I got married in March 29, 2015 in Seoul. My in-laws traveled all the way from the US for our traditional Korean wedding. I’m lucky to have a family who loves to travel. Some of our friends in other countries as far as New Zealand also came over for the ceremony. We had a great wedding. It was a perfect cultural mash-up. But because of the distance, we couldn’t have all the relatives and friends in the US who we wanted to come. So my in-laws decided to throw us a wedding reception in Pennsylvania, Stephen’s home state.
July 25, 2015 we had our long overdue wedding reception with friends and family in Scranton, PA. We had about 60 guests; Immediate families, distant cousins, neighbors, good friends, college friends, childhood friends, and their children all came out to celebrate our wedding. My parents would have love to come, but it was a long way for them to travel for just a day of celebration. Thankfully my brother was also able to join as the representative of the Kim family.
I wore hanbok, a traditional Korean dress, that my mom bought for me to wear at occasions like this. I wore different hanbok for the wedding in Korea. My in-laws also wore hanbok they made for the Korea wedding. It was nice to show our guests a bit of Korean tradition at traditional American function.
Another cute cultural mash-up was found at the wedding cake. My mother-in-law wanted us to have a wedding cake, because that’s the American tradition. I choose flavor, filling, and icing of the cake (there were so many!) and I could ask whatever I wanted for the decoration. I asked to have wedding geese as a cake topper and rose of sharon for decoration. Wedding geese are an important symbol in traditional Korean wedding. Because geese (mandarin duck, to be exact) are mate for life, it symbolizes a long and happy marriage. Rose of sharon(hibiscus) is my country’s national flower.
They were seven tables. Thanks to my creative brother-in-law Michael, we had the cutest table number setting. Instead of having numeric table number, a photo of us from each countries we traveled was the table ‘number’; Poland, Italy, Bhutan, Peru, etc. We presented some of our guests with the photos.
Starting from the cocktail hour to dinner, the function lasted about four hours. It was one of the most joyous days. It meant a lot to meet all the friends and family who are important to Stephen and my in-laws. I finally got to meet Stephen’s godparents, their old neighbors, and distant cousins. Some of them haven’t seen each other for decades! It was sort of like a big family reunion. We also had friends who we haven’t seen for many years. We visited some of Stephen’s university friends but it was already many years ago. He also had a few childhood friends who he grew up playing soccer and were in Boy Scout together. They were the honorary family. Our friends from our neighborhood in Virginia also came a long way to join the celebration. I felt loved.
It was a lot of work to arrange this all together, but I have to thank my mother-in-law who was in charge of everything. It was her idea and she powered through to the end. I couldn’t even imagine what would I have done if I was arranging an American wedding. There are so.many.things. to decide! American brides, how did you do it? Anyway, this small but elegant reception was the perfect way to meet everyone. Everyone seemed to enjoy it.
The importance of family is one of the easiest things in life to forget. Because they are always there, no matter what, and we know that in the back of our heads. It’s great to remind that once in a while through occasions like this. What I’ve learned at the Korea wedding is that the wedding is not just for the couples, but also for everyone else who are in our lives. It’s a big happy event, and we are all in it together.
Family matters, and I’ve got the best in-laws.