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Why young couples opt for unconventional weddings – Aju Press

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Yonhap

SEOUL, June 7 (AJU PRESS) – Sharing wedding vows in front of hundreds of guests in a formal and sacred ceremony has long been the norm for most Koreans, something they might experience at least once in their lifetime, although it comes with extravagant bills.

But amid economic downturn along with the erosion of traditional values, many cash-strapped young couples now turn to more intimate and casual weddings. These weddings usually come in the form of private parties or simple festivities with more manageable guest lists with only close friends and family members in attendance, as they opt for unique and meaningful celebrations over traditional extravagance.

Such low-key weddings also bring changes to various aspects of wedding preparation, from selecting venues to gowns and gift choices. Brides and grooms these days often want to focus on elements that reflect their personalities and values, making their big day truly special and memorable for themselves. The most notable shift in this trend is the choice of wedding venues.

Gone are the days of hotel ballrooms or grand wedding halls. Today, couples embrace unique settings like cafés, restaurants, and outdoor venues that resonate with their love story or evoke memories of their first date.

A man in his early 30s surnamed Kim, who just got married early this year, said he had considered about holding a grand ceremony while planning his wedding. But he soon found a typical wedding ceremony unappealing for him and his fiancé, so they instead decided to make their special day even more special with a small, memorable event.

Their wedding ceremony was held at the rooftop of a restaurant in Seoul where they first started dating. Despite some opposition from their family and friends, the couple proceeded with their envisioned wedding plans. This unconventional wedding eventually became a memorable event for the couple as well as their friends as they mingled and engaged in various games and fun activities, without an officiator or other typical practices like walking down the aisle. “We wanted our wedding to be about us, not other people’s expectations,” Kim explained.

Kim’s story is far from unique. Following her heart, a twenty-something surnamed Jo in Seoul opted for a unique celebration last year. Instead of a formal ceremony, she threw an unforgettable dance party complete with a DJ spinning energetic beats, a vibrant alternative to the typical, often-dull weddings she found uninspiring.

“I really wanted to have a truly special celebration, more like a festival than a stiff and boring ceremony,” Jo recalled. “Some questioned whether a party-style wedding fit Korean customs, but for me, it was about making a unique and unforgettable memory. Music and parties are a big part of our lives, so a wedding reflecting our tastes felt deeply personal and meaningful,” she added.

With this trend and the changing perceptions of lifestyle and marriage, young Koreans are increasingly prioritizing their own happiness over conventional values, preferring weddings that reflect their individual tastes rather than adhering to conventional norms and practices. This shift is driven not only by a desire for individuality but also by the soaring cost of weddings.

According to a 2023 report by matchmaking company Duo, the average wedding cost including housing expenses for newlyweds was a staggering 330.5 million won (approximately $254,231). That is a hefty price tag, considering the average income of young Koreans aged from their late teens to their 30s stood at 27.81 million won ($21,392) in 2022, according to Statistics Korea.

For this reason, many young couples are throwing off the shackles of conventional weddings, prioritizing personal happiness and individual values over social expectations. They are no longer bound by convention. This trend has also increased demand for unusual wedding products and services, catering to personalized weddings and accommodating a wider range of budgets and options.

“Many young couples are less concerned about how others perceive or judge them. They want to spend their money in things that reflect their values, whether they be western-style parties, unique celebrations, or creative events,” a wedding planner in Gangnam, southern Seoul told Aju Press early this week. “We are seeing a new wedding culture emerging.”

This post was originally published on this site

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