Weddings

Where we had our traditional Korean wedding 0

We happened to be passing through Jinju fortress recently so we took the chance to make a little video about where we had our traditional Korean wedding.

Most of the day was just a blur, but it was really worth it. I’ve mentioned before how much I dislike these modern rushed Korean weddings in Korean wedding halls, and although our Korean wedding felt very long, it was completely worth it. It felt special doing the rituals in front of everyone and feeling a connection to tradition and the past. Although the weather was hot, I was so pleased to have a beautiful sunny day for our wedding day.

There were some big cultural shocks on the day, but I enjoyed the feeling of being carried in a gama and all the other elements of it.

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Traditional Wedding – 전통혼례 가마 5

Traditional korean wedding

I made this comic quite a while ago but it was never posted because it was supposed to go in the book (for the Korean market). Since we are now changing the format of the book a lot (one of the reasons why it’s taking so long) I can post it on here.

Traditional weddings are rarely done these days in Korea unfortunately, but I’m glad we had one. We were carried in ‘gamas’ by our friends, which gave Hugh’s friends the chance to complain about how heavy he is!

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Wedding Anniversary 9

Anniversary

Will I?…. Will I really?

I’m pretty terrible with dates and hardly remember anything, I even looked at the date yesterday and didn’t remember it was our anniversary. We do have 3 wedding anniversaries though (registry, Australian and Korean) so if we do miss one, there are others to celebrate. I also have a very understanding husband who doesn’t expect much but likes spoiling me, so we still had a nice dinner together. And part of my present was BIGBANG concert tix!

(Quick give me ideas for what I can do for our Korean wedding anniversary!!!!!)

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Traditional Korean Wedding 33

I recently got some more photos from our traditional Korean wedding so I thought I’d share some.

Two weeks after we had our Australian wedding we flew to Korea for our Korean wedding. Koreans don’t really do big traditional weddings like this anymore, instead most Koreans have a more westernized wedding and may just have a small ceremony after in traditional clothes. We had a wedding company organise our wedding but unfortunately we had no idea what was going on! Also, because this type of wedding is rarely done now, even the older relatives weren’t sure what was supposed to happen!

It ended up being pretty surreal and some points I was terrified. My husband looks so different in these photos as well. They put some horrendous makeup on him and pushed his hair back under the hat. The wedding was in Jinju Castle which is open to the public, so there was a huge crowd of people watching us. The sun was so hot and I remember sitting across from my husband, not being able to move in my hanbok, and worried my makeup was running down my face. My husband looked over me and mouthed, “This is terrible.” I just nodded and tried not to faint. I hadn’t had anything to drink in hours. The wedding seemed to go forever and I had no idea what was going on, but afterwards, especially when I look at the photos I know it was worth it. I can laugh about it now and it was definitely an experience!

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Our friends who had to carry us.

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They all complained that he was too heavy.

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Here we had to pass a jujube or a date to each other using our mouths.

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Our Visa Story 78

We had planned to get the ‘Prospective Marriage Visa’ originally- when we first got engaged. My husband had used up all possible visas for Australia: both working holiday visas and student visas. The only way he could stay in Australia was if he got a visa because I’m an Australian citizen. While we were in Korea for a month I started preparing for the Prospective Marriage Visa. The information and requirements are immense and takes a while to wade through.

So that is our visa story! It is one of the biggest problems for couples that are from different countries. People don’t really understand how stressful it is unless they’ve been through it themselves. Although we got married then, we didn’t really count it as our real wedding yet. We didn’t become a real married couple until our big wedding. Both our parents were really supportive through it all and had no problems with us marrying quickly like that.

You do hear stupid comments from other people though. Some people seem to get weirdly annoyed when someone is given residency based on their relationship. And if someone marries to hurry along the visa process well….. watch out for stupid comments! You’ll hear people saying “There are other ways to get into Australia.” No there isn’t. It is really difficult to get sponsorship to stay in Australia. There is not just some miracle visa people can apply for to stay… the only way my husband could live in Australia was through his relationship to me.

Some Australians seem to think that it’s really easy to get into Australia! But of course anyone who has tried to go through the rigmarole of Australian Immigration knows otherwise. And if you marry someone from another country some people are suspicious. There were even comments from extended family members about how my husband would leave me after a few years because he was just using me to get into Australia…. Yup. A lot of stupid comments.

Not only is it difficult because of judgmental people but because there really are people who do fake marriages to get residency. Because of this, the process of getting this visa is upsetting and invasive. We had to show personal emails, photos, phone records… details of your life that are just between you and your partner you have to submit to some faceless immigration officer in an office!

One of the most frustrating aspects is that most people simply do not understand what you have to go through. If you complain about all the intimate details Immigration wants someone will just say, “But they need it for a reason.” They really do not understand how horrible the process is. We spent weeks and weeks spending almost every day putting together our application. My husband was on a tourist visa, he could not work, he could not study and technically he could be kicked out of the country if Immigration wanted to do that. Our backup plan, if he didn’t get the visa, was for me to just pack up my life and move to Korea with him. Not that ideal.

In the end we were so lucky. Most people wait months, some even years, before their visa is granted. My husband’s visa being granted in just 3 days was amazing!

If you are going through this visa process at the moment, I sympathize!

So we actually had three weddings. The registry office one in Australia to prove to Immigration that we were serious, our Australian wedding for all our family and friends and then our traditional Korean wedding in Korea. So question is… which anniversary should we celebrate???

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Wedding Presents 10

This was for our Australian wedding. After everything finished we opened our presents. Some family and friends were with us as well and everyone laughed at my husband tearing open the presents while I sat reading the cards. His excuse was that it was difficult for him to read the handwritten English in the cards and he didn’t know who they were all from. He became interested when there was money in a card though!

Of course all our money is shared but he organises it. Traditionally in Korea (and Japan) the woman manages the money but we decided it is better that my husband does the managing. I’m a creative type and not exactly good with money (and we are poor newlyweds at the moment).

We got a lot of nice presents but haven’t used them yet, even though our wedding was months ago, because we haven’t found a new place to live in Sydney yet. We have them piled up in a spare room at my parent’s house. Sometimes I like to go in and just look at them and say “Mine mine! These are all mine!” Hehe, I’ve never owned such nice things before.

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Your wedding in…? 19

Oh dear. This happened far too many times. At first I hoped it was just the slip of the tongue and they accidentally said the wrong name but really they knew we went to South Korea for our traditional wedding. Then I realised many people couldn’t actually remember where my husband was from, even though they’d met him and even had conversations with him. Is he just some generic Asian man to them? Asia is a country right?

The other disturbing thing is that people are assuming that somewhere like Thailand and South Korea are pretty much the same thing. This is so insulting to both Thai people and Koreans who have very different cultures. How are people this ignorant about other countries?

I know it annoys Koreans so much when people assume South Korea is some third world country. People who can’t think of one single thing they know about Korea while they watch their Samsung TV and then go drive their Kia car. While it’s easy to laugh at strangers who don’t know, it’s much sadder when it’s a good friend who is ignorant. Like a friend of my family who thought Japan was the capital city of China… even though my brother has been living in Japan for several years.

I really hope this changes. It is quite embarrassing how little some Australians know about the Asian region even though we are right next to it.

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