Sunday, February 18, 2007

Our First Korean Wedding

Last weekend we had the honor of accompanying the lovely Kelly to her friend's wedding. It was held at the President Hotel in Seoul, which is a pretty swanky place from what I saw. Most weddings here are "Westernized" now and this was no exception but there were a few interesting differences that I noted. First of all, when we arrived the first person we saw was the bride herself, dressed in matrimonial glory, displayed in a tiny room (which sort of reminded me of a cage), greeting the guests. She looked gorgeous and very sparkley. Unfortunately because I couldn't decide what to wear we got there just before the ceremony and had to stand. I couldn't get any decent pictures as a result but I took a couple bad ones anyway.

Some differences: Korean weddings are short. The wedding started at 12:30pm and everything was completely finished by 3pm (well this is when we left and we had lingered at the buffet much longer than anyone else- the people sitting by us had left long before and had been replaced by new people, to give you an idea). I liked that it wasn't a big drawn out affair that consumed your entire weekend (between ceremony, dinner, reception, dance and gift opening). A couple quirky things happened that made me giggle a bit- the smoke/fog machine that started up when the bride came in and when the newly wed couple left and when the groom took off his shoe and hobbled around the room collecting money in it. After the ceremony the couple changed into traditional hanboks and went around greeting everyone as they dined on the fabulous buffet. There were so many delicious foods and we spent a ridiculously long time eating. Some of my personal favorites were the chili shrimp, lobster soup, tuna sashimi, and cinnamon punch.

After we finished up at the wedding we decided to go to Myeong-dong so Kelly could search for Stash tea (which I brought with me from Canada and now she loves it too). Unfortunately the internet lied to her and the store where it was supposed to be sold (it's tough to find in Korea, apparently) did not carry it. It was a really awesome store though and I am definitely taking Steph and Alison there when they come to visit. It had the cutest clothes and at the cheapest prices I've seen in actual stores here (as opposed to buying something off the street or in the subway). So you get that added perk of being able to try things on.

We also stopped by the Myeong-dong Cathedral which seems to be currently under construction. We went inside and crashed someone else's wedding and I took a few pictures of the beautiful architecture. Kelly informed us that this is the oldest Catholic church in Seoul.

When we were finished shopping (this is where I found my watch), collecting free samples (Kelly is truly a girl after my own heart), exploring and crashing weddings we went and had coffee. We also got to meet one of Kelly's friends (and Elly's too since she used to work at Little Brown back in the day). Now here is a cute little story. Kelly was telling us all about her friend, Kate and then her friend shows up, shakes our hands and says, "Hi, I'm Stacey". You should have seen the look of surprise on Kelly's face. Changing your English name is a pretty common occurrence (Kelly has also gone by Sun and Prajna in the past) and obviously Koreans call each other by their Korean names so it's not surprising she didn't know that Stacey had changed hers. Nonetheless, it was pretty amusing. Stacey was really nice and we swapped numbers and hopefully we can meet up with her again sometime soon. She likes norae bang!

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