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Korean wedding help

I am an American woman living in Korea, and I will marry a Korean man in May.  His family loves me and they are great but... this just in:

His father INSISTS that people eat DURING the ceremony, and that he cant have his friends wait; his friends would judge him, and what if one of his friends has to eat quickly and leave?  How could I possibly make them WAIT 20 MINUTES? 

I am shocked that it's totally normal for Korean people to eat while the bride and groom are getting married.  Yes, I TOTALLY understand Korean culture; the parents feel this is THEIR event, and the wedding is  NOT for Seongmin and I, rather it is for the parents and their friends.

I need solutions.  Do I really have to listen to people yammer on their cell phones, and clank plates together at a tacky buffet?  Yes... I guess that is my reality.

Help.  Anyone.

Re: Korean wedding help

  • Are you getting married in Korea and are his parents paying for the wedding? If so, I think it's well within their right to have it go like that, as it is the norm. If you are getting married in America (even if his parents are contributing), I think you are well within your rights to speak up and remind them that in your culture and country this is not how it's done.
  • minko1986minko1986 member
    Sixth Anniversary 100 Comments
    edited November 2012
    I am a Korean, and everything you mentioned is normal in the culture. I can guess that your wedding is a pretty luxurious one from the fact that your father-in-law insists that the guests eat during the ceremony. I believe that is the norm for those kinds of weddings. They know enough to not talk on the phone during the ceremony and they won't make loud noises to eat. However, are you sure that those will be buffet style? Most of thse kinds of weddings are sit-down style, I believe. If it's buffet style, it is usually not in the same hall as the ceremony. It's in a separate hall/cafeteria. I think there is some miscommunication between you and your father-in-law.

    Wedding in Korea isn't a party or something to be enjoyed for the guests. It is something to simply attend. And your father-in-law is correct that guests may need to leave early. Depending on the season, one person may need to attend more than one wedding a day. Remember, they are not there to stay and celebrate with you. They are there because they are simply invited. 

    So why they need to attend a wedding simply because they are invited? There is an unspoken rule about "give and take" for weddings of children of your friends'. What I mean is if your parents gifted 100 to their friend's child's wedding, they are expected to receive the same amount in return for your wedding. And the friends that attend the wedding most often "judge" the parents not you or the couple, but the parents by the food served. So basically yor FIL don't want to hear complaints from his friends or relatives going like "I gifted them x but I only ate a crappy meal or didn't even have a chance to eat." It is just the social norm there. 

    I am sure you are exposed to the culture there, but I highly encourage you to talk to someone to learn about the meaning of marriage within the Korean culture. It is somewhat different than typical American understanding. It is more family oriented, and many things are about the family honor. You may not be comfortable with it, but unfortunately that's the social norm and custom. Hope this helped and good luck!
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