Choosing the Venue: Korea (Part 1)

From our wedding website:

David and I spent several days after our visit to Singapore to look for THE perfect venue for us. Because I’ve always dreamt of a classy wedding venue that boasted the long, heighened aisle, I knew it would be a hotel wedding. We had a lot of fun looking at Hyatt, Ritz Carlton, Shilla, J.W. Marriott, and Raum (planned by David!), but the funnest part for me was watching the Korean representatives get creative in their marketing strategies. One manager snaped his fingers and the door to the main ball flung open with loud wedding music and dramatic lighting. We narrowed it down to Shilla and Ritz Carlton, because we loved Shilla’s traditional Korean-style wedding hall “영빈관” and Ritz Carlton’s beautiful and classy interior decor.  We ultimately went with Ritz, because Ritz had the heightened aisle (and high ceilings!) and 영빈관 didn’t. I wanted to capture a sense of elegance and class at our wedding that would be remembered for years to come, and the Ritz-Carlton empire proved just that. We plan to return on our anniversaries and stay at the Ritz Suite as we would on our wedding night^^”

In Korea, I found out there are four main types of wedding venues.

1. Hotel weddings

2. 하우스웨딩 (“House wedding”),

3. Wedding convention halls

4. and Churches.

In both hotels and wedding convention halls, Korea has these long “heightened walking aisle” that I love, which looks something like this:

There’s just something about the long raised aisles makes the entrance so grand and princess-y. It can be set to either black, white, or beige in most venues, with black being the most popular. (They say the black color on aisle makes the bride’s dress stand out when walking in)

Hotel weddings in Korea are considered prestigious, and for a guest number of around 300 people, you can expect to pay $30,000~$90,000, depending on your meal choice, flower upgrades, choir team, etc. But what’s great about hotel weddings in Korea is that not only do they provide a suite room on the night of your wedding, they also provide a free limousine service to the ICN airport for your honeymoon trip next day! With certain packages, they also offer you a complementary room for bridal showers and proposal events. I couldn’t help but to fall in love with Korea’s upscale service.

The “House” wedding, as Koreans call it, is an American-style wedding where ceremony is separate from the reception area. My planner and 시어머니 (mother-in-law) told me Koreans generally don’t like moving to a different location after the ceremony, and it’s sort of 실례 (rude) to ask to do so. That’s why in most Korean wedding halls, the reception tables are set inside the ceremony hall and everything takes place in one location.  People watch as the ceremony goes on at their tables, and once it’s over, the food is served. I actually like this setting better because everything seems more grand with decorated round tables surrounding the aisle. Here’s a pic of the ballroom at Ritz Carlton where I’ll be having my wedding:

 “House” weddings usually mimic a chapel, and look something like this:

This is 라움 (Raum), the top “house wedding” or the non-hotel venue that they say only the top 1~2% of Korea’s elites hold their weddings and events. It’s similar in price to the 5-star hotels in korea, with packages starting at $56,000.  We were told that some Koreans don’t feel it’s worth paying as much as hotel weddings at a venue that lacks name and history. But Raum’s interior was indeed BEAUTIFUL, and everything looked grand as if it were some type of a European historic landmark. Raum is the only venue that provides both House and regular reception-style weddings (they have two ballrooms for each type). Personally, we didn’t like it as much either because I’m already from America and I’m bored of the whole “chapel concept” weddings with the typical linear chair lineup, unless it’s a real church. Another notable house wedding in Seoul is 빌라드베일리 (villadebailey), which is also similar in design to Raum.

We didn’t look at any wedding convention halls, but there are a lot of beautiful ones as well if you’re on a budget. I’ve seen pictures, and they’re not bad at all! They are moderately priced, starting from $10,000~35,000. The downside is that they have multiple weddings going on at the same time at some of them because they have many ballrooms per convention building.   But they can be packaged cheaply through a planner and that’s a big plus.

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