sad to me hearing that korean weddings are so crazily rushed, its like people are just there for a while, some not even paying attention to the wedding since they’re maybe more occupied by the food.

  22. I just want to point out that if anyone here gets invited to an Asian wedding (Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, etc) in North American or Australia, or any Westernized country, giving the bride and groom $10-30 is not the acceptable. The best way to figure how much you should gift is that the amount given should equal roughly to how much it would cost to feed you at the wedding reception. On average here in Canada, I would say between $100-120/person. Also, cheques are just as acceptable as cash. If you don’t know who’s name to put, I would probably just write the groom’s name because the bride’s name might have or not been changed before the wedding.

    • Funny story! ;) But actually (correct me if I’m wrong), but I never heard of giving money at weddings in Germany at all, except if it’s avery young couple without any backing. Or at least you need a present and may attach a bit of money.

      • My American wedding experience has generally been that the bride receives most of the gifts that were on the registry at her bridal shower if she has one. Then people usually gift money at the actual wedding. Most people I know figure they are helping them pay for the wedding and/or get some savings started. Though I do say that $100 is pretty steep for someone who is not family in my neck of the woods!

  23. I think I watched Koreans using those real chickens in K-drama before in Kibum’s drama – I love Italy, not sure tho.

    Anyway, do u know why Koreans stick 2 red circle papers on their cheeks when they get married. DId it happen to u too? What does it symbolize?

  24. I never have understood the idea of a wedding registry for gifts. Money seems a much more practical thing!
    SPREAD THE WORD!!~~ There are other YouTube channels :P My favourite is Open The Happy! hahaha
    BTW, loving the scenes after the credits! :)

  25. Wow, what an experience! Thanks for sharing Nic.
    Did you have to do much preparation for your Korean wedding? You said that you hired a company, but did you have to do anything specific for it or was it all done for you?
    Your blog is amazing btw! I saw the picture of your vintage wedding dress that you posted. It was gorgeous! Did you post any pictures of the Korean wedding?

  26. The giving of money in lieu of gifts seems to be more common in Asia than in the west. I know they do the same thing in Japan and I believe they do in China as well.

    • I’m a little confused, I’m an American (Italian & Austrian) and I thought giving gifts at a wedding was LONG out of practice and gifts are only given at a bridal shower or rehearsal dinner by those closest to you. Though maybe the point they’re trying to make as since they don’t do those things in Korea there no gifts given at all.

      Maybe it’s being a New Yorker because I have been to a few out of state weddings since I moved and they do seem to be different but I’ve always been told to give money (typically a check-enough to cover your plate at least) and I cannot recall seeing a single wrapped box at any of my cousins or new york friends weddings. I do remember seeing a few at a wedding I went to in Florida and found it weird I was seriously wondering if something happened like the rehearsal dinner was cancelled so everybody just brought it today.

  27. Wait…were you serious about the chicken throwing? Like…real actual chickens?

    • OMG. That’s so amazing! Real Chickens! Cool! I hope you don’t me asking but when you put on all the traditional clothes for the wedding what did they do with your hair? Did you have to wear a wig to get those amazingly huge braided updos I’ve seen in period dramas or did they let you keep your hair natural? I know that in Japan they have special wigs and wig rentals just for proper Shinto weddings and I’m curious to see if Korean weddings had something similar.

  28. How’s the public transport in Korea? How expensive and how’s the frequency? Till what time do they run and are they usually “on time”? Also, if you don’t speak Korean, will you be able to buy tickets and know where/when to wait?

  29. I was lucky enough to be invited to a korean wedding last year.. we missed the real wedding part cause we were too busy eating but my bf sneaked me to some small room in the back to see the 폐백 later. carrying the bride around the table, a lot of bowing and pouring drinks for all elders and relatives. i guess that is more interesting that the modern wedding part..
    and the bouquet throwing was really strange for me as well :D looks like its just for a picture cause the bride had to throw it few times to the same girl.

  30. Ahahaha thats what she said ….good one simon (Y)

  31. very interesting! usually your answers on korean life are really really similar to life in Japan, but this is one time where it’s really different! japanese weddings are reaaaaaaaaally ridiculous and expensive. they can cost up to 500$ per guests just to go… and the bride might change gowns 5 times over the course of the ceremony, which is extremely long, formal and boring. there is a ridiculously high number of guests because you’re supposed to invite your boss and nearly everyone you work with… then there is an “after party” which is where it’s more like parties back home and everybody just gets drunk and eats a lot. and sometimes there is another party after that… also, all the guests who attend the wedding get presents back from the couple to thank them for attending, and those presents can be pretty pricey…

    for me, it’s really strange!! lol. so i think maybe going to get married in korea sounds like a good idea! lol.

  32. Sorry Martina… 7 X 3 = 21. Nice try though! ^-^

  33. OHOHOH! My parents have a video tape thing (y’know, the old thick rectangular ones) where it shows their Western-like wedding and their traditional Korean wedding. The Western one was really long and boring in my opinion. I just fast-forwarded the whole thing. :P The traditional one I can’t really remember, but I remember my mom even had those red dots on her cheekbones. They were sitting down in front of a low table with tons of traditional foods, including chestnuts, and in front of them sat my mother’s parents and… NDKJNJKN I don’t remember. D:
    I’d love to send you guys an email about it if I ever find it and watch it.

  34. wow 30 minutes for a whole wedding? So it’s really just the bride and groom..no entourage and whatnot.? Aw…it sounds so..unsparkly? Haha. Anyways Honey senpai love!!! :D

  35. I was super curious about how they did ‘Westernized’ weddings in Korea and it makes me a little sad at how short/rushed they are. Not that I want a whole day long affair for a wedding, but a little longer than, like, 30 minutes would be nice. But I do like the idea of renting a gown, less stress in the costs of them and so on.

    Annnnd, I like your all’s wedding story more, too, to be honest. It was just awesome. ^^

  36. The reason for the bouquet being tossed or even given to one person is because of superstition. Supposedly, whoever catches a bouquet has 6 months to get married or be single forever. The bride plans who she gives the bouquet to, which is usually someone already engaged or planning to be engaged and married.

  37. I like the idea of renting gowns, and pictures and stuff, but the cafeteria style wedding food, while watching on tv with strangers sounds really off putting. :( Buuut the brought food during the wedding sounds UH-MAZING! But yeah the whole party atmosphere seems to be totally destroyed…NOOO CAAAAAKE!!???

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