Getting Married in South Korea – The True Picture
I recently read this post on Reuters about Getting Married in South Korea? Bring a lot of cash! and there are the few things one can learn about the lifestyle and living standards of Koreans and get some insight if you are planning to get married in Korea.
As per the article – More and More Koreans locked in Debt Cycle (Chosun llbo) – Many young couples have taken out loans to pay for their weddings and cover their jeonse or Korean-style lease deposits. They are taking out loans twice the size of their assets in the early stage of their married lives. It is nearly impossible to get married these days without getting into debt unless parents pitch in.
Another article – Wedding Costs exceeds W200 Million – say that heightened expectations, the desire to be ostentatious and the indulgence of doting parents all lead to this trend of expensive weddings. The surge in wedding expenses were related to rising real estate prices.
- In South Korea a couple wanting to get married needs lots of money, nearly $200,000 – more than four times their average annual income. (Average annual household income in South Korea is around 48.3 million Korean Won – $48,000 annually).
- Korean society is very tightly knit, and people here are very concerned about how others view them. The wedding works as a status symbol, like a marker of where you stand in the society
- Korean couples take out loans or borrow money from their parents for a wedding
- Gift-giving and housing contribute towards the majority of the wedding expenses in Korea
- Other expenses could be towards wedding photography, honeymoon, wedding invites and selecting venue for the wedding
To know more about Korean Wedding read the book – Getting Married in Korea by Laurel Kendall. Kendall attended her first Korean wedding in 1970, soon after she arrived in the country with the Peace Corps. Years later, as a seasoned anthropologist, she began interviewing both working-class and middle-class couples, matchmakers, purveyors of dowry goods, and proprietors of wedding halls. She consulted etiquette handbooks and women’s magazines and analyzed cartoons, photographs, and weddings themselves. The result is an engaging account of how marriage matches are made, how families proceed through the rites, how they finance ceremonies and elaborate exchanges of ritual goods, and how these practices are integral to the construction of adult identities and notions of ideal women and men. The book is also a reflection on what it means to write “Korea” in a complex and ever changing social milieu.