Photography & travel tips from an award-winning photographer, educator & wanderlust

The LOVE Project: Korean Traditional Wedding Ceremony

This week’s LOVE Project features a very special, but completely unexpected event, which was a part of Daejeon’s Donghcundang Park’s 20th Cultural Festival. A traditional wedding ceremony, featuring yours truly and her less thrilled (actual) husband, took place on Saturday, April 22, 2016 from 2:30-3:30 pm.

The day started with us getting ready, which involved three layers of clothing for me and two for Garrett.

garrett getting readygetting ready

We’re taller and larger than typical Koreans, so getting into shoes was a bit of a challenge. Having to wear socks inside the shoes didn’t help the problem.


Did you know that unmarried women in Korea used to wear their hair down and after they got married, they were required to put it up?



Also, during the wedding the bride and groom didn’t know what the other one looked like, so they were required to cover up faces. The bride holds her hands at a nose level, while the groom has a nifty two handed fan.

intro garrett

The groom carries in a duck or a goose, as to signify that he, like the animals, will mate for life. Traditionally, these animals would be presented live to the bride’s family, but eventually evolved into a cheaper and more humane version – the wooden ones.

the ducks ceremony

Throughout the ceremony, you can witness red and blue colors, where red symbolizes the female and blue – the male. The colors also embody the ying and yang of the relationship, bringing harmony and balance.

the ceremony

During the ceremony we:

  • Washed our hands
  • Bowed to each other a couple of times (this was confusing – half bow or full bow, luckily I had helpers to guide me along (and hold up my poor, tired arms)). Bowing represents commitment to each other.
  • We knelt on a pillow and drank some rice wine
  • We moved some acorns into a dish with chops sticks (I thought it was a silly joke, asking me to move giant acorns with 2 long plastic chopsticks. Thank you helpers, you made me look like a Rockstar!)
  • We drank each other’s wine, while the helpers were tying up our blue and red strings and hung them on two trees.
  • We also used some gourd dippers to drink out of, which were later combined into one – again to signify unity.
  • All the while, poor announcers had a field day with our foreign names and pronunciation.

If you would like more concrete details about Korean weddings, I recommend visiting this post from Runaway Juno, she seemed to have had a better grasp on what was going on and why, hehe.

Again, it was a privilege to have been a part of this festival and this ceremony. Out transformations were pretty cool!

alla before and aftergarrett before and after

Have you ever been a part of a Korean ceremony? Tell me about it in the comments below.

If you would like to be a part of the LOVE Project or would like to contribute in any way, get in touch!


Looking to fill the following categories:

In LOVE for/since

First: LOVE Yourself – a portrait

Unconditional LOVE – a pet story

Grow, laugh, LOVE – a kid’s story.

A City of LOVEly places

A little LOVE goes a long way – A home-cooked meal

LOVEly friends


  1. This is so cool that you guys were able to do this! I really want to do a traditional Korean wedding before we leave but weren’t sure what the costs would be since we only saw the traditional ceremony going on at the Korean Folk Village near Seoul…instead we may just dress up in hanbok and do a fun photo shoot somewhere like Gyeongbokgung! Thanks for sharing your awesome experience!

  2. Wow, cool photos of what seemed to be a very elaborate and interesting ceremony! I like all the symbolism, the ducks especially. You two look really good in the Korean garb too! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Oh what a lovely experience! Stephanie and I were lucky enough to go through a Korean wedding ceremony as well and it was a blast. They dressed us up, taught us how to bow properly, and went through the rest of the rituals before finally encouraging all of my friends to beat the soles of my feet with wooden sticks! Congratulations on your latest wedding!

  4. Can I just begin with how amazing you two look! I love the bright colors of Korea. I also adored seeing this Korean style wedding take place. I’m definitely interested in the Love Project!

  5. Beautiful photos and a lovely experience! I always love seeing the vibrant colors in traditional Korean garb. Congrats on having this traditional wedding!

  6. So, that’s what the ducks mean hahaha! I recently watched a traditional wedding ceremony at the Suwon Folk Village and wondered about the wooden ducks. It must have been a really cool experience to go through that ceremony. Congratulations to the both of you:-).

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