After all the highs and lows, the endless threads of emails and chat logs, international phone calls and the short visits that never seem to be enough, finally, your Korean lady said yes to your “Will you marry me?”. Planning a wedding is challenge enough on its own, and now, you need to plan a wedding halfway around the world, in Korea. Fear not! Here is a simple step by step guide to getting married in Korea.
Step 1: Father’s Approval/Blessing
You may have met your beloved’s family once or twice in one of your many visits to Korea. They may know who you are and that you are dating their daughter. At this point, you should have an idea on how conservative your Korean lady’s family is and this should be your clue as to how to approach her father. Just remember to do your research on how to seek her father’s approval traditionally and plan the meeting with your soon-to-be wife on the best way to do this.
Step 2: Engagement Announcement
Once future father-in-law has given his consent and blessing to the both of you, time to tell your families. If possible, arrange for a meeting (if budget permits), or set up a skype call to allow your parents and hers to meet, even informally, before the wedding.
Step 3: Decide the Wedding type, the Date, and Venue
Since your bride will be coming from a whole different culture, a decision must be made whether you will go with the traditional Korean wedding or the Western type wedding. If you both want to experience both cultural weddings, a suggestion would be to have the traditional Korean wedding in Korea, and once she moves home with you to your home country, have your western type wedding then. Best of both worlds. But as for the Korean wedding, be aware that you will have to choose a venue and a date that will be convenient for the majority. Be flexible with the date since some of her family might need special considerations. Remember, everyone’s schedules should be considered so as to ensure that her family feels accommodated thus starting the marriage right.
Step 4: Arrange for Flights and Accommodations
If your immediate family wishes to attend your first wedding in Korea, then flights and accommodations should be arranged. Check with your Korean lady and her family for the best and the most affordable places near the venue and, for convenience, relatively near their home as well. That would make the meetings easier for both families and would encourage a good friendship between families for a start.
Step 5: Plan the Wedding details
Like a western bride, your Korean lady, the bride-to-be, will be the best go-to person for the planning. That is where the details come in like the dress and hanbok (depending on the wedding type decided), the invites, the rings, booking of the venue, catering and all the usual things a wedding requires. That you will need to discuss with your Korean lady if she would prefer planning with her friends or if she would like you to be her planning buddy. Volunteer to plan with her, though, this makes it easier to learn the wedding culture and will impress her family on how involved you are.
Step 6: Acquiring Necessary Legal Documents
In any country, proof of eligibility for marriage is always a requirement to secure a marriage license. What is that, though? It’s a legal document proving that you are not married yet, or if you formerly were, that you are free of obligation from your previous marriage that was either dissolved or divorced. This is secured from your home country’s embassy in Korea which you will have to have notarized and translated and submitted for registration at a local office. Each country will have a different process of obtaining this from your respective embassies, so it will be best to research or to visit your nation’s embassy website for particulars and requirements. Once you have the “Affidavit of Eligibility for Marriage” document, you, your girlfriend and two witnesses will have to visit an administrative office for your district to file for the “Report of Marriage” or the Korean marriage license.
Step 7: The Formal Meeting of Families
Once your family has flown in from your home country, you and your lady should arrange for a meeting before the wedding. This allows for both families to be comfortable with each other and to get to know each other as well. That allows for the wedding proper to go smoothly as questions and possible compromises can be made.
Step 8: Get Married
With all the hoops and loops, you and your bride can now finally tie the knot.