Transitions commence new adventures. Make 'em last…
It’s Christmas Day and I had the pleasure of attending the wedding of one of my Korean colleagues. It was great delight, although it surprisingly felt like the wedding was over before it even started.
David and I arrived to the chamber hall and were immediately directed to a reception counter where everyone was gathered stuffing money into envelopes. We gave our regards to the groom and then stood in line. I was dubious about how much to give as I noticed everyone opening their wallets dishing out seemingly ambiguous wads of cash, so I furtively peeked over the counter and saw a long list of names with money amounts written next to them. The majority of guests appeared to have given 30,000 won ($30), which I later ascertained was the minimum in order to enjoy the lunch buffet that was downstairs. I was then handed an envelope with my name on it and I quickly stuffed in 40,000 won. Upon receiving a wedding “ticket” in return, we headed downstairs where the huge, exquisite buffet awaited us. I stalled for a second walking down the stairs and questioned David, “We’re eating lunch now?”
“Yes,” David said rather emphatically.
“But the wedding hasn’t even started yet,” I retorted.
“It’s Korean custom,” David said. So just like that, we headed downstairs and soon devoured a wide-variety of sushi, sashimi, Korean BBQ, seafood soups, desserts, and much more. Soju, beer, and soft drinks were already organized on every table and the thought occurred to me to crack open a beer, but I soon felt that it might be awkward since the wedding ceremony hadn’t even started yet. No matter, I chose a soft drink to complement the sushi. However, I soon realized that every subsequent table had a bottle of soju open, with some tables having already exhausted their soju stash. Wow, I thought. No matter, it’s Korean custom I suppose.
I ate a plate full of tasty Korean/Japanese cuisine and sat for a moment watching everyone at my table get up to grab another fill. “Aren’t you going to eat more?” David questioned.
“Na, I will feel extremely sleepy at the wedding ceremony if I eat any more,” I said.
“The wedding ceremony will be quick. Come on, get some more food,” David said. With a quick nod of my head I followed the herd and splurged on more sushi. We must have spent 20-25 minutes eating lunch and then most of us went upstairs to where the ceremony was currently taking place.
The ceremony, which was very symbolic and beautiful, lasted roughly 15-20 minutes and that was that, the end. It was quick allright; the vows, short speeches, bows to family, and the cutting of the cake all graciously took place in a matter of minutes. Family & close friends then stayed for photos, while the majority said their goodbyes to one another and went on their way. It was kind of like a Vegas wedding in terms of length of time as it was short and sweet. I then recall looking at my watch and realizing that what was once a planned day at the wedding and festivities, immediately cleared up.
Upon exiting the chamber hall, I noticed a new wedding party gearing up to begin entering. I soon discovered that it’s rather normal in Korea to have several large weddings at the same location right after another on the same day. This tripped me out for a moment, but I quickly smiled while pondering the wonderful wedding that had just taken place and realizing that I then had a free day of adventure in Seoul, woo-hoo!