A Foreigner’s Guide To Korean Wedding

Korean Wedding

I’ve been in Korea for a year and a half and I’ve attended two weddings so far. Aside from working on my blog, I try to socialize to learn the language. It was my classmate in the multicultural center’s wedding and I was very excited. I have watched a lot of k-dramas and I expected to see the same thing.  I might look different because I am a foreigner but I didn’t want to draw attention by wearing the wrong clothes so I asked my husband what to wear.

My husband told me to wear simple clothes. He told me to wear the same clothes that I wear in the multicultural center. I said, “What? That doesn’t look right. I don’t want to look like I did not put an effort.” He said that it is okay because people do not wear formal clothes. So I tried two clothes and asked about his opinion.

I personally like the blue dress because it looks cute. My husband said this is too much. That means that I would have been overdressed if I have chosen this.
Blouse and Skirt
The blouse paired with the black skirt is something that I normally wear in my previous company. I felt like I would be under-dressed. I couldn’t come up with a decision so I tried to ask my friends. My friends are foreigners also and they chose the blue dress. I still felt like I had to know more so I researched about guest dresses for a wedding online and it turned out that my husband was right. Some Korean guest were even wearing jeans! Korean drama is indeed different from real life. I chose the blouse and skirt for the wedding. Upon arriving in the wedding hall, I was thankful and relieved that I have researched first before going.
Aside from making sure your outfit belongs to the occasion, I have listed some of the things that you must keep in mind before going to the wedding.


Korean Wedding Guest Tips


Bring Money As Gift

It is common for people around the world to give gifts to congratulate the couple on their wedding day. In Korea, the most common gift is money. As a matter of fact, I haven’t seen any other gifts aside from it in the weddings that I have attended. It is their belief that giving money is their way of helping the couple with their expenses.  When a friend gets married and you give money, that friend will take note and will also give money when you have a celebration.
Before going to the wedding hall, prepare your money and put it in the white envelope. Make sure to buy the plain white one. I almost made a mistake on this because there are white envelopes with Chinese characters at the back. That is an envelope for a wake. Write your name at the back of the envelope and give it to the person sitting in front of the reception. Normally, they also provide envelope and ball pen to write your name but I would prefer to do it at home where nobody is looking at how thick my cash is.
You might be wondering how much you should give. If you have friends attending the same wedding, ask them secretly how much they will give. There is really no limit on this but it is good to know your range. Normally, the amount depends on your profession and how close you are to the couple.


Arrive Early

If you are planning to have pictures together with the bride or groom, you have to go to the venue earlier because getting a decent picture is slim when the event has already started. Koreans are also very sensitive about time and they start on the dot. You also don’t want to be the center of attraction if you arrive late. There are also photo shoots in the center during and after the wedding but if you are shy, it would be best to take a picture before the event. The bride normally has a dressing room where her family and friends can take a picture together.


Korean Weddings Are Short

Don’t linger for a long time in the wedding hall. The ceremony is really short. It will not take an hour. After that, you just have to eat and voila! you can go home. Compared to western weddings where there are other things like dancing, drinking, and other activities, you will feel that Korean wedding is a breeze.

As a rookie in Korea, I am by no means an expert on this matter. If you feel like you need to correct me or add something, please let me know in the comments.
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A foreigner's guide to korean wedding. Aside from making sure your outfit belongs to the occasion, I have listed some of the things that you must keep in mind before going to the wedding.

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17 Responses

  1. Kate Andrews says:

    Some of these tips I found really fascinating. I love learning about different cultures and their beautiful traditions!

  2. I used to be a wedding planner in the US. It is so interesting how different countries celebrate such an amazing event!

  3. Ada says:

    Funny enough, I have heard about the bringing money thing before. I love learning more about how different cultures do weddings.

  4. Garf says:

    This is interesting. Love learning other cultures wedding ideas.

  5. Love that they are short and money of course! Also, awesome that you are learning that language too!

  6. Tiffany says:

    I had no idea that jeans would be acceptable at a Korean wedding. Good tips and thank you for sharing.

  7. Athena says:

    Clearly much less expensive than western weddings. I like the idea of just get married, eat and move on…

  8. Becca Talbot says:

    As a travel bloggers, I love finding out about other cultures and their rituals. This was a very interesting article 🙂 x

  9. Kristen says:

    You have some great first hand knowledge about the South Korean culture. I look forward to learning more through your blog!

  10. Mommy B says:

    Thanks for sharing these tips. Seems like they really value their time by starting on time and making the ceremony short. Money as gift is also a tradition here in the Philippines.

  11. Danielle says:

    I had no idea about these facts!

  12. Gina says:

    It’s always wonderful learning about other cultures and customs. Wonderful insights!

  13. Natalie says:

    So interesting learning about Korean weddings and the contrast with how they are celebrated in North America. I like the idea of a shorter wedding haha.

  14. tara pittman says:

    So much different than a USA wedding. I was surprised at how the bride is fancy dressed but not anyone else.

  15. It is the same here, we also bring money to the married couple, we call it “angpao”.

  16. This was so interesting and surprising.

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