12 August 2007

Shopping for a wedding dress

Don't worry, mom. I'm not getting married.

Cyndi's co-worker, Hyeyoung & her fiancee, Joon invited us to join them as they shopped for their wedding hanboks and wedding jewelry this weekend. Shopping for hanboks was quite fun. We visited two very trendy dressmakers in Seoul, including Betul Hanbok, official hanbok maker for the 51st Annual Miss Korea Pageant.

Couples are supposed to schedule an appointment for weekend consultations, but fortunately, Betul Hanbok had an opening. I did not anticipate the variety of decisions that go into selecting a hanbok. In addition to the different color and fabric choices, there are various accessories, trim, and handiwork to customize your dress.

A quality, customized, hand-sewn hanbok will start at around $500-$600 for women, and $600 - $800 for men. That's right. The men's hanbok is more expensive. Maybe because of the pants?

In addition to a hanbok set, most Korean couples will also purchase a western style wedding dress/tuxedo combo. That's a lot of won for outfits that will likely stay in storage for the rest of a couple's lifetime.

I also learned that brides traditionally wear a red or pink skirt. Purple and white are not very popular because they are usually worn at funerals. I also learned that I have the tastes of an ajumma, as I gravitated towards colors that are not very popular amongst young brides. I was surprised that in this country of matching couple outfits, Korean bride & grooms typically do not color coordinate their hanboks. So, if the groom prefers a sherbert orange while the bride loves a neon green, not a problem.

Hyeyeoung & Joon are going to check out hanbok makers in Busan before they make their final decision. I'm sure that whatever they end up will look good as they are a cute and stylish couple. :)

We also accompanied H&J to Mucha, as they browsed for their couple rings. Mucha was the official tiara maker for the Miss Korea Pageant.

Apparently, in Korea, the engagement ring and wedding bands are all purchased at the same time. Whereas in the U.S., typically, the woman (sometimes the man) is presented with an engagement ring (usually featuring a diamond) during the proposal. Then, the couple selects wedding bands in time for the nuptials. Once married, the woman wears both her wedding band & engagement ring. In Korea, however, or at least in Hyeyoung case, both the diamond bling and wedding band will be purchased at the same time. She will wear her wedding band on most days and save her diamond bling for special occasions.

I'm sure that Joon will treasure his wedding band once he is married, but I've noticed that a lot of Korean men tend to leave their ring at home. I can understand this if you are a plumber, but I don't know how a ring can impede your work if you are sitting at a computer all day. Shady...

No comments: