Wedding Hanbok

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      Unlike the traditional hanbok, the wedding hanbok, also called hollebock has two extra layers of clothing. The garment closest to the body is called the sokchima. It is what we could commonly call a corset, but its particularity is to have a skirt attached to it. At the time, Korean women found it indelicate to take pictures of what could be called underwear, so you will have trouble finding any.

      What is the Hanbok ?

      Hanbok is equally popular in both North and South Korea. In the North, this festive attire is called cheoseonot. The second name hanbok comes from the Korean ruling dynasty of Joseon. Hanbok means "Korean costume.

      The outfit has existed in one form or another among Korean people since ancient times. In the 20th century, the hanbok lost its bulky elements. It was transformed so that the hanbok was more comfortable to wear.

      The noble Koreans in the Middle Ages used European clothes for receptions and formal occasions. Ordinary people preferred the bright colors of the hanbok.

      The Hanbok Wedding Dress

      Over the sokchima comes the chima, a beautiful red dress. It is the skirt of the traditional hanbok. Then comes the jeogori which is the jacket of the hanbok which is added to the outfit and then disappears completely under the 4th garment of the wedding outfit: the wonsam, also called hwalot. This jacket was at the time mainly worn by queens and women from the wealthy class. The wonsam used in the wedding ceremony is a silk jacket with a beautiful red exterior and blue interior. Representing wealth and longevity, embroidered flowers adorn the wonsam. Red wonsam was worn by queens and green wonsam by princesses. From now on, the choice between the red or green jacket is yours and depends on your preferences in terms of style.

      Next is the wonsam or hwalot, the ceremonial jacket worn at the traditional Korean wedding: in a traditional Korean hanbok by queens and wealthier class women during the Joseon dynasty. The wonsam is colorful and rather elaborate with red silk on the outside and blue silk on the inside and flowers embroidered into the fabric to represent wealth, longevity and nobility. Red was usually used for queens while green wonsams were used for princesses. Today, you can choose what you prefer. It is then agreed to add a blue ribbon, acting as a belt, around the chest to close the wonsam. This famous blue ribbon is the daedae. It contains gold thread embroidery.

      To finish the wedding hanbok, we put on traditional socks: the beoseon. Then it's time to integrate the accessories and especially the hair accessories like the jokduri. But what is a jokduri ? Once worn by Mongolian women, the jokduri is a headdress later adopted by Korean women who reduced its size. Queens used to wear it in different colors, and still today the choice is left for people getting married.

      Still in hair accessories, there is the binyeo, a hair pin that fits into the curls of the fake hair added for the occasion so that it stays in place during the ceremony. The binyeo is relatively long since it often exceeds about ten centimeters on each side of the head. Then come the very elegant and colorful pieces of fabric called daenggi. Some of them hang at the back of the head and others in front of the bust.

      Some facts about Korean Wedding

      Korean weddings are different from ours. The celebration takes place either in a church or in a huge special hall for such celebrations (more often in hotels), where there is a huge long podium in the center, on which the bride will walk so that everyone can see her. On the sides are round tables where the guests, who are usually very numerous, gather. You 100% highlighted something similar in dramas like "Hotel with Secrets", where the whole plot basically revolves around organizing weddings, or the movie "Two Weddings and a Funeral". That is, you should in principle have a rough idea of what the halls look like. There (if it's not a church), there's a special banquet room right away, and the guests don't go separately to any restaurants.

      The ceremony is usually scheduled for daytime on a weekend, often Sunday, so that all the guests can get to the ceremony. Because of this, halls need to be booked in advance, sometimes half a year or even longer. Because of this influx at the weekend, the authorities have even reduced the prices of halls on weekdays by almost 50%, but it is still not very popular. Also at Korean weddings there is always a huge number of people, from 100 people or more, because it is customary to invite even the most distant relatives, friends, acquaintances, former classmates, all whom you can gather - and this separately from the groom, and separately from the bride. Crazy wedding expenses help to adjust gifts - it is customary for the newlyweds to give envelopes of money, with each envelope to be signed by the giver.

      Before the ceremony begins, the bride is in a separate room with her parents-but anyone, except the groom, can look in, congratulate her, and take pictures. The groom is in his room. Often, by the way, wedding suits can be rented rather than bought - this is normal practice in Korea. Mothers are usually dressed in traditional Korean outfits, hanboks, and gloves on their hands.

      The guests enter the hall and are seated at tables, with the bride's guests seated to the right of the podium and the groom's guests seated to the left. The mother of the groom and the mother of the bride are the first to enter the hall, they should light the candles on the pedestal where the ceremony will take place, then they sit in the front row. Next, the groom enters the hall, walks down the catwalk and stops somewhere in the middle. He is followed by the bride, who is usually accompanied by her father, but if he is not present, then one of the older men in the family. The father passes the bride to the groom, and then the couple walks to the pedestal. There, either the priest or the master of ceremonies - usually a very important person in secular circles - is waiting for them. Then the vows, just like in the movies. Regarding the music - the Wedding March by Wagner, not Mendelssohn, as we are used to. Mendelssohn can be turned on when the ceremony is over.

      Then the newlyweds should take a deep bow to greet the bride's parents, the groom's parents, and the rest of the audience. Also close friends or relatives usually sing a song to the newlyweds in the form of congratulations, and they listen to it humbly. Sometimes the groom even sings to the bride. Songs in general are a separate and important attribute of the wedding, they are necessarily present (if no one can sing, can hire a person or even a choir to perform). After the entire ceremony, the young couple leave the hall, followed by all the guests and go to the dining room. But the newlyweds do not go with them, but to a separate room where the parents and relatives of the husband gather. There the newlyweds bow to each parent with two bows to the ground and one at the waist. There they are also given more money, which goes towards the wedding journey. After this ceremony, everyone goes to the main banquet. Of course the entire wedding is photographed from and to by several photographers and videographer, and each family has a beautiful wedding album to be proud of! The newlyweds go on a wedding trip right after the wedding - this is the custom.

      As you can see, even though a Korean wedding is steeped in Western style in terms of ceremony, there are still a lot of purely Korean moments and details, such as bowing, for example. There are a lot of subtleties that are easy to forget if, say, the bride is a foreigner, so you need to prepare carefully for the wedding.