Part one of our little wedding extravaganza is taking place in Seoul, Korea. We’ve decided upon a traditional Korean wedding ceremony, and today we drove to Seoul to visit two sites we had in mind to make a decision on a venue.
Namsangol Hanok Maeul was our first choice: it’s a “village” in Seoul of traditional Korean homes. Many of these homes belonged to royalty, so they were all relocated to a central place and restored as Seoul developed, and so this “village” is something of an outdoor museum. It’s beautiful–Yoongu and I have been here many times before, since he likes to come for inspiration and reference for his own traditional Korean architecture work. It has an adjoining park, and a pavillion built upon a small lake. The downside? Well, as we found out today, since it’s a government sponsored museum, there is no food (i.e. wedding catering) allowed…a real shame since they used to allow wedding banquets here! I don’t know what’s happened to make them change their policies, but basically, you use the facilities for about an hour for your ceremony and then you all have to go somewhere else for the reception. I know this is typical in the US, but it’s NOT typical at all in Korea, so we ultimately decided it wouldn’t be a good choice. Darn! We’re going to at least try and get some pre-wedding pics in our hanboks there.
Fortunately, right next door is the Korea House. It’s a much smaller version of Namsangol Hanok Maeul–just a handful of buildings with the [for-profit!] intention of introducing Korean culture through performances (fan dance, court music, etc…) and food (you order from their menu).
As a private enterprise, they specialize in hosting traditional Korean weddings, and we were in luck because when we went to visit, a wedding was taking place, so we got to see the whole thing, AND eat for free as a complementary tasting of their cuisine. We were both pleasantly surprised and found the whole affair to be very reasonably priced. We signed our contract today, and I’m really looking forward to our special day here on April 18, 2009!
In terms of planning, it is the TOTAL opposite of my SoCal DIY wedding reception! The package includes the photographer, and you’re not allowed to use someone else…the food is a buffet so you just pick a price point, and all the food is pre-determined; the officiant is their guy, and all the wedding decor and props used in the traditional ceremony is theirs as well. However, I know I’m participating in a ritual steeped with tradition, and that alone makes it really meaningful–Plus, I have my US reception to satisfy my DIY crafting needs ^^!
I’ll be sure to keep you guys posted on the Korea ceremony (like when I go hanbok shopping!), and hopefully I’ll be able to have a slideshow of it to show at the US reception.