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Why are Korean Weddings changing?
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승인 2017.10.10  16:55:12
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▲ Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Mr. Kim, who works as a government official, got married with Mrs. Jeong at a wedding hall that costs about 20 million won. Not only that, but they spent about six million won on wedding gifts, seven million won for new furniture and home appliances, and three million won for a studio photo shoot, dress and makeup.

This means that in total they spent about 45 million won to prepare for the wedding, including a honeymoon to Hawaii that cost five million won.

Since they don’t have their own house, it doesn’t seem right to spend all that money. Rather, they thought that it would have been better to save money and use it for their future, such as when they have a baby.

How much money do Korean people spend on their wedding

The Korea Consumer Agency conducted a survey on the perception of marriage culture and the cost of a wedding. They surveyed 2,000 married and unmarried men and women in their 20s and 30s. This survey found that the average cost of a wedding was 45.9 million won per person.

In more detail, the cost of buying new furnitures and home appliances is about 32.6% of total expenses, which is 14.6 million won. The cost of the wedding ceremony, wedding hall and wedding gifts is 18 to 19%, which was an average cost of 8.2 to 8.7 million won.

From the survey, 94.6% of the respondents believed that there was still a problem with the wedding culture in Korea and the main problem is to overspend on new furnitures and home appliances for the new house and wedding gifts.

What married couples says about the wedding

Mrs. Lee received a six million won luxury bag, a four million won watch, and five million won diamond jewelry set as wedding gifts from her groom. And also, her groom spent 45 million won to host 600 people at the wedding hall, 10 million won for the honeymoon, and 450 million won for key money for their house.

In response to his expenses, Mrs. Lee had to spend all of the money she had saved over five years. She spent 18 million won to buy new furnitures and home appliances and 50 million won on wedding gifts for the groom’s family members.

Korean new trend of Small Wedding

There is a new trend of wedding, called a small wedding, which is quite different from the traditional one. Couples prepare their wedding as they want. And also the wedding takes place in different locations, such as a park, restaurant, cafe or church. Depending on your preference, you may also have a wedding as a music concert.

▲ Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

In order to save money, they don’t use the studio package, which includes the dress and makeup. Rather, they use a tripod to take pictures at the place where they prefer and borrow a dress for a reasonable price and do their own makeup.

Another main reason why couples have a small wedding is to have a meaningful and unforgettable wedding for themselves. Their guests celebrate their marriage in a relaxed atmosphere and enjoy the meal without rush.

Obstacles to having a small wedding

It is not easy for older generations to understand small weddings. The reason why they oppose their children's small weddings is because other people’s opinions and money. When their children only invite close family and friends, they as parents are worried about how the uninvited people will feel and how they will look at the wedding.

In addition, they have attended other weddings so far and spent a lot of time and money, so inviting a small amount of people means that they lose the chance to get money back from their children’s wedding.

Mr. Yang from an older generation says, "The main reason why we have a wedding is to introduce couples to as many close and distant family members and friends as possible. If our wedding is small and not many people come to the wedding, then what’s the point of the wedding?”

The older generation looks at the wedding as a family event rather than a ceremony between two people.

But the younger generation is trying to make their own wedding and it seems that it’s not easy to compromise between the two generations.

ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (
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