Wednesday, October 13, 2010

SangKwun and ChunPing's Korean Wedding

I thought before we leave that I should get the Korean wedding post out. So here it is... I'm not including as many pictures, since most of them were on the slide show Mark put together here. But I want to tell SangKwun and ChunPing's Korean wedding story and follow up with a China one when we return.

ChunPing and SangKwun left at noon to get wedding makeup and hair done. They weren't due to arrive at the hotel until 4pm, so you counted correctly. That was 4 hours of makeup and hair.

Meanwhile, at our apartment, Mark and I got to spend some time with Birth Father and my aunt, uncle and cousin. We ate a snack and Birth Father took everyone's blood pressure. Probably not a bad idea prior to a big event like a wedding. Only better would've been if we could've taken the bride and groom's blood pressure! I wish I had gotten a picture of that, but my camera battery was charging.

Then my aunt and cousin braided my hair and helped me put on my hanbok. It's actually pretty complicated with a bunch of layers and special bows/knots.

One thing I've definitely gotten used to in Korea is the lack of modesty around people of the same sex. I've been to the saunas here and people strut their stuff in the women's area of the locker room without a second thought. (Mark tells me it's the same on the men's side.) One of the girls I worked with last year was a Korean American and married a Korean man. Upon first meeting her future mother-in-law, they went to a sauna and her future mother-in-law insisted on scrubbing each other's backs as it would make them closer.

So when my aunt and cousin took me into a bedroom and told me to strip, I just went with it.


After I was dressed, we went to the hotel. The wedding didn't start until 6:30, but ChunPing was already sitting on a little chaise for pictures. She sat on this chaise for nearly 2 hours while the rest of us posed for pictures around her.

Most of the shots were pretty formal and serious, but I got one fun one with the bride.


At the wedding, I also had the opportunity to meet a few more family members. This is Birth Father's oldest brother and his wife. When they met me, they both said that I look exactly my grandmother. Interesting.


Also, I sort of introduced him before, but my half-brother also came to the wedding. Since I posted the picture of him here, I've gotten more information. I originally thought he was my step-brother but have since found out he is actually my half-brother. His mom was my birth father's second wife. He is 22 and currently serving his required time in the Korean military.

This isn't really the best picture of him, but here's a shot of the two of us chatting.


Then the wedding finally started and it was basically the same as an American wedding with a lot more bowing. The bride and groom bow to each other and then to each set of parents.

After the ceremony, the guests eat and the bride and groom go from table to table bowing and thanking their guests for coming, then to a separate room for a Korean ceremony.

Guests don't RSVP to Korean weddings, so you never know how many people will show up. This wedding had a case of about 20 extra people coming and not enough seats in the banquet room. In this case, the extra guests are given meal vouchers to eat at the hotel's other restaurants. So Mark and I went with a few of our friends that were invited to the hotel's Japanese restaurant.

It's ended up being... sushi. Again. It was okay for me, though the sushi lovers thought it was great. I liked the fried tempura and fruit that came with it. Oh, and the beer!


Here are Mark and I rocking our hanboks at dinner.


Afterwards, we went to the Korean ceremony where there are all sorts of traditions like the bride and groom pouring various family members drinks and receiving money from said family members.

This is a cool tradition where the parents throw jujubees into the cape and the number that the bride and groom catch signify the number of children they'll have. I think they caught 4 or 5.


Mark and I had a part of this as well. As the younger sister, we sat with the couple. Emily fed me some food, SangKwun and Mark had a drink together, and we wished them luck in their marriage.


After that, the wedding was officially over. Not so much fun for the bride and groom -- they didn't even get to eat dinner!

But afterwards, all the friends and siblings went out to a bar for the after party. And apparently, that is also when the real party begins. :)

Apparently, it's part of Korean culture to for the friends to make the bride and groom do all sorts of things at the wedding after-party.

It started out with making them sing... loudly... in the middle of a bar and escalated from there.

Next was the passing of the raw egg yolk. They put an egg yolk into the bottom of the glass, then filled the glass with beer. SangKwun had to chug the beer, then put the egg yolk in his mouth and pass it from his mouth to ChunPing's mouth. Then ChunPing had to pass it back to his mouth without breaking it. Anyone who knows how I feel about cooked eggs can probably guess how I felt about this game... good thing it wasn't me getting married. :/


Then, came the worst part of all. Everyone at the table could put money into a cup, and then could put whatever they could find at the table into a bowl. So this bowl had soju, beer, pickle juice, kimchi jiggae, mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, and who knows what else... Actually SangKwun's friends were pretty nice and only put food in there. I've seen other groups where people added cigarette ashes, hair, and even spit in the bowl. Gag...


They, they strained the mixture through ChunPing's tights.


And SangKwun had to chug a glass of it. Which he started to do... then promptly ran into the girls bathroom to throw it up. Haha.


Aren't all of you glad that you got married in America now!?!? No solo songs, raw eggs, or mystery drinks. :)

Anyway, it was a fun night and I'm so glad I was here to experience it. Congratulations SangKwun and ChunPing! Here's to many, many years of happiness (and to never having to drink a mystery drink again)!!!!!


Julia said...

This is so awesome!!!

I love the shots of you and Mark and of course the one of the bride and your cute faces. You are so stinking cute, Kim!

Jen said...

I love to see how our traditions are so diff! You both look great...well, Kim YOU look great, Mark, you look hilarious :) The raw egg thing totally makes me cringe!

How long did this whole event last?! Sounds like an amazing expereience!

kaypasa2001 said...

I'm confused. Isn't Emily mad that SangKwun married somebody else? Who's ChunPing? What's going on??? :-)

Maggie said...

oh my gosh kim. talk about some interesting traditions! you look fab in your wedding gear!