Oh yeah... I'm getting married...

It's easy for me to forget that I'm getting married in a few months. I'm not really in charge of too much. Actually, I'm not really sure who is in charge, so we'll be lucky if this thing happens at all! Kenny and I decided to have our ceremony here in Korea for a bunch of different reasons, many of which I can't remember right now. I went to a wedding yesterday, the third I've attended here in Korea, and like every other time my response was the same: "I don't want that. Not any of it." 

In Korea, weddings are not sacred ceremonies, the public witness of the bonding of two souls, and all that mushy crap. Weddings are a place to see and be seen. And to eat. When you arrive at a Korean wedding, you should have an envelope full of cash. When you give this envelope to the money-taking person, they will give you a ticket. This ticket is a food ticket and guarantees you a buffet lunch or dinner, depending on when the wedding is being held. And if you don't feel like going to the ceremony, no big deal. Just get in line for the food. I mean, you gave your money already, right? You did your part. (This is why the cost for the wedding is almost always recovered at the wedding itself. There's no registering for gifts or anything like that- people just bring you money, and lots of it.)
For those kind people who actually care or even know the bride and groom, they can watch the ceremony. I say watch because they won't be able to hear it. Yesterday Kenny's dad was officiating at this wedding and he asked the attending guests to be quiet three times, to no avail. It was so noisy that we weren't sure when it was over, and neither were the bride and groom. People let their cell phones ring, some people answered their cell phones, some people shouted into their cell phones while standing up and waving wildly at the person who couldn't find them in the crowded wedding hall. Old friends caught up, families chatted as if they were at the park, and the kids ran wild. It was chaos. And I was glad when it was over.

My dream wedding is a tiny affair in a church where no one talks during my ceremony and no one gets up to leave or to go eat. (This is, of course, a new dream. Because I didn't really have a wedding dream before a wedding was a reality. And now I want weird things that normal girls in the western world take for granted as a given!) I want my ceremony to be intimate and meaningful for me and Kenny and also for those who attend. We're going to try to make the ceremony a really serious affair so that people won't be tempted to talk or call their great-aunt and talk about the weather. There are no bridesmaids or groomsmen and there's no rehearsal (because the place where your wedding will take place is usually a wedding hall with weddings booked at all hours, so you can't rehearse there). We have to feed everyone. I'm adjusting to this whole Korean focus. In a western wedding what the bride wants is what happens. We have entire channels of TV dedicated to brides and their whims and their temper tantrums and their over-the-top dream weddings. But here, it's all about the guests. Your guests should be comfortable and should be entertained and most of all, should be well-fed, because, frankly, they paid for it. 
And to tell you the truth, I don't really think my wedding is going to be the best day of my life. And I'm not sure I'd like to bill it as such, either. It's going to be a good one, hopefully, but it's only a beginning. Kenny keeps saying we shouldn't have our best day on the first day of our marriage- what will we have to look forward to? He's so funny. But in so many ways, he's right. I didn't have a huge wedding dream, things I decided when I was seven years old I couldn't live without. And although I'm not too keen on a lot of the things that take place during a Korean wedding, what really matters is that I'm marrying this man. We're writing our own vows (God help us all, who knows what's going to come of that!) and we're also washing each other's feet before we exchange rings and say "I do." I love the idea of starting our marriage off by serving each other in that way. So we're still having the wedding that we want, in small ways. I'm dancing up the aisle to a Tom Petty song (the chorus of "Here Comes My Girl") and I'm not wearing shoes. (Although what I will be wearing is still up in the air.) Kenny claims that his only demand is that he be allowed to wear a bow tie. Anyway, I guess I might want to start thinking about a few things. Like booking my parents' flight tickets.... or worrying about a wedding dress.... or... no, that's about it. I guess it's not real to me yet. And I'm still just thinking it's really cool I'm getting married 3 months after my sister does. Isn't it cool how things work out? 
Okay, February 21st, here I come. Relatively calm and worry-free. 

But I swear if some ajumma starts running her yap during my service, I'm gonna whip around and offend an entire people group! Lord help us all...


  1. Meaningful post, especially for someone in the same boat. I went to a wedding in Korea which was exactly the same as that which you describe. The wedding Ahreum and I are planning will, invariably, be cut from the same mould.

    I worried about this quite a bit. And I ruminated about what my parents would think coming. Honestly, I still do. I've found some consolations anyway. Actually, the fact that guests behave like this deflates any desire of mine to have my wedding in any particular way at all. After my initial trepidation, I now feel a sense of stoic calm regarding all plans for the event.

    Anyway, knowing you feel the same worries about yours makes a huge difference.
    Best, Ben

  2. PS. My stoic calm goes right out the window if this happens.


    Watch at your own risk.

  3. So, I had a family-only ceremony in Golden Gate park in San Francisco. Totally beautiful. Keep the ajummas quiet by having it outdoors.

  4. Kenny is very smart! Yes your wedding shouldn't be the best day, there will be many more to come. congrats again. I hope there are no ajummas breaking the silence.

  5. It's really a shame I won't be there, because even though you're not having real bridesmaids, I'd totally be like a "head bridesmaid" and keep people in line. Those Koreans would be better behaved than they've ever been at a wedding because they'd be too scared to act out when I gave them "the look." The looj that says "I swear to whatever you believe in that if you don't sit down, be quiet and be still that you'll regret ever coming in here in the first place.. also, no food for you, and you don't get your money back!"

  6. Well, as someone with
    wedding-hall wedding experience, I have to give my 2 cents. And that is just to say that I've actually been married three times (to the same guy, thank you very much).
    1st in the American embassy in Seoul (signed some papers and voila! instant husband and wife). It was just as I had always dreamed--I was in jeans and there was no fanfare. Then I got married (really just a blessing by a pastor) in the U.S. in a very small ceremony. It was fine--pretty much what I'd always dreamed of making myself do to satisfy my parents/relatives who wouldn't appreciate my low-tech jean paper-signing affair. The third wedding was a wedding hall wedding in Korea. This was what I'd dreamed of only in nightmares. But you know what? It turned out to be one of the most fantastic events of my life. It was SO MUCH fun. I loved the brevity and relaxed air of it all. So nice not to have a stuffy, stiff audience staring and making me nervous as hell. This wedding was all about the audience afterall, because my guy and I'd been married a long time ago (in our hearts and minds). This was purely for show. When we walked out they shot streamers & confetti at us. It was celebratory and happy--not somber and serious. I loved it all. I hope you love yours too! Just try to relax. The more you try to control every detail, the more stressed and upset you'll likely find yourself. And who wants to be stressed and upset when they're marrying the man of their dreams?!

    Woo. That was kind of long. Did I say 2 cents? Ok, more like 5...or 10. Whatevs. Take it or leave it. :)


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