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

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

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. 🙂

5. Holidays Might mean Work (for Women)
Follow orders from bossy Korean aunts

Now that you’re married to the love of your life, you’ll probably be spending time with his family on the big national holidays. And the two big ones out of the year, Chuseok (추석) and Seollal (설날), are typically when families gather with their aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents, the whole shebang with lots of people and lots of food. But in most Korean families, women are in the kitchen all day to prepare the food. If you’re a woman that’s married into a Korean man’s family, don’t worry too much. It’s usually pretty fun to talk with the other ladies of the family while preparing the food. And even if you don’t have any idea how to do anything, there’s usually a bossy aunt in every family that takes over the kitchen like she’s running an army.

Tip: For Koreans, a new female family member not helping out in the kitchen isn’t always the best. So even if you’re all thumbs when it comes to cooking, try to offer your help (if you’re trying to get on their good side!).

6. New Years Mean Less Money
In exchange for hardcore bowing

Just like in many Asian countries, New Years in Korea (Seollal – 설날) is a time for little kids to receive cash envelopes from their elders to bring to school and compare with everyone how much they got. If you’re Asian, you know how awesome it feels to have envelopes piling up in your back pocket. But for all you non-Asians out there that’s never experienced counting that stash of New Years money in some corner when no one’s looking, sorry to say that you’ll only be counting the money you’re giving out. That’s because if you’re married into a Korean family, that means you’re part of the adult side. And even though you’ve never received money as child, you’ll be expected to give money to your own kids, as well as your nieces and nephews. At least they give you a hardcore New Years bow in return.

7. You Might Have to Live with Parents (Again)
Korean mama food

You thought it was over when you moved out didn’t you? Well remember when your Korean in-laws paid for all your crazy wedding expenses that almost mortgaged the house? Well they’re old and retired now. And for Korean families with more traditional values, many sons and/or daughters will invite their parents to live with them when they reach an elderly age. Although this is a changing trend in Korea, and many Korean families just tend to get the elderly parents their own home/apartment nearby (if they can afford it), if the Korean family that you married into has more traditional values, you might have to live with the in-laws for a while, which is not necessarily a bad thing. You’ll get real Korean mama food and a someone to help take care of the kids, too :).

To learn more about dating and marriage in Korea, check out our ebook:
How to Navigate Korea’s Unique Dating Culture: The Must-Have Guide for Successful Relationships

If you’re going to a Korean wedding, here’s the gifts you should give:
Korean Culture Says Buy These Gifts!

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.


  1. Anonymous says:

    These points literally match with India. Korea is 2nd India, I guess. Both are same in these points. Literally the values are same like in India, too marriage is a union of two families and if your parents say no, you can’t get married. Only one point is different, that is of surname.

  2. Abraham says:

    Korea is really a fun place to live. I will marry a beautiful and gorgeous Korean model in future. If you want to marry in any country, it is allowed. So Korea is where I will marry.

  3. Deborah Sridhar says:

    Literally all of the points match with Indian culture except for the surname which is optional.I hope it’s alright if the foreigner wife wants to take up her husband’s surname if she wishes too.It amazes me how the cultural aspects remind me of India so much but at the same time there’s something so foreign about it.

  4. Malaysian says:

    I hope i can marry with korean 😀

    p/s : In future. 🙂

  5. Johnson says:

    Speechless 🤐🤐

  6. Manju says:

    I hope I can marry with my love in future.I love south Korea so much 😍❤️

  7. Elizabeth says:

    Wow I wish I could get married to a Korean man

  8. I wish to marry a Korean guy and am even single for years now…I want to meet a nice Korean guy and marry him
    God pls help me

  9. sportstototv says:

    I enjoy what you guys ɑre up too. Such clevеr work and reporting!

  10. I need a trusted Korean girl

  11. Paul says:

    I have been looking to marry A Korea girl by faith in Jesus Name, Amen

  12. Lucy Ochonogor says:

    Hi am interested in traveling the world and learning new things, I love Korea and also wish to establish there even if it’s take me to marry a Korea guy. I just want my dream of travel to the world and helping people come to pass.

  13. I’m living out of Korea & I want to marry a Korean girls.

  14. qwfrgeq says:

    I found this info on google

  15. CocoLove says:

    I am a western-raised Chinese woman and married a Caucasian American man. We eloped while on vacation in Hawaii after he proposed to me. I went against all Chinese traditions of marriage by doing so. It is my life and my love so I will decide, was what I thought at the time I married. My husband’s family was happy about the marriage, my family was not because I broke the Chinese rules of wedding tradition. To honor my father (my mom had already passed away) and family, we held a Chinese wedding banquet where my father could be seen to “give me away” to my husband. In the end, everything worked out!

  16. Abdulsomad says:

    I love Korean so much i can not express my feelings for them they are all beautiful and pretty i promise my self or let me say am beging Allah to pls allow me to marry a Korean beauty girl pls help me Allah for the sake of prophet Muhammad

  17. Malaysian Muslim lifepartner says:

    I am looking for a Korean gentleman to be my life partner. Age 65-75. Healthy. Educated. Love travelling round the world. Can speak English, even if it’s just a little. Clean and non smoking. A Muslim or can convert. I am a Muslim. I love travelling. I hv a gud sense of humour. I am bubbly enjoy life. Swim. No liquor.no park. I live in a nice condo in Putrajaya u can live with me if we get married. Serious relationship only.

    • AFNAN GONDAL says:


    • AFNAN GONDAL says:

      ASSLAM u alaykum how are you . I want with you MARRIAGE. I am MUSLIM AND LIVING IN KOREA. I AM PAKISTANI BOY. WHAT ARE YOU AGREE WITH ME MARRIAGE? My mobile number +82 10 4914 0786

    • Kennethbethwel says:

      Wow your really aged but, getting married is the most perfect idea ,

  18. Harry Jack says:

    It’s a nice blog post. I really like it and the amazing flow of content also helps me more to understand the blog post Purple Varsity Jacket

  19. Yu na says:

    Keith, how about we get married? :point_right::point_left:

  20. Editha Heinitz says:

    My only son is dating a sweet Korean girl but her dad is against all that.
    I am from the Philippines and love all cultures and remain open.minded.I am married to an American who had a bad experience with a Korean wife and lived there for years..I hate to interfere with my son’s affairs but wanted to save him from such toxicity if he decides to follow his heart, he will definitely have some hurdles in life ahead…any input will be appreciated..I am a retired RN and almost 69 years old,hubby same age with me!?

  21. Alexx says:

    I just got the papers sent by my boyfriend (for Marriage) , he’s from the Korean Army..Now I’m having cold feet .He keep on mentioning about Korean Tradition and their Culture..it’s actually cool but 8m kind of scare if I ever cope up with all of that.As I told him before we will fight the Battle Together..I didn’t think of the family who’s starting to interfere. But hey .Love conquers all..wish me luck 😁

  22. Kenneth bethwel says:

    I wish to marry a Korean woman

  23. Kenneth Bethwel says:

    I love North Koreans

  24. Momoh favoUR says:

    Am a Nigerian girl from Edo state I have always love Korean and I want to go there especially south Korean Seoul I love that place and I wish I could marry a guy there I also love a guy there his name is Lee mi ho I love all his acting I wish I could go there and marry him or just be friends with him I pray God help me out

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