Want to Marry a Korean? Here’s 7 Things You Should Know!

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So without him knowing it, you’ve been planning on marrying G-dragon for a whole year now. And in your stalker mind, you’ve even dreamed up your own wedding! Well if it ever becomes a reality, make sure you know what’s expected of you if you’re marrying a Korean! (Weirdo :P)

Note: This is a list of common expectations for when Koreans marry other Koreans. But of course if you’re a non-Korean, you will become a multicultural family, and that means your Korean lover and his/her family will have to adjust to you as well. So not all may apply.

 

1. You’ll Need Mommy and Daddy’s Permission
Son, don’t you be marrying no crazies!”

So you’ve been dating that Korean for a while now and you’ve even got the whole Korean style proposal thing done. The girl’s got the ring and the boy’s got the swag. Congratulations! But it aiin’t official yet. Although getting married is about love, in Korea, many people also see marriage as a union of two families. And that means most marriage plans are on hold until the scary moment when both sides of the family meet. The families of the potential bride and groom will get together for an official dinner at a nice restaurant to make sure no one’s getting married to a family of crazies. And even if it’s a real life Korean drama love story full of childhood first kisses, life threatening diseases and sacrificial eye transplants, if the parents say no, then the wedding might not happen. (Of course, people sometimes go ahead and do it anyway. :P)

 

2. Parents will Pick up the Tab
“Daddy, Can you buy me a wedding?”

Weddings are expensive ordeals in any part of the world, and people everywhere don’t hesitate to spend butt loads of money on that one special day. And of course, weddings can be very expensive in Korea too. But if you’re still at the bottom working your way up to the top manager position at the local McDonalds, don’t worry too much. In Korea, most young people are broke too. That’s why most families will pay for their share of the wedding costs. That means most brides and grooms in Korea will not pay for the wedding themselves, but their families (parents) will. Korean parents see marrying off their children as their very last duty as a parent. Goodbye, so long, fare thee well young child. It’s a crazy butt load of money (see #3), but they’ll get it back. Big time (see #7).

 

3. Splitting Wedding Costs is Crazy Complicated
Or just avoid by marrying a Samsung heir

Wedding costs are always tricky arrangements for any marriage, and that’s why most families will figure out things amongst themselves (i.e. if one family is richer than the other, they may offer to cover more of the costs). So if you somehow convinced the heir to the Samsung empire to marry you, you’ll most likely get the most bomb wedding ever for basically just being an awesome husband or wife. For the rest of the not-so-lucky 99.999941%, many Korean families will split marriage costs like this:

Groom Side Bride Side
Wedding Ceremony (50%) Wedding Ceremony (50%)
Honeymoon (50%) Honeymoon (50%)
Apartment/Housing – the home itself (100%) Furnishings like furniture, appliances, etc. (100%)
Yemul (예물) – Wedding gift for the bride Yedan (예단) – Wedding gift for the groom’s family

Splitting wedding costs can be crazy complicated and that’s why we need the scientific chart above. It’s easy enough to see the wedding ceremony and honeymoon are usually split down the middle. But the groom’s side typically provides the payment for the home/apartment, and the bride’s side usually provides all the furnishings inside the home. Fair and simple enough to follow right?

Ok, now see if you can follow this! The gifts involved might be the cultural part you might not have known about. Yemul (예물) comes from an old tradition of giving a bridge wedding gifts of red and blue yarn. Unfortunately for modern day cash-strapped grooms, that usually translates to a matching jewelry set: diamond ring, earring and necklace (or other jewelry). But brides return the favor with yedan (예단), a gift for the groom’s family, typically a cash gift that equals 10% of the housing costs as well as gifts for the family such as nice silverware, bags, jackets, etc.

Of course, none of this is set in stone as it’s different for every marriage (especially true for multi-cultural marriages!). This one you’ll have to talk out with your future Korean spouse/in-laws.

 

4. You Might Not Get that Cool Korean Name You’ve Always Wanted
Unofficial ones are still gravy tho 😛

In many places in the world, it’s common for the bride to take the groom’s family name. Ms. Smith becomes Mrs. Johnson in many places everyday. But if you’ve ever made up a Korean name for yourself because you think they just sound so darn cool, your dream of having an official Korean name might not come true. In Korea, brides keep their family names, even after getting married. That means even if Seonmi Choi marries Kyungsu Park, she will still keep the name her daddy gave her, Choi. But if you’re kind of creepily obsessed with having an Korean name, there’s no law against it. You can still do it at city hall. 🙂

 

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Keith
Keith
Keith Kim is a Korean-American who has been living in Korea for almost a decade. Being in a unique position as both a Korean and a non-Korean, he's put all his experience and knowledge for surviving in Korea in Survival Korean . Read it to learn how you can survive in Korea. Follow him on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.

83 Comments

  1. omorhirhi jennifer says:

    I love Korea people through watching their movies,I believe they display their culture through their movies. I really want to learn Korea language but I need a sponsor to help me get to Korea and register in their language school and I also wish to marry a Korea man

  2. James says:

    Sorry but I have to disagree with the above article as this seems to stereotype a typical Korean wedding between Korean only families. I am married to a Korean (and have seven other friends in mixed marriages with Koreans) and none of the above was relevant to our weddings. Once different cultures are in the mix, this goes right out of the window and it tends to be a lot more relaxed. For example, my wife and I actually paid for the wedding rather than hassling our families, we didn’t need her family’s permission and she has taken my surname.

    I wouldn’t let any of this put people off marrying a Korean!

    • Keith says:

      Hi James,

      Yes i did put in that disclaimer several times. Different cultures will def make things different

      • Lisa says:

        Some of these people need to get their panties untwisted!! Lol

        So why did you go to live in Korea? I noticed a lot of Korean-Americans do that.

    • Tyson says:

      Hi James, Can you please explain how a Korean Wife can change her previous last name (such as “Lee”) with her husbands last name (such as “Jones”)

    • Lisa says:

      @James, you’re a dude, doesn’t take rocket science. Women are to conform more to the man’s culture than the opposite. Foreign women marrying korean men are the ones mostl likely to have the korean wedding. Breathe dude.

    • Lim says:

      Hi James, since I want to marry a korean as well, i might need your help by asking some questions, if you don’t mind.

  3. nina says:

    wow…..number 1 2 3 5 6 7 are the same in Iran.
    i’ve heard that korean lifstyle is near to iranian

  4. Elle Tan says:

    this article makes me think twice to marry Korean, unfortunately i’m planning to marry korean american

    the part of yedan, worry me, because i dont have parents who can support this tradition, even to handle the wedding cost, i have to work that out by myself.
    and that also because i dont like other to take the burden as this is going to be my wedding, so i like to take the resposibility along with my future husband.

    dont get me wrong, i am more than willing to give father n mother inlaw anything they want, if i can afford ones. but reality didnt go as i wish 🙁

    • BWW says:

      If you are marrying korean-american, I don’t think your parents in law actually want you to buy something expensive to them. Recently even in Korea, Yedan and Yemul is considered beyond the reality and to cause a little problem between two families, so some koreans reduce quantities of them in minimum, keeping exchanging gifts as a part of wedding tradition(my brother and his wife did so). Further, I think koreans living in America(his parents) know they live not in Korea and should forget what they want in some parts for their kid’s wedding. You might need to see them with your future husband and tell them properly about your situation and your thought. Talking is better than assumption to solve a problem.

    • Lisa (2) says:

      Regret because of Yedan Yemul? This is your man we’re talking about. Don’t regret marrying your love because of man-made rules. I find them cool and annoying at the same time. LOL! The family may be pissed off but you can still play the “foreigner” card, they would be a lot harsher on a korean not wanting to pay for those gifts. LOL! Congratulations if you’re already married and good luck if you’re not yet 🙂

      @KEITH you might consider getting rid of troll comments, such as “John”‘s. I smell jealousy. You don’t have to take this.

  5. NaNa says:

    Haha, this made me laugh and cringe at the same time. I am Croatian, my fiance is Korean, and already things are complicated enough.. all we need is THIS.. Hmmmm . These traditions sound like outdated Croatian wedding traditions. Some are cute, some just outright cray-cray.

    As for your overview of them, it was quite informative. I shall accept it as a hypothesis, test it next year, and hopefully live to write and post about it myself. 🙂

    You can check out the end-result here:

    https://www.facebook.com/KimchiSarmaDelight

    or here:

    http://hanakokanovic.wordpress.com/

    Kindest regards,
    NaNa

  6. Generally I do not read article on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very compelled me to try and do it! Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thanks, quite great post.

  7. Monkeyfuzz says:

    I think this article is a great heads-up, and intro to some things non-Koreans might want to know in heading in to marriage with a Korean.

  8. Missy says:

    LOL @ Marrying G-Dragon, How did you know?! I enjoy reading your articles…. very informative.

  9. hy..i like korean people..
    they are cute and beautiful..
    but its my desire to gett marry with korean girl…
    but if there is any intrested girle who want can contect me..
    facebook id:[email protected]

  10. carla says:

    Its funny
    I found this article randomly and its tickling much
    still me prefer local men that Korean
    its all about tribe, different yet complicated
    but its quite same hahaha
    nice article 🙂

    guys lets be friend, I am looking for a friend from different / same country that’s doesn’t matter its my email
    [email protected]

    sorry for this fraud comment, thank you

  11. carla marsha says:

    Its funny
    I found this article randomly and its tickling much
    still me prefer local men that Korean
    its all about tribe, different yet complicated
    but its quite same with mine hardcore bowing, is it really happened ? hahaha
    nice article 🙂

    guys lets be friend, I am looking for a friend from different / same country that’s doesn’t matter its my email
    [email protected]

    sorry for this fraud comment, thank you

  12. zainab says:

    well, i like the information, some of them are the same as what we have her in Dubai. is it ok for korean men to marry a girl from the gulf? like an Arabian girl from Dubai ?.. and do they care about the religion ? 😀

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  15. John says:

    Ever thought about writing the “masculinity” of Korean men in Korea?

    Correction: total lack there of. Part of it has to do with our upbringing being too smothering and controlling. The whole damn country prefers metrosexuality over classic manliness like Daniel Craig. Little K pop kids from ages 16-24 dressed like clowns with is their idea of a real man.

  16. Tina says:

    it’s very similar to here in Egypt, it’s about 80% similar and the remaining 20% is the pure Korean culture

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  18. Akira says:

    Is It really that way or did it change a little?
    And what can you say about marriage to japanese man?

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  21. dd says:

    that’s great

  22. Curs Valutar says:

    Un Curs Valutar de Seoulistic – Want to Marry a Korean?
    Here

  23. Rehan Khalid says:

    If whoes have realy one love please…but loly….honesty girl…

  24. pyeja says:

    nice information . korean culture almost like malaysian wedding culture.malaysian bride also didn’t have to change thier name 🙂

  25. Kayla says:

    I want to marry Taeyang. Does anybody know how I can make that happen? I don’t know how to meet him.

  26. hanni says:

    Gumap seubnida(is it right?) Keith
    Annyong haseyo
    I’m from Solo, Central Java, Indonesia.
    Well, more and less …seems the Asian countries have similarity for several sides. Especially about parents and the big family. I think merry for Asian is not only unite the two persons crazy in love but also unite both side of the big family. So If I plan to merry someone not only for Korean, my future husband and I have and need to combine it with good communication between us.
    Good luck everybody, have a nice day.

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  29. Nick says:

    Well, let’s all go marry a Korean now!

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