In Korea, the marriage between a man and woman represents the joining of two families, rather than the joining of two individuals. As such, the event was often called Taerye (Great Ritual), and people from all over participated. Steeped in traditional Confucian values, the ceremonies and events surrounding the actual marriage were long and elaborate, from the pairing of the couple to the rituals performed after the ceremony.
Professional matchmakers paired up likely candidates for marriage, with the new couple often meeting for the first time at their wedding! The families considered many factors in the decision, consuting with fortune tellers for predictions about the couple’s future life together. During the Chosun period, people married in their early teens, with the girl often being several years older than the boy.
The groom usually traveled to the house of the bride for the ceremony, then stayed there for 3 days before taking his new bride to his family’s home. The actual ceremony involved many small rituals, with many bows and symbolic gestures. The participants were expected to control their emotions and remain somber.