Korean Weddings are another fascinating thing to see here. We've been to two now, and both have been unique experiences. They are such a melding of East meets West, but because both are so removed from their origin when coupled with the opposite the wedding takes on a strange identity of its own.
The first wedding we attended was for a co-teacher. We were advised to show up with money, not with a gift. When you arrive, you give this money to an organizer, who then gives you a meal ticket (literally a ticket that allows you to eat at the wedding). Weddings are typically held in wedding halls, multiple floor buildings that house dozens of weddings a day. The families from the wedding that just happened as well as the wedding that was happening after this one were in the same area.
It turned out that we ate before the wedding even happened. There was a huge buffet with Korean and Western food. There was also closed circuit TVs in the banquet room so you could see when the wedding was going to start. When it started, Beth and I went to get up but no one else at the table did. We followed their lead and remained at the table, and ended up watching the whole thing on TV. This wasn't rude, or even mentioned at the table. From what we could see on the TV, the lighting for the ceremony resembled something you'd see on Star Search or something, disco balls and spotlights following the couple walking. Strange stuff. After the meal we went to see the aftermath, where we were invited to be in the group picture. The whole thing, meal and all, was over in an hour.
This weekend we went to another one. I managed to get a few pictures at this one. The wedding wasn't such a runway production this time, but the thing that struck us was how irreverent everyone was. Everyone in the room was talking, a medium noised chatter filled the room during the entire ceremony. There were huge projection screens on each wall showing the wedding. It felt like everyone was thinking "NEXT." There were other weddings happening that day, move it along.
Beth noticed that the individuality or the uniqueness that Americans try for at their weddings is not part of it here. The room was very beautiful, but it would be the exact same beauty for everyone getting married that day. The flowers in this ceremony were the same as the next were the same as the next. The room didn't change. The only difference might be the songs performed, but even that was probably chosen from a list of 12 songs. Individuality just isn't as important here.
Dinner was ridiculous. Again, we were given a meal ticket in exchange for our monetary gift to the couple. We went up to the 4th floor to see something very similar to a Ryan's Steakhouse. Buffet lines of mediocre food. This place was bigger than any Ryan's though. Visitors from earlier weddings were there, and by the time we left there were new people arriving from another wedding. We barely got to say hello to the bride and groom. After the wedding, they did a costume change into very traditional Korean clothes to thank people and greet them.
The restaurant, much like the wedding, had a Western side and a Korean side. They had self serve beer on tap. Tons of sushi, spaghetti, salad, and Korean noodles. Waffles with whipped cream for dessert.