Why suffer such tangled wedding webs?Q. What is the first thing Korean newlyweds do on their wedding night?
A. So that he can get to the real fun of their first night as husband and wife, the groom, armed with a shower nozzle and a bottle of conditioner, helps the bride unravel the web of hair extensions, braids, about 1,000 bobby pins and the thick coating of hair spray that were used to make her coif look just right for the wedding.
It’s easy to spot newlyweds at Incheon International Airport before they board their flights to their honeymoon destinations. Often, they are wearing matching T-shirts.
But the brides invariably wear unbelievably thick makeup and hairdos that look like elaborate sculpture, which seem out of sync with their casual attire.
In true ppalli ppalli (“hurry up”) Korean style, most couples want to get to the honeymoon as soon as the wedding is over, and they book their flights accordingly. But a lot of brides come to regret that decision.
“I had no choice but to board the flight to Guam with my makeup on and my hair all done up,” says Choi Seo-yun, a lecturer at a private institute who wed in May. “There just wasn’t enough time. I felt so weird and uncomfortable sitting on the plane with all those pins stuck in my head.”
Of course, Ms. Choi was not alone. “I could not help comparing the makeup and hairstyles of the other brides I saw at the airport,” she says.
Some women choose not to stay uncomfortable during the flight. “After I thanked the guests for attending my wedding, I went to the restroom and got those bobby pins out,” said Kim Kkot-sil, who wed two years ago in Seoul.
She lost some hair plucking the pins out of their hair-spray casing without conditioner or water to make it easier, but Ms. Kim says she was happy to give up a few locks to gain some comfort.
Those who don’t want to risk such premature hair loss can fork over about 10,000 won ($8.50) to a beauty salon to have the job done by a professional.
There is even a salon at the Incheon airport that specializes in letting brides’ hair down.
Not all new brides can be picked out so easily at the airport. Some couples opt to trade one day of sun and sand for a more comfortable, leisurely trip. Yu Jae-gyu spent her wedding night in Seoul, then flew with her groom to Bintan, Indonesia, the next day.
by Koh Han-sun