Couples often wear traditional attire known as a hanbok that are distinct in their bright colors, with parents and grandparents also wearing these cultural robes.
In modern America, Korean couples sometimes opt for western-style wedding dresses and suits, reserving their hanbok for intimate family ceremonies or portrait sessions. Other Korean wedding traditions have also been adapted to the modern day, giving brides and grooms the option to create a unique celebration that reflects their heritage and contemporary wedding day visions.
Celebrating the union of two families, Korean weddings are filled with ancient customs and family-focused traditions. While humble in their origins, they’ve evolved into large affairs, with several hundred guests not uncommon.
The Tisch was traditionally a pre-wedding moment for the groom to lecture on a reading of the Torah while being heckled and interrupted by his male family and friends. It has evolved into a boisterous male bonding session before the ceremony starts, with a Tisch table laden with food and drinks, and much feasting amidst the singing of Hebrew songs.
An engagement in the Korean community is usually celebrated with a big party where family members are formally introduced. These are often held at restaurants and the bride will wear a traditional hanbok dress. Live entertainment is often a feature, as is classical Korean music and karaoke.
Traditionally, a Korean wedding would have been held at the bride’s family home, with vows exchanged during a traditional ceremony called a Kunbere. Both the bride and groom wear the traditional hanbok, which is usually brightly colored and represents thousands of years of tradition. The bride usually wears a pink or purple hanbok while the groom’s mother traditionally wears a blue hanbok.
A celebrant will officiate at the ceremony, leading the couple through their vow exchange before they seal their marriage by bowing and sipping wine from a gourd gifted by the mother of the bride. Korean wedding ceremonies tend to be quite short, followed by a simple meal or more lavish reception.
Korean wedding banquets were traditionally quite simple, with noodle soup the only dish that was required. Long noodles were served to symbolize a long and happy life, together with a sticky rice cake known as dok. However, in the modern day, Korean wedding receptions tend to be much more lavish affairs, with the parents of the couple inviting as many people as they see fit. It’s not uncommon for banquets to host a few hundred people, with the bride and groom expected to greet each and every one throughout the night.
If you’re attending a Korean wedding, it’s tradition that you bring a white envelope containing money as a gift for the bride and groom. The amount of money is usually determined by your relationship to the couple, with those closer expected to give more. However, not all Korean couples will expect this today and may indicate in their invitation if there’s a registry from which you can select a gift instead.
The Pyebaek is a Korean wedding tradition that’s usually held a few days after the official ceremony and only attended by immediate family members. The newly married bride and groom will visit his family’s home carrying dates and chestnuts that represent her fertility. After being offered to the groom’s parents, they then throw them at the bride as she tries to catch them in her traditional skirt, with it believed that the number she captures corresponds with the number of children she will have.
• Filled with playful rituals and traditional customs, we love capturing all the moments of Korean weddings through engaging and beautiful photographs.
• We understand that each of the traditional Korean elements you select are a reflection of your heritage and feel honored to be a part of this special day.
• Korean wedding banquets are often lavish affairs and we love to capture all the glamorous details that you’ve select so you can remember them for many years to come.
We know that Korean weddings are often attended by hundreds of guests, so we always bring a team of photographers to ensure we can capture each and every moment.
We always have a meeting with our couples before their wedding to ensure we understand each and every element of their Korean wedding, so we can capture it creatively and beautifully.
From the exchange of geese before your wedding to the celebration of your reception banquet, we carefully plan where we need to be and when to document all the emotion of your special day.
We understand that the bride and groom may be changing between Western wedding attire and Korean hanboks throughout the day, so we set aside plenty of time to capture these in a relaxed manner.
• Due to the large scale of most Korean weddings, we highly recommend you hire a wedding planner to take care of all the logistical details. This will ensure your wedding day runs as smoothly and stress-free as possible.
• Decide on which Korean wedding rituals you want to incorporate, then discuss with your wedding planner how to best fuse them with any Western traditions you’d like to include.
• If photography is a high priority for you, schedule in plenty of time in your wedding day schedule so we can capture beautiful couple portraits in all of your outfits.
• In our final meeting, please let us know all of the traditional elements you have decided to incorporate to ensure we are in the right place at the right time to document them.
• If you’re having multiple ceremonies, make sure you clearly indicate to your wedding guests on their invites which ones they are welcome to attend (and if you prefer a monetary gift or not).