Monday, May 22, 2006

Gone to the Chapel

So, this past Saturday my co-worker got married.

By Western standards, Korean weddings are strange. I explained to my other co-worker and boss that a wedding in Canada is oftentimes an all day affair. You know how it goes, ceremony, maybe some time for photos, a reception, drinks, dinner, more drinks and speeches and then dancing. Or variations. Well here, not so much!

Here, oftentimes, weddings are held in these wedding hall places or hotels where they will have a whole slew of weddings one after the other. The meal is the same deal, with the waiters turning over the tables quickly for the guests of the next wedding. And the next. And so on. We were so late getting to the wedding in Suwon a few weeks back, (we completely missed the ceremony) and ended up eating with the guests from the following wedding!

So anyhow, here's a little run down of how it went down early Saturday afternoon. We got to the hall about 25 minutes ahead of time or so and stood around in the big lobby of the wedding place with the guests from another wedding that was taking place at the same time in another room. Eventually the bride showed up, surrounded by people, and was ushered into a small room to the side. There, a photographer took pictures of she and her groom. We snuck into the room and said hello, and I told Judy she looked beautiful. My co-workers wanted to take a picture with the bride, but I ran away. (The photographer was busy concentrating on the bride and groom and I thought it was a little presumptuous to just jump in the shot. No one else was doing that!) The co-workers didn't get their photo taken as they wanted as the photographer wasn't interested in doing it, and took off right after me!

So then people went into the wedding room at about 1:27 and things started. An Emcee stood to the side at a podium with a microphone and an old guy stood at the front of the room on an "altar" like thing. The groom appeared and then the bride and I think the Emcee said some shit and then the old guy said a lot of shit and then they were married. Actually the bride and groom said nothing. The whole thing took about 15 minutes, maybe, and I got some totally awesome photographs...
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of the huge-headed adjummas in front of me.

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Seriously, is she wearing a bloody football helmet under her hair?

The pics are super dark, and I don't remember it being that dark at the ceremony - but maybe it was. Maybe my flash didn't go off. There were intermittent strobe lights, maybe I caught a dark phase. You can kind of see the bride and groom at the altar over Big-Head-Lady.
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Throughout the short ceremony, people chatted away amongst themselves and on their cellphones. A lot of people didn't even sit through the event, even though there were quite a few empty chairs, the back of the room was filled with people standing (and talking.) My boss explained those standing wanted to be the first at the buffet table.

After the ceremony, the bride and groom came down off the altar, bowed to the bride's parents and then to the guests, at which point the Emcee said a bunch of stuff, including suggesting that the groom tell his new wife he loved her. So he screamed at the top of his lungs, "SARANG-HEYO EUN KYUNG!!" a couple of times. Then the Emcee suggested the groom show his bride how strong he is, so the groom picked his bride up and did a few deep knee bends, saying (in Korean, of course) "Hey, look how strong I am! Isn't your husband so strong?"

Ummmm. Yah.

Then the made their way back down the aisle where people were waiting to spray them in the face with fake snow.
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Note that which ever way I pointed my camera in the wedding hall, there was a giant adjumma head in the foreground.

And that, as we say, was that!
Everyone hurried across the street to the buffet restaurant and scarfed down some "ok" food. My co-worker visited the buffet table and got herself three plates of food all at once. (And then went up for a salad and later some coffee.)

I was surprised that we weren't going to see the bride again. They were not going to make an appearance at lunch, as they were busy doing some traditional Korean wedding ceremony things with their families, and taking more pictures. It only occurred to me today that I think I screwed up, as Judy specifically asked me to be in her photograph with all her friends, and said to me at that time "I don't think (the other co-workers) want."
"Why?" I asked.
"Because they're older," she explained.

Which kind of makes sense as to why they wanted to jump in on their own for a photo, and why we rushed right the hell out of there after the ceremony. Now I feel a bit bad, for not getting the details about what Judy wanted to happen. I also feel bad because she told me she was going to throw her bouquet RIGHT AT me, when she tossed it. I saw that bouquet on the table of some late-comers to lunch (as we were leaving.) Arrrrgh!

Also, the ceremony had dry-ice, confetti cannons, fake snow, lasers, strobe lights, super loud night-club music, and explosions of ribbons,....but no bubbles. *Sniff. Judy said there was going to be bubbles! Ah, maybe there was and I missed it. I suspect there was a lot more going on on the other side of those giant adjumma heads.

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