Wednesday, 21 December 2011

A Guy's Perspective ... Getting Married the Korean Way!


At last the final chapter of the story of Jon and Soh-ee's Korean and South African weddings ... I am truly thankful to Jon for sharing his weddings with us and for taking the time to write these instalments.

Wedding Two: South Africa 

After the dust from the Korean wedding had settled, we headed over to South Africa for the sequel. The wedding took place in April, a beautiful time of year in South Africa. It was a lovely, warm day with blue skies; perfect for an outdoor wedding! 

The venue for the wedding was an Italian Restaurant a stone’s throw from the beach, with its own private entrance onto the beach. The restaurant’s owners, who I’ve known since high school (when I used to make pizzas for them) have created a beautiful Italian style garden behind the restaurant. Standing on the balcony of the restaurant you not only have a stunning view of the garden, but you also have the most splendid sea view. It’s not uncommon to see dolphins or whales swimming by. 

Since the first wedding was done in typical Korean style, we decided to follow western traditions for the second. Soh-ee spent the night before the wedding at my sister’s and I spent the evening with Steven, my best friend who I hadn’t seen since moving to Korea. He had made the trip down to the coast from Johannesburg to be my best man.  


A friend of mine, who owns her own hair studio, kindly offered to do Soh-ee’s hair that Sunday morning. The photographers met them at the hair studio, which was seventh-heaven for Soh-ee. It doesn’t get any better than being pampered and having your photos taken at the same time! 

I welcomed family and friends as they arrived in the garden where the rows of chairs were facing the sea and a flowered arch we’d be getting married under stood. Rose petals were strewn down the aisle. The sound of the waves was relaxing. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Before long the guests were all seated and Steven and I were standing before the arch, waiting. The photographers arrived with a flurry of activity and the next thing Soh-ee made her entrance. That for me was the single best part of the entire wedding. I was definitely robbed of something in the Korean wedding when I had to help choose the wedding dress. At that wedding I knew what she’d look like, watched her get made up, and drove to the wedding with her. At the South African wedding I had no idea what she’d look like. I didn’t know until then how special that one moment could be. 

Since none of Soh-ee’s family could make it to South African for the wedding, my grandfather offered to give her away. He looked very dapper in his suit; a real gentleman. They made their way to the front and I shook hands with my grandfather. I looked at Soh-ee and realized again just how lucky I am. She looked absolutely gorgeous. She’d tanned before we left for South Africa (something most Koreans are against) and the contrast between her skin and the white dress was amazing. 

The sermon was lovely, and before everyone knew it we were married, again. The next hour and a half were spent taking photos in the garden and on the beach. Some of the beach photos were actually really fun. Finally we made our way up to the restaurant where the guests were enjoying a few drinks. 

The meal was delicious! I’d been looking forward to the lamb shanks for months (literally, since 80% of the meat I eat in Korea is either pork or chicken) and it didn’t disappoint. I ate until I felt like there was no way I could possibly eat any more, then I ate a little more, and finally I stopped. 

Soh-ee really liked the fact that all the guests, including the two of us, got to eat together. She also liked the more personal touches like the speeches, the place setting, specifically chosen for each guest, and the little gifts for each guest. While all of those are common place at western style weddings, she had only ever seen hints of it in American movies. Throwing the garter was a first for her and we had to explain what it was all about. 

So finally we could relax. Each wedding was unique, and both were perfect. No one had fought, argued or even disagreed with anyone over anything. Everyone happily did their bit to make both days as special as they were. Soh-ee and I spoke about both weddings a lot over the course of the next few months, and even today the only thing we would change would be to have her family at the South African wedding. 

I so wished I could have shared these two very special days with Jon ... and I have to admit am a little  jealous too ;0) ... Thanks again to Jon and Soh-ee for sharing your special story!

Until next time ...

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