Tie the Knot Outside InsteadIf you would like to have an unusual wedding ceremony, think about a traditional outdoor Korean wedding. In the open you can enjoy beautiful scenery, crystal-clear blue skies, colorful leaves and food served in comfort.
"For foreigners, it's refreshing to experience cultural differences by taking part in this sort of event," said Chong Jong-soo, chief folk researcher at the National Folk Museum. "And there is no rush, or ppalippali as it is often called among Koreans, as in many wedding halls."
Usually the ceremony starts at around 3 p.m., a time considered optimum by ancient Koreans, and continues for a couple of hours.
"As time passes, the solemn ceremony, rich in traditional formalities, turns into an exciting party full of the laughter of the guests," Mr. Chong said. "It's a lot of fun."
The Korean traditional ceremony consists of four parts: the "ewheehon," the negotiation of the marriage; the "nabcheh," the determination of the wedding date; the "nabpheh," the presentation of gifts; and the "chinyoung," the actual performance of the wedding ceremony.
"These days, however, young people usually only follow the chinyoung part because the other parts involve drawn-out procedures," Jong-soo said.
Naksungdae Park, Yangchon Hyanggyo, Myungryundang and Piwon (the Secret Garden) are popular Seoul city venues for the outdoor weddings.
Mixed or non-Korean couples are increasingly interested in hosting traditional weddings in these scenic surroundings, according to An Joon-hyung, director of the Korea Wedding Culture Welfare Association.
"Foreigners want to see traditional ceremonies, and seek a convenient location easily accessible by public transport. I think these places meet those needs," said Issac Durst, an American who married a Korean woman at a traditional wedding venue seven years ago.
Total expenses come to between 800,000 won and 1,500,000 won, depending on the type of service. Special extras － such as a sedan chair borne by four men or special make up － are charged separately, according to the Korea Wedding Study Society.
For more information call the following wedding venues: Secret Garden, tel. 02-765-4021; the Korea Wedding Culture Welfare Association (English service available) tel. 02- 826-6141; the Korea Wedding Study Society (English service available) tel. (02) 585 5338.
by Kim Jae-seon