Going to a Traditional Korean Wedding

Whilst we are still playing a bit of catchup with the things we have been behind on writing, bear with us. Did this wedding “technically” happen in March? Yes. Wasn’t that about five months ago? Yup. Don’t judge us, man! Or do, either way this post is happening because this day was pretty amazing and being a part of a traditional Korean wedding was a Korean bucket list item that neither of us thought we’d get to check off our lists. Thanks Pete and Sanha for centering your entire start as a married couple around Ryan and I. You guys are the best!


Traditional Korean Wedding


I’m also going to preface this post by saying that I will not be using any specific “Korean terminology” for the events but those interested can just use the Googles. Instead, I will just recount said events as I experienced them in my limited knowledge of what the hell was actually happening. Personally, I think not knowing exactly why Michael Jackson was there or why multiple piggie backs were given just enhanced my experience of the entire day.

The Ceremony

Traditional Korean Wedding

Pete and Sanha chose to have their traditional wedding at a temple on the edge of Gwangju. The boys had to go up early with the bride and groom in order to get dressed up and practice their parts of the ceremony. Mara and I arrived later and were greeted by all four men dressed in their rental clothes. It’s pretty clear how much larger these guys are compared to typical Korean sizes as none of the arm or pant lengths fit and Nick couldn’t even fit into his shirt. Placed artfully on top of their heads were tiny tilted woven hats, Ian’s tilted the opposite direction for whatever reason. That’s just how the wedding coordinator, who looked startlingly like Michael Jackson, dressed him. Sanha was already stuffed into the 가마 (gama) palanquin box and was using her amazing Korean superpower of never sweating to continue looking amazing in such a cramped and hot space. The guys were there for one reason only, to play the part of the slave boys who carry the high ranking Korean lady around in her box. Amazing.

She is nailing the look, glove and all!

Traditional Korean Wedding

Ryan was the tallest guy so he basically was hunched over the entire time trying not to strain his back while Michael Jackson made them start and stop over and over while walking down the isle. I would have felt bad for him if I wasn’t more busy trying not to die laughing in the middle of a wedding ceremony, which I’m pretty sure is also rude in Korea. After dropping Sanha off to her nuptials, they were still not quite finished. They now needed to wrangle the poultry. Yes, you read that right, some traditional Korean ceremonies use live chickens. Instead of throwing a bouquet or tossing a garter belt, you throw live chickens. What?! The chickens were tethered by a small string on their foot, so catching them wasn’t as difficult as I honestly hoped it would be. Oh well.

The ceremony was filled with respectful bowing to each other, drinking tea together, and then Pete giving Sanha a piggie back ride down the isle and into marital bliss. Bravo guys, bravo!

Traditional Korean Wedding

Traditional Korean Wedding

The Reception

Korean receptions are pretty insane. In America we like everything on a large scale, especially weddings and food. When I was a wedding coordinator, okay INTERN coordinator, the weddings we helped host were so huge the price tags were in numbers that I could not even fathom. Those weddings had NOTHING on Pete and Sanha’s buffet at their reception, though. Fourteen tables pushed together in a banquet serving style held around fifty different types of main courses, side dishes, soups, salads, desserts, and beverages and there was even a full beer refrigerator BROUGHT IN TO THIS TEMPLE with beer, soju, and makgeolli.

Traditional Korean Wedding

I may have cried during this part of the wedding, but I completely blame the lack of promised reception buffet burritos. Seriously, guys, whoever dropped the ball on that one should be fired. Sure there was a ton of good food there, but I will forever remember this portion of the events as utter disappointment. Pete and Sanha were gracious enough to get up to thank everyone for coming and being a part of their lives. This was the point I remembered the missing burritos and couldn’t hold my tears back. Honestly don’t think there was a dry eye in the temple.

The After Party

After all the traditions and customary piggie backs were given, we changed clothes and headed downtown for some western food and drinks. Burritos were still not eaten, but I at least had some pizza which temporarily helped alleviate my saltiness of BEING LIED TO. Sanha put on her third dress of the day and managed to continue looking stunning even with pizza in hand. After drinking our way through all the free beer coupons, we headed out to the streets for some photos in the deserted and colorful alleyways of Gwangju. Highlight of this portion of events was definitely seeing Ian spot a corgie and spending the entire fifteen minutes its owners were playing claw games to stand over it and pet the hell out of it. Just look at the satisfaction on their faces, then check out the girl looking at him like, “Is this guy ever going to leave?”

Traditional Korean Wedding

Traditional Korean Wedding

Huge thank you to Sanha and Pete for letting us be a part of your special day and for making Ryan be your slave boy. We love you both!

Going to a Traditional Korean Wedding

2017-07-28T20:39:42+00:00 By |Culture, Korea|0 Comments

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