Nov 29, 2009
|Minhee's brother got married on 29 November so we went over to Korea for his wedding. Korean weddings are a little different than American weddings. They usually have two ceremonies, a "western" style ceremony for everybody they know and then a "Korean Traditional" ceremony for immediate family.
Seoul is a city of over 15 million people so that translates to lots of weddings on any given Sunday. Most people get married in a wedding hall which normally has several wedding chapels to allow several weddings to happen at the same time. Also, they schedule several weddings in the same wedding chapel back-to-back which results in an almost airport-like mass confusion feel as you walk into the wedding hall and try to figure out which chapel to go to. Guests include anybody that you ever knew and or anybody that knew your parents and or anybody that is a friend of a friend. The flow of people in and out of the wedding ceremony is pretty fluid, it is OK to get up and move and talk to somebody that you know during the
ceremony, and I might add that people like to talk on their cell phones during the ceremony.
It was a pretty hectic day for my in-laws but it was pretty easy for me. Minhee said "sit here" and I sat there for about 20 minutes. Then she would grab me and walk down to another room and say "sit here" and I sat there some more. Then she would get me again, take me to another place and say "sit" and I would sit. The only other thing I had to do was say "Hello" in Korean and bow to people, and I got beer at the end of the day for doing such a good job.
The Koreans like the western style wedding but I think they went to Las Vegas to figure out what a western style wedding is supposed to be like. The decor of these wedding halls were probably designed by Liberace's home decorator. There wasn't a rehearsal so the wedding hall has girls dressed in bell-hop outfits with short skirts to guide the participants during the ceremony. The ceremony went something like this:
-Bell hop girl guides Minhee's parents to their seats.
-Bell hop girl guides bride's mother to her seat.
-Minhee hits me for looking at the bell-hop girls in the really short skirts
-Loud music plays, disco ball is lowered, flashing colored lights are cued and groom walks down the isle, guided by bell hop
-Disco version of "Here Comes the Bride" is played. Bride and father walk down isle. Bell hop girl positions bride next to groom.
-Bell hop girls place brides hand and grooms hand together
-Photographer walking all over the place. Doesn't like the way Minhee's parents are sitting so walks up and adjusts their hands and body position to take picture.
-Brother in law's boss gives speech. In Korea, anybody that is held in respect can speak at the wedding and most people don't have a minister give the wedding. Minhee tries to translates but gives up because it isn't a very good speech. Bell hop girls escort him back to his seat
-Minhee answers cell phone from limo driver and walks away. I stay there and look at the bell-hop girls in short skirts
-Minhee's brother sings a karaoke song to the bride, his friend sings second verse for him which is a good thing because he can't sing. Must be a really romantic song because all the parents are crying
-Bell hops re-position bride and groom after song for the kiss
-Enter alto saxophone player walking around the chapel with the disco lights going at full blast
-Bride and groom turn to walk down isle arm-in-arm. Bell hop girls don't like the position of groom's hand so they walk up and adjust the hand.
-Loud disco music cued, bride and groom slowling walk down the isle
-Bell hop girls shoot paper confetti at bride and groom from giant trumpets.
-Large people jam develops as people from our ceremony try to leave while people for the next ceremony tries to come in.
After the over-the-top Las Vegas wedding on steroids, we went to the traditional wedding ceremony. The bride and groom bow to the elder family members and give soju to them. The family members then give a gift of money and say something nice.
Finally the most important event happened, the all-u-can-eat buffet and all you can drink beer and soju. This turned out to be a really nice wedding. I'm telling you, if you ever get a chance to go to a Korean wedding, go because it is so much fun.