We went to our Korean venue today to view two weddings and meet with the staff about the details of our wedding. We were able to view two very different ceremonies: a smaller wedding between an American and a Korean, a Korean actress’ large ceremony. Since it is uncommon to find information about contemporary traditional ceremonies in Korea, I’ve tried to show the main ceremonial moments through both weddings:
The groom’s procession to the bride’s house:
Once he arrives, the groom presents the wild goose to the bride’s family and bows. Wild geese are said to symbolize fidelity and public order.
Then the groom climbs onto the 교자 (kyoja) and the bride is put into the 가마 (kama) for the procession back to the ceremony site. The 가마 is decorated with 노리개 (norigae) which symbolize long life, health, wealth, and protect against evil.
At the ceremony site, the bride and groom face each other. While standing, the bride covers her face. Both the bride and groom are accompained by ‘handlers’ to help them negotiate the cememony rituals and mnoeuvre in their complicated clothing.
Then the bride and groom ritually wash their hands.
The bride then bows two times to the groom while the groom bows once to the bride. This process is repeated again. During the ceremony, a small traditional ensemble plays.
After the bowing, the couple engage in ritual drinking.
Finally, the couple stands together and receives some words of wisdom from the officient.
At the second wedding we attended, they also added in some musical performances at the end.
After pictures, the bride, groom, and their families usually proceed to a private room to perform 폐백 (paebek). Here the bride and groom bow to their families, the bride is welcomed into the groom’s family, and special rituals are done to encourage fertility.