Korean Wedding - What You Should Know as a Guest

Jul 19, 2024
Attending a Korean wedding as a guest involves dressing casually formal, giving cash as a wedding gift, and participating in a short ceremony followed by a meal. The ceremony includes the entrance of the couple, speeches, promises, performances, and group photos. Korean weddings are often held in specialized wedding halls and can vary in cost. Understanding and respecting Korean customs is important to fully enjoy the experience.
Newsletter DNK
Newsletter DNK


Being invited to a Korean wedding is a wonderful moment to celebrate your friends' or colleagues' wedding together in Korea. I was lucky enough to be invited to several and witness the ceremony, eating nice meals, but I also had to learn the norms and etiquette of a Korean wedding. What is the dress code, what should I gift the newlywedded couple, and much more?
In this article, I will walk you through a typical Korean wedding, providing you with insights on what to expect. From the dress code and gift etiquette to the ceremony and the wedding meal, I will cover all the important aspects of a Korean wedding. This will help you understand the customs and traditions, enabling you to fully enjoy and appreciate the experience.

Dress Code

Guests should dress formally, keeping in mind that the wedding is a significant event. Men typically wear shirts and a suit jacket, and women wear a dress or a casual suit.


In Korea, it is customary to give cash as a wedding gift. The amount depends on your relationship with the couple. Generally, the closer the relationship, the larger the gift. The cash should be given in a crisp, new bill and placed in an envelope. It is also important to note whether or not you are attending the wedding. If you are, the amount you give should be higher because it helps to cover the cost of the meal and the ceremony. However, in the end, you should give an amount that you feel comfortable with.
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Amount (in Korean Won)
Close friend
100,000 - 150,000
200,000 - 300,000
50,000 - 100,000
Close friend
50,000 - 70,000
100,000 - 150,000
30,000 - 50,000

Arrival at the Wedding Hall

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When you arrive at the wedding hall, you will be warmly greeted by the families of the groom and bride. There will be a reception table dedicated to each side - the groom's (신랑) and the bride's (신부). This is where you present your gift envelope. You will then enter your name into the reception book, and in return, you will receive a food stamp (식사권). You might find the time to take a picture with the groom or the bride you are close with.

Quick Wedding Ceremony

In Germany, weddings often start around midday with a formal ceremony at the town hall, where the couple officially becomes husband and wife. This is followed by a communal lunch. The evening is marked by a grand reception, where all guests celebrate the newlyweds with food, parties, and dancing, lasting into the late night.
A Korean wedding ceremony is very short compared to a Western-style wedding. The ceremony usually lasts only 30 minutes ~ 1 hour, followed by a meal. Yes, you read it correctly, it's that short! Unlike weddings in many other cultures that can last for several hours, Korean weddings are notably brief. This brevity is a reflection of the efficiency and practicality often associated with contemporary Korean culture. It allows guests to celebrate the joyous occasion without a large time commitment, and it also enables the wedding venue to host multiple weddings in a single day.
Don't be late, as the wedding ceremony will start exactly at the scheduled time!

The Ceremony

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A typical Korean wedding begins with the parents of the bride and groom walking down the aisle, a symbol of respect and a way to formally start the ceremony. This is followed by the couple's entrance, often to the tune of their choice.
The couple then gives a thank you speech to their guests, expressing their gratitude for their presence and support. They also make promises to each other, affirming their commitment and love in front of their family and friends. This is often a heartfelt moment, filled with emotion.
The ceremony may also feature performances by friends or family members. These can range from singing and dancing to playing traditional Korean instruments. The performances add a personal and intimate touch to the ceremony, reflecting the joyous nature of the occasion.
After the ceremony, it's time for photos. Guests are invited to take group pictures with the newlyweds, creating lasting memories of the day.
The wedding concludes with a meal. This can either be a buffet, where guests can choose from a variety of dishes, or a sit-down meal served at the table. The meal is an opportunity for guests to mingle and celebrate with the couple, marking the end of a beautiful and memorable day.

Wedding Meal

Korean weddings usually serve a buffet-style meal. The food is a mix of Western and Korean dishes, so there is something for everyone. Remember to enjoy the meal as it is a significant part of the wedding tradition.
Being a guest at a Korean wedding is a unique experience filled with beautiful traditions and ceremonies. Enjoy the day, respect the customs, and celebrate the love of the couple.

Wedding Halls and Costs in Korea

In Korea, weddings are often held in specialized venues known as wedding halls. These halls are large, multi-story buildings specifically designed to host multiple weddings simultaneously. They are equipped with all the necessary facilities for a wedding, including dressing rooms for the bride and groom, a ceremony hall, reception areas, and even dining halls.
The entire wedding industry in Korea is well-structured and quite commercialized, providing a one-stop solution for couples. From wedding planners, photographers, and caterers to florists and decorators, all services are available under one roof. Some wedding halls even have tie-ups with travel agencies for honeymoon packages.
As far as the cost is concerned, Korean weddings can vary greatly depending on the venue, the number of guests, and the services chosen by the couple. On average, the cost of a wedding in Korea can range from 30 million to 150 million Korean Won. This includes the cost of the wedding hall, food, wedding dress, and other related services.
Now, an interesting aspect of Korean weddings is the way they are financed. Unlike some Western cultures where the cost of the wedding is often borne by the bride's or groom's family, in Korea, it's common for guests to contribute to the wedding cost by giving cash gifts. As mentioned earlier, the amount given depends on the relationship with the couple. This cash gift is not just a present, but also a way to share the burden of the wedding expenses.
While the practice of giving cash gifts is customary, it's important to note that there's no obligation to give a certain amount. What matters is the sentiment behind the gift - to wish the couple a happy and prosperous marriage.


In conclusion, attending a Korean wedding is a unique and wonderful experience that combines both modern and traditional customs. As a guest, it's important to understand and respect these customs to fully appreciate the beauty of the ceremony. From the dress code to the giving of cash gifts, the wedding ceremony is filled with meaningful traditions that reflect the Korean culture. Remember to enjoy the moment, celebrate with the couple, and immerse yourself in the joyous occasion. Whether you're attending a wedding in Korea or just learning about its customs, we hope this guide has helped you understand what to expect.

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