My son and his beautiful Korean bride in traditional dress on their wedding day
We recently attended a very special wedding in South Korea where our son married his beautiful Korean bride. As the mother of the groom, what an honour it was to wear the traditional national dress of Korea – the hanbok – during the wedding ceremony, alongside the mother of the bride.
I went shopping for the hanbok with my daughter-in-law and her mother and sister to carefully choose the colours I would wear. Colours chosen for a wedding hanbok are traditionally vibrant and often incorporate the five elements of Ying and Yang – white (metal) red (fire) blue (wood) black (water) and yellow (earth). It is possible to rent a hanbok for all occasions but mine was made to measure.
I wore the dress with bloomer style underpants, a net underskirt, traditional socks and shoes and a matching handbag. The voluminous dress (the chima) was topped with a neatly fitted jacket (the jeogori) which was decorated with ornamental pins and accessories. I’m told the original garment design represents softness and elegance and comfort and was established during the Goguryeo Kingdom (37 BCE – 668 CE) and has remained relatively unchanged to this day.
On the day, we had hair and makeup done and posed for family photos.
It was a fabulous day shared with family and friends. The formal ceremony was conducted in the Korean language and during this time there was lots of bowing to show respect. Our son, who teaches English and has lived in Korea for over six years now, said his marriage vows in Korean. Although he wore a western-style suit for the ceremony, and his beautiful bride wore a white wedding dress, they both wore traditional Korean clothes at their wedding reception and during the Korean tea pouring ceremony.
With the formalities over, there was singing, a fabulous meal, and an after-party at the family home during which our son had his feet beaten in a very strange and traditional Korean apres-wedding ritual!
Beating the groom’s feet – and the beaters are rewarded with a drink by the bride’s mother!
Beating the groom’s feet! His groomsmen and family members took great delight in binding his ankles with rope and removing his socks so they could take it in turns to beat his feet with a stick! Traditionally, the beating of feet ritual is meant as a test of the newly wedded husband’s strength and character and it used to be done with a dried fish! I have to say that it was all done with great amusement and laughter (including our son’s).
Have you ever worn a traditional costume to a wedding?
Have you ever encountered a strange wedding ritual?
I’d love to hear from you!