Saturday, October 24, 2009

Korean Wedding was a Success!

We got married for the second time... it's so nice to renew our vows so close to our anniversary and to have a traditional Korean wedding in Korea!

The day started out early. We had to be at the wedding company at 8 a.m. for hair and makeup. It's a really interesting process.

The brides here will pay a company to do everything. And brides don't buy wedding dresses... they rent them. So, a bride can do both a traditional and a Western wedding to celebrate their nuptials. Most brides these days do Western weddings (with the white dress, like Americans.) In fact, one of my second cousins, who's 19, says he's never seen a Korean traditional wedding until ours. The company also provides engagement pictures, and the couple gets to wear several different wedding dresses/suits. It's a little like playing dress up. I think it's a great business idea, by the way.

Though the day is long, it's not like Western weddings. We had our wedding at noon, and by the time we were finished bowing to our elders, most of our 150 or so guests had eaten their lunch. Afterwards, we changed into our jeans and had lunch with just some extended family. Then, we went back to the wedding company to take more pictures with the immediate family. There's no band, no open bar, no dancing, and definitely no drunken dancing. Although, there is likely some heavy drinking among the Korean men at the wedding meal.

We wore three outfits today. We wore a hanbok, which is a traditional dress that's often worn by Koreans at things like weddings or holidays. Today, we all matched and the four of us wore a hot pink and bright blue hanbok. Pink is a good color in Korea, and it's a good color for men. Of course, that is a little different in Western culture, right? That's why Glenn and Jim were a little embarrassed to wear the pink outfit, but they did look handsome. I promised Glenn I wouldn't post a picture of video of him in the suit. So, sorry!

We took a lot of pictures with the company, but I'll have to post them when we receive them. We were running behind so I didn't have time to take personal pictures at the ceremony.

The ceremony is also a little difficult. First of all, the attire is uncomfortable. For the ceremony, I wore a heavy dress and a very large wig that looked something reminiscent of Star Wars. Pad Mei, anyone? Hyun Jeong's wig weighed 15 pounds. I can't begin to tell you how much strain that puts on your neck. At first, I felt like I was going to get sick. It reminded me of that feeling you get when you're at an amusement park and have been on too many rides. Your neck gets heavy and you think you're going to throw up. At first, that's how I felt. As the bride, you also have to keep your hands and arms up underneath your face. After 20 minutes, it can get uncomfortable. There is also deep bowing involved. Anyway, not to sound like a wimp, I'm just saying, it's a little more physical than your average Western wedding.

After that, we changed again. I don't have any pictures, but we changed into another traditional dress to pay respect to our elders in a paebeck (pay-beck) ceremony. We bowed to our elders and gave them drinks. In return, they gave us good wishes and gifts. I was really touched by what our birth father said. He spoke in English and said that no matter where we are, we could depend on each other. I found out later that Glenn helped him write it. I was really moved. Also, there was a fertility ceremony, of sorts. Traditionally, the parents throw chestnuts at the couple, and the couple tries to catch them. How many you catch tells you how many children you will have. Uh, Jim and I caught 8! Glenn and Hyun Jeong weren't really ready, and I'm not sure they caught any! But, I think they pretended to catch two or three! ha!

In the end, it was a pretty amazing day. It was really great to see Glenn and Hyun Jeong get married. Even though we were a part of the ceremony and got married in front of my Korean family, we were mostly happy about seeing my sister marry Glenn. After all, it is their first wedding (they'll probably have another ceremony in the U.S. one day.) They definitely deserved to enjoy today, and we were just honored they wanted us to be involved with their special occasion!

I've got more videos from today on Facebook. Pictures will come as soon as my adaptor and I find each other again.


Jenn said...

so now your legally married in both USA and Korea or was Korea like renewing your wedding vows?

I thought this was your sisters wedding day... ??? I guess I am confused. Silly American I am.

Kathy said...

I love the outfits. Very colorful.