Korean Wedding Traditions | What You Need to Know

Incorporating your Korean traditions can make your wedding a truly unique event. These days we’ve adapted to more westernized weddings, but with our help, you can have the best of both worlds.

Pre-Wedding Korean Traditions

During the Jeonanrye ceremony, a kireogi or a wild goose was presented to the prospective groom. The groom was expected to bow twice before presenting the kireogi to his future mother in law. In modern Korean weddings today, a wooden goose may be given in place of a traditional kireogi. This Korean tradition is respected as a symbol of harmony and structure. Wild geese mate for life, so by giving the mother a goose, the groom is promising a life of love and care to the woman’s daughter.

The parents of the bride and groom are entitled to invite whomever they please, often resulting in a guest count as large as 500! It is Korean tradition that the bride and groom wander the wedding venue to welcome each guest on their special day, this can often become a stressful task from the bride and groom. However, the groom may greet the wedding guests in one area while the bride has her own special room in which to greet her guests. Photos of the bride and her guests are also taken before the ceremony.

The Korean Wedding Ceremony

During the Korean wedding ceremony, vows are taken in the kunbere ceremony. Both bride and groom wear the traditional hanbok, a traditional Korean dress specially designed for the ceremony. The hanbok represents thousands of years of tradition and is usually made of a lightweight material with bright colors, simple lines, and no pockets. The bride will wear a pink or purple hanbok, while the groom’s mother wears a blue hanbok. Female members of the family may also wear the hanbok, but they may choose more modern clothing in place of the traditional dress.

A celebrant and a Master of Ceremonies officiate at the ceremony. After vows are spoken, the bride and groom seal their vows by bowing and sipping wine from a gourd grown handed off by the mother of the bride. The ceremony is quick, and usually never lasts longer than one-half hour. After the vows are spoken, and the wine is finished, the family and guests will participate in a simple meal.

The main requirement for attending a Korean wedding is that you bring a white envelope that contains money to present to the bride and groom. The amount of money given depends on the relationship between the guest and the couple. It is traditional to give the chosen amount of money in one clean, crisp bill inside the white envelope.

After the ceremonies, it is traditional for the groom’s family to purchase a house for the newly married couple, and the brides’ family will provide the furnishings. Korean children are becoming more independent these days, and may already have homes of their own when they get married, so this tradition isn’t practiced as much as it used to be. Both families usually discuss and agree upon what wedding gifts will be given to their newly married children.

The Pyebaek | Korean wedding tradition

The pyebaek is one of many Korean wedding traditions emphasizing the importance of family within the culture. During the pyebaek, dates and chestnuts are given to the bride. Together, the bride and groom will visit his family’s home to gift the nuts and fruit. The dates and chestnuts are a Korean representation of the bride’s fertility. After the fruit and nuts are offered, the parents of the groom will serve sake in return. At the end of the ceremony, the parents of the groom throw the dates and chestnuts at the bride as she tries to catch them in her large, traditional skirt. The number of dates and chestnuts she catches symbolize the number of children she will later have.

Sample Weddings and Korean Traditions

 

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