Incorporating Different Cultures in a Meaningful Way on Your Wedding Day
October 27, 2018
When wedding planning commences, couples are often faced with the task of blending different backgrounds and traditions into one gorgeous wedding day. No pressure! If you are looking for a way to honor different cultures in a meaningful way, look no further than this stunning inspiration crafted by fleurie, with planning by Sage Event Planning and the prettiest of images photographed by Katrina Kim. Together these vendors are showcasing elegant and beautiful ways to incorporate Korean traditions into your modern Western wedding. Plus, even more right here!
Calling all lovers of heritage, tradition, and culture! When your roots are so fully embedded in identifying with more than one culture, how can you honor both? Wedding planning often starts with this critical question: What is important to me, and how can I incorporate that in a meaningful way on my wedding day? This styled shoot was inspired by our community's growing interest in diversity and culture. 
Two cultures married together by the impeccable styling of fleurie--the first, a modern and clean white gown and tux, and the second, traditional Korean hanbok. Set at a small church located in Pasadena, CA appropriately named, "Light of Love", it serves as a courtyard backdrop to sophisticated stationery by Ettie Kim Studio, beautiful hanbok and details by Bidan Hyang, and even a wedding cake made of traditional Korean rice cake by Rice Blossoms.
Traditional Korean weddings can be traced so far back into history that it’s difficult to pinpoint and classify exactly what constitutes a “typical” or “traditional” Korean wedding. Historically, ceremonies varied based on social class and this often dictated things like wardrobe, jewelry, and gift giving. So, let’s consider the modern 21st century couple looking to integrate Korea and Western tradition—what are examples of Korean wedding culture that can pay a respectful nod to tradition while translating elegantly and seamlessly to a western wedding? We’re sharing some key examples below...
Traditional Korean Outfits(Hanbok): Wearing a hanbok is an exceptional way to embrace and honor Korean tradition. Eighty years ago, wearing a hanbok in Korea was in complete decorum. Neutral in color and made out of cotton or hemp, the ordinary day-to-day hanbok was the traditional wardrobe of everyday Korean men, women, and children. Historically, Koreans from various regions of the country and social class set aside more ornate and colorful hanbok for special occasions including family celebrations, weddings, and Korean Thanksgiving. This custom has gracefully stood the test of time and continues to be a symbol of celebration to this day. Hanbok for both women and men come primarily in two parts: the skirt and top for women and the trousers with a jacket or robe for men. Hanbok designers today offer a variety of both modern and traditional styles that can be made all your own by mixing and matching different colors, materials, cuts, and designs. If you’re looking for a great rehearsal dinner outfit or reception wardrobe change, perhaps consider wearing a beautiful and luxuriant hanbok tailored to your particular taste!
Colorful Tassels(Norigae): Norigae is a traditional hanging tassel accessory that is tied to the top or skirt of a hanbok. Norigae can either be passed down or gifted by parents and can be one of the most meaningful and personalized items worn. The meaning and personalization of norigae can be determined by color, stones/material, animal depictions, or shapes inspired by nature. The possibilities are truly endless. If wearing a norigae yourself is not something you had planned, perhaps you could flip the tradition and gift one to your parents or future in-laws. This could be an especially sweet gesture if either mom or future mother-in-law will be wearing a hanbok to the wedding.

Hair Stick Accessory(Binyeo): A binyeo is worn in a woman’s hair to hold the hair up in a bun. Historically, when women had their hair up in a bun it symbolized that she was a married woman. Conversely, unmarried women wore their hair at a low ponytail braided to the ends with a ribbon tied at the very end. A bineyo is customarily worn horizontally through a bun and can come in a variety of colors and designs. Pick the one that is best suited to your taste and wear it with pride—you’re a married woman now!
Rice Cake(Dduk/Tteokk): Steamed rice cake, otherwise known as dduk/tteokk is customarily served on celebratory occasions such as New Years Day, weddings, and birthdays. Today, Korean traditional rice cakes made for celebrations are usually slightly sweet and colorful(usually pastel in color). They would make great additions to the dessert table or wrapped and placed on each place setting as a small guest gift during the reception.
Bronzeware for Dinnerware & Utensils(Yoogi): Bronze flatware is very chic and elegant currently in the wedding world, but surprisingly bronze tabletops and utensils have been a part of Korean tradition for centuries. Originally utilized by Korean royalty, yoogi had a range of advantages and over time has become available to the masses. Today, authentic yoogi can be made into a litany of items as simple as household objects, to musical instruments, and works of art. A beautiful and practical gift to Korean parents would be a yoogi utensil or dinnerware set.
Pyebaek/Paebaek: A paebaek ceremony is the customary symbol of unity and respect. Traditionally, this ceremony occurs several days after the wedding where the groom’s side of the family is introduced to the new bride and welcomes her into the family. During the ceremony, the couple will take turns with each family member and their spouse—first they will bow to one another, offer each other wine, then receive words of wisdom and advice. A playful game rounds out each interaction where the older couple will toss Korean dates and chestnuts out across the table to the newlywed couple.
The number of dates and chestnuts caught in the white fabric by the couple represents the number of children they will potentially have in the future. Today, both the bride and groom’s side participates in the ceremony. During paebaek, royal garments called “hwalot” are worn by the newlyweds, however today they may also opt instead to wear a standard hanbok instead. If you’re planning on scheduling this in as part of your wedding, I’d suggest finding time either at the rehearsal dinner or the following day. It is so much fun to participate in and watch, however the participants are limited to family members(though, everyone is welcome to observe) which can potentially alienate your guests and be quite time consuming depending on the number of family members you have.
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The ideas listed above are a number of the most popular and relevant Korean wedding traditions today, but my desire is that you take these ideas and make them your own! Weddings can tell our story—they can provide insight, bits and pieces of where we come from. For some, our stories and backgrounds are more diverse and it may seem difficult at first to fully depict this at a singular event, on just one (extraordinary) day. But consider your wedding day an opportunity to tell your story—the backdrop to your family tree can start even in the preparation stages with your closest family and friends. I hope that this process initiates conversations that stretch and expand current understandings among our friends. But above all, I hope that the byproduct of this is that it will set the trajectory for how you and your love can share a continuing love story—a profound love story infused by your individual traditions and heritage. Good luck, cheers, and happy planning!