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What are the rules of marriage in Korea?


Marriage is a significant and essential aspect of life in South Korea. It is considered an essential social institution that binds two individuals for a lifetime. The rules governing marriage in Korea are based on traditional customs, cultural beliefs, and legal provisions. This article aims to provide comprehensive information about the rules of marriage in Korea.

Traditional Customs

Korean marriages are heavily influenced by traditional customs that date back to the Joseon Dynasty. One of the primary customs is arranged marriages, where parents or matchmakers arrange marriages based on social and economic factors. Another custom is the exchange of wedding gifts between families, which include cash, jewelry, and other symbolic items.

Legal Provisions

Korean law recognizes marriages between a man and a woman who are at least 18 years old. The law also prohibits marriage between close relatives, including siblings, parents, grandparents, and grandchildren. A person who wishes to get married must register their intention at a local government office.

Wedding Ceremonies

Korean wedding ceremonies are a grand affair that involves several rituals and traditions. One of the most popular rituals is the Pyebaek, where the newlyweds bow to their parents and receive blessings from them. Another important tradition is the exchange of wedding vows, rings, and the sharing of a goose or duck during the reception.

Family Roles

In Korean culture, family plays a vital role in marriage. It is customary for the bride to move in with her husband’s family after marriage. The groom’s family is responsible for providing financial support to the couple and ensuring their well-being.


Divorce rates in Korea have increased significantly in recent years. The legal process for divorce can be lengthy and complicated. The law requires couples to undergo mandatory counseling before filing for divorce. If the counseling is unsuccessful, the couple can file for a divorce through the court.

Marriage Migration

Marriage migration is a phenomenon where foreign nationals marry Korean citizens to gain residency and citizenship in the country. The Korean government has implemented strict regulations to prevent fraudulent marriages and protect the rights of the parties involved.

Wedding Attire

Korean wedding attire is known for its elegance and sophistication. The bride typically wears a hanbok, a traditional Korean dress that comes in various colors and designs. The groom wears a traditional Korean suit called a gat, which is made of silk or cotton.

Wedding Photography

Korean wedding photography is a popular trend that involves taking pictures of the newlyweds in different locations and poses. Couples often take pre-wedding photoshoots to capture beautiful memories before their big day.

Wedding Venues

Wedding venues in Korea range from traditional temples and palaces to modern hotels and event spaces. Couples can choose from various locations depending on their budget, preferences, and cultural beliefs.

Wedding Food

Korean wedding food is a delicious blend of traditional and modern cuisine. Some popular dishes include bulgogi, kimchi, japchae, and tteok. Wedding receptions often feature a multi-course meal that reflects the couple’s tastes and cultural background.


In conclusion, marriage in Korea is a sacred institution that is governed by traditional customs, legal provisions, and cultural beliefs. Understanding the rules and traditions of Korean marriages is essential for anyone planning to get married or attend a wedding in Korea. This article aims to provide comprehensive information about the rules of marriage in Korea to help readers better understand this fascinating aspect of Korean culture.

What is Korean culture for marriage?

The union of marriage symbolizes the merging of two families into one, which means both sets of parents play an important role in various parts of the wedding celebration. They dress in special attire, exchange meaningful gifts, and offer blessings to the newlyweds throughout the festivities.

Do koreans take their husbands last name?

Korean names are made up of two components: a family name and a given name. In line with many other cultures, the child traditionally inherits their father’s surname, but it is not customary for Korean women to take their husband’s surname after marriage.

What happens if you marry a Korean?

If a foreigner is married to a Korean citizen, they can obtain an F-6 marriage immigrant visa. Those who are already living in Korea with a different visa can switch to F-6. The visa is initially valid for one year and must be renewed every one or two years thereafter.

Who pays for a Korean wedding?

In Korea, it is traditional for the groom’s family to cover the expenses of the wedding, including the venue, food, and other charges. Meanwhile, the bride’s family typically pays for her wedding gown and any other smaller expenses.

How long are Korean couples together before marriage?

In Korea, it is common for couples to exchange rings after being together for 100 days. While dating in Korea can be enjoyable, it is not necessary for a fulfilling life. Having a partner can bring many positive experiences, but one can still have a fulfilling life without one.

Do they wear wedding rings in Korea?

The practice of wearing wedding bands varies among different age groups, with younger couples typically choosing to wear engagement, wedding or couple rings. In Korean jewelry, diamonds were not traditionally incorporated.

Modern Trends

While traditional customs still play a significant role in Korean weddings, modern trends have emerged in recent years. One of the most notable trends is the rise of non-traditional wedding ceremonies. Some couples opt for outdoor weddings, beach weddings, or even destination weddings to make their big day more memorable.

Another modern trend is the use of technology in weddings. Couples often create online invitations, wedding websites, and social media pages to share their wedding details with guests. Some also incorporate photo booths, drones, and live streaming services to capture and share their special moments.

Wedding Costs

Korean weddings can be quite expensive, with costs ranging from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. The cost of the wedding depends on various factors such as the venue, catering, photography, and attire. Some couples even take out loans or go into debt to finance their wedding.

To address this issue, some couples opt for smaller and more intimate weddings or choose to split the costs with their families. The Korean government has also introduced measures to reduce the financial burden of weddings, such as tax breaks for wedding expenses and subsidies for low-income couples.

Same-Sex Marriage

Same-sex marriage is not legal in Korea. However, there has been increasing public support for LGBTQ+ rights in recent years. Some local governments have introduced measures to recognize same-sex partnerships and provide legal protections for LGBTQ+ individuals.

Despite these efforts, same-sex couples still face significant challenges in Korea. Many face discrimination and social stigma, and there are no legal provisions for same-sex marriage or adoption.


Korean weddings are a beautiful blend of tradition, culture, and modern trends. While they can be expensive and require significant planning, they are a cherished celebration of love and commitment. As Korea continues to evolve and embrace new ideas and values, it will be interesting to see how wedding customs and traditions will continue to evolve.

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