For any Koreans reading this, getting married in Australia is (typically) much more drawn out than in Korea. There is normally a ceremony, followed by photos, cake cutting, tea and coffee, lots of chit chat with friends and family, a meal, speeches and sometimes even dancing. Often the ceremony will happen at one place, then guest will travel a short distance to another location where the reception will be held. Being the second time we had done this we were on a bit of a budget, so we chose to do it at my parents house as they live on acreage and have lots of space.
The day started early for us. We had spent a lot of time over the last few weekends cleaning the place up (painting, mowing grass, removing trash, etc) but come Saturday morning there was still a list a mile long of stuff to be done. First things first, setting up the tables.
Dad getting a hair cut.
Next up, Jihyeon's sister.
Meanwhile, Jihyeon was still hard at work carrying down the decorations for the photo table.
For any Koreans reading this, what is a photo table? It is basically a small table at a wedding reception that houses photos of the couple, a guest book and is a place for gifts. Traditionally people would give things to the newly wed couple to furnish their house. However, because people are now getting married later in life and, in Australia, often have moved out of home for many years before getting married it is the norm to give money as a gift. Couples will do what is called a "Wishing Well" which is a basket of some description to hold envelops with gift money.
Jihyeon and I thought it would be fun have some sparklers.
Pictures and the guest book.
It's starting to come together.
Next up was Jihyeon's turn to have her hair done.
And then mum.
Meanwhile, us men get on with the real manly work, like carrying lace covered arches.
The clock was ticking and guests would be arriving soon, so Jihyeon along with her sister, mother and father set about decorating the tables with the flowers we had collected from the garden and around the neighbourhood the day before.
Jihyeon's sister putting the finishing touch on the arch.
We used two flowers to decorate the tables, Bougainvilleas (the purple flowers) and Bottle Brushes (the red flowers).
For about 2 months prior, the bottle brushes had been flowering everywhere in the neighbourhood. I never really noticed them before, but when you start looking you can hardly throw a stick without hitting a bottle brush tree. There are about 50 different species of the bottle brush flower, but they all display the characteristic of looking like a brush for cleaning bottles. The great thing about bottle brush flowers is they are hardy and don't wilt easily, even in the blistering sun.
Tables decorated.... check.
The sun is bloody hot in Australia. You gotta find shade wherever you can.
Now that the tables were done, Jihyeon could finally start getting ready.
While Jihyeon was getting ready, the guests started arriving.
Better feed the guests. Thanks to Mum and Aunty Glennis for getting some snacks ready.
Meanwhile Jihyeon put on her Hanbok with her mum's help.
The Kang family ready to go.
The handsome groom putting on his hanbok.
Showcasing what every man needs, a lovely pink handbag.
Meanwhile, Doug and Peter got their lies about me straight.
The two days prior and the 3 days after it rained in the afternoon. Very lucky to have blue skies.
Time to start
First my parents.
Then my in-laws.
My mate Anthony doing a pro job pressing the play button on the music.
Next, Jihyeon and I.
Doug introducing himself and kicking the show off.
My grandmother doing a bible reading.
Peter telling lies about me.
Jihyeon and I decided to write our own vows. Below are mine.
Our time together so far has seemed like one big adventure. As we settle into a routine here in Australia,
I promise not to take the little things you do for me for granted.To be there when you need me, in good times and in bad.To kiss you before going to work every morning.To be patient.To never shout at you.And to still hold your hand even when we are old and gray.
These are Jihyeon's vows.
I'm looking forward to settling down with you in Australia, and I won't forget the little things that make life special.
I promise to put myself into your shoes and try to understand you more when we have disagreements.To tell you that "I love you" every day.To make our home a comfortable and restful place for you after you come home from work.To make you smile every day.To tell you that you're handsome, even after you lose all your hair and have a face full of wrinkles.To stay next to you and take care of you when you are sick.
My wife's family.
My cousins on my mothers side.
My aunts and uncles on my mothers side.
My aunts and uncles on my fathers side.
All the family, with my grandmother and grandfather sitting in front.
And finally a group shot of everyone.
Time to cut the cake. It was nice to actually cut and eat the cake. In Korea they had a very weird cake cutting ceremony. They played some strange music, wheeled a cake out on a trolley, gave us a blunt sword to pretend to slice the cake with, and then wheeled it back over to the corner of the room. I'm sure they re-use the cake for about a week's worth of weddings before replacing it. Anyway, the cake we had in Australia was delicious.
Dad and Greg putting some more beer out.
Food in Korea typically isn't terribly sweet, so the cake (which was absolutely delicious imo) was a bit of a shock to my mother and father in-law.
The wishing well.
The sun quickly setting.
Dad, both my uncle John's and uncle Ross carving the roast.
Dad reheating the potato bake.
Aunty Trudy cooking some fried rice.
Lots of help in the kitchen.
While everyone else is working hard, I'm busy pretending to be James Bond.
Time to light the candles.
Thumbs up to Jihyeon for spending hours decorating all the jars. They look great with candles in them.
Henry, a well known local trouble maker.
And here is another renowned trouble maker, my Grandfather.
Almost dinner time.
Nom nom nom.
I was a little worried about there being enough light, but between the fairy lights and the candles on the table it seemed to work out well.
First speech was from my Dad.
nananananananana Soju man.
When my parents visited me in Korea we packed a heap of Soju in their bags on their way home. Soju is a popular alcohol in Korea usually consumed as a shot. It is often described as Korean vodka and smells like methylated spirits. We thought it would be nice if everyone had the option of doing a Soju shot with my father-in-law at the end of his speech.
My father-in-law doesn't speak English, but my wife was kind enough to translate his speech so everyone could understand.
Next up would be my speech, but we had a few technical difficulties with the macbook. We ended up getting a second laptop and reverting back good old reliable Windows.
I also prepared a photo slideshow of our time together. If you are interested, the full video is here.
Dessert time! Ice cream and fruit salad.
Jihyeon giving her speech.
And lastly, aunty Val giving her speech, telling all sorts of lies about me.
Lastly, we thought it would be fun to do do some long exposure photos using sparklers.
Here we were each trying to do half of a heart. See how much better mine is than Jihyeon's :P