Whether a fan or not, you must have come across the TikTok video Pretty Woman Slays in Korean Wedding Dress, which showcases the marriage of a South African woman to her Korean fiance. The video has garnered over 150,000 likes on the short-video streaming platform and innumerable likes! Admirers have been gushing over how the lady has embraced her bae’s culture by donning the hanbok.
This traditional wedding dress comes from the Korean Royal Era (especially during the Joseon dynasty). Recently there was news that RM, the leader of the South Korean K-pop behemoth BTS, has donated a massive $100 million to restore a Joseon era ‘hwarot’ – the traditional Korean bridal costume.
For those who are more used to seeing K-land celebs in white bridal gowns, let us take you back to the original range of Korean wedding dresses before listing the Western versions of those. Here’s how the story began –
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What is the traditional Korean wedding dress?
Koreans traditionally dress in hanboks for their wedding. This costume – currently known as the National Dress Of Korea has an interesting history. Once upon a time, when Korea was a monarchy, this hanbok was reserved for the princesses and concubines associated with monarchy. Civilians could only, with special permission, wear it on their wedding day. With the end of the Joseon period, this ceremonial gown became the outfit not just for weddings but also for other occasions.
So, what makes this attire so distinct and trend-worthy? The answer: its dainty presentation – the perfect top jacket with a long skirt (keeping with Korean modesty standards) and attractive shades of red-blue (the perfect yin-yang combo)!
The hanboks that women wear – consist of a shirt (jeogori) and a wraparound skirt (chima). For those going all formal, they wear embellished headgear (jokduri) with a hwarot (silk woven robe) or a wonsam (ceremonial double-layered silk robe with red silk outside and blue silk on the inside). Floral stitches on their skirts are a unique feature specific to the Koreans. The bow present on the hanbok precisely points to the left, while the decorative pendants (norigae) hang low.
If you are looking for an eloquent Korean wedding dress reminiscent a little more of the past – there is also a dangui style hanbok that was reserved for Joseon Dynasty ladies, which came with a phoenix imprint.
Do the men wear hanbok for their wedding?
As far as the men are concerned – they wear a jeogori with baji (a pair of loose pants). On top of that, they are to wear a long coat and belt with a headgear called samo(cap with wings).
In modern times, men have started opting for a tuxedo jacket formal look for their wedding.
What colors do the Koreans favor?
The distinctiveness of the Korean wedding dress is its vibrant shades, which correspond to the categorical yin-yang Chinese concept. This yin-yang fundamental is the blending of energies – where the bride’s red hanbok (yang) balances and brings harmony to the groom’s blue hanbok (yin). The other preferred shades are – white, yellow, pink, or purple. When it comes to the wonsam, you can pick either red or green, depending on how you wish to color coordinate.
With time, the traditional has touched the contemporary, and if you intend to wear a hanbok for your wedding, you can add a couple of ruffles to it!
Can you twist the traditional Korean wedding dress?
As beautiful and dainty bride, as a hanbok may make you look, if you wish to give a little spin to this traditional outfit, here are some styles that you can pursue. Let us give you a glimpse of the same –
. If you wish to give your wedding a contemporary look, you can ditch the jeogori (upper part of hanbok) and opt for an off-shoulder look with a typical Korean bow. Rather than red, go in for pastel tones or neutral shades. A flower band to hold back your hair would be a perfect add-on.
. Have you ever thought of netted hanboks? Stunning in presentation, these hanboks have layered nets on the jeogori as well as double layers on the chima (skirt). If you wish, you may also print some floral embellishments on the skirt.
. How about halter neck hanbok? Yes, giving a bold twist to the traditional Korean wedding dress – this off-shoulder set-up comes with a halter neck collar. To accessorize your outfit, you can always pick a cashmere wraparound in warm tones, contrasting your wedding dress.
. For those who wish to make a style statement but within the traditional boundaries, here is how to do it – style your jeogori and chima more like a lace top and a net-skirt, singular pieces. Also, try contrasting the shades with lower tones of red and blue instead of the original one. This will maintain the classic format yet with a chic twist!
Coming out of the traditional Korean wedding outfit, these variations make for great alternatives!
How did the Western influence come along?
For those wondering how the Western influence on Korean wedding dress came along, here’s the anecdote – the 1st Western-influenced wedding ceremony happened back in 1890. The change happened costume-wise, and the ceremony instead of the bride’s home took place at a wedding hall – a tradition that has since been followed.
Now that you have an idea about the traditional wedding dress of Korea, the hanbok, and even checked out some twists that you can give to them – how about checking out how the celebs have been styling themselves up for their D-day? Here is a look at the same –
Celeb-inspired Korean wedding dress look
For any would-be bride, trying out a celeb look is always on the list. So, if you want to be inspired by the modern Korean woman look, here’s the list that you can check out –
. Son Ye Jin has always been the audience’s darling. So, if she is your ‘ideal bride’ as well, then you could copy her bridal outfit that was all about – a lace-embedded gown that came backed with a corset bodice. For another of her wedding ceremonies, she picked a tulle ball gown with a Bardot cut that lent the perfect grace to her being. Though modern Korean women pick white as the color of their gowns, you could always go in for pastels.
. Bored of the usual gowns? We’ll give you a patterned option! Dress in a ‘strikingly beautiful way’ like the bride Park Shin Hye – who wore a geometric patterned gown for her wedding photoshoot. You too could tailor your wedding gown in geometric or any other preferred pattern and maybe go in for floral ornamentation on that. Topping that, go in for an off-shoulder with a petal-layered neckline.
K-drama inspired Korean bridal dress
. What if you are looking for a Korean wedding dress that is quite simple yet elegant, with minimal adornment? You could pick one that Bae Suzy wore for her hit drama series – Start-Up. This gown is simply tailored and comes with lotus sleeves, minimalist earrings, and a crown. You could add some net to this attire and opt for a warm shade.
. Korean superstar Jun Ji Hyun has been a fashion icon – both on and off the screens! You could always pick a style or two from her wedding attire. For her real wedding – she had worn a flowy floral gown encrusted with stones and followed it up with a bohemian white-lace gown that came with a bodice quite like a crystal cape. For those wanting something less dressy and more trendy, you could always opt for her reel wedding look from her hit drama – My Love From The Star – where her bridal dress was the classic sleeveless wedding gown wrapped with transparent patterned silk.
These are some of the trending options that you can check out when you are looking to deck up in a Korean bridal dress. To go all traditional or fuse a Western influence into it is entirely up to you. Hope you make for a perfectly stunning bride!
With K-drama fantasy land enveloping the world, if you intend to pick up a Korean wedding dress for your big day – the options are unending! Whether a traditional or a customized hanbok or celeb-inspired/drama-type look, the choices are to the brim. A wedding is a deep sentimental moment for you and your respective families – connecting you for a lifetime. Pick well for your big day. If required, customize to make it ‘all yours’! If you liked this post, then keep following Contour Cafe for such exciting news!!
Monalisa Mukherjee is a content writer and copywriter with close to 3 years of experience. She has written for websites like Biography Talk, Contour Cafe, He And She Fitness and Fiction Pad. She is currently associated with a noted Digital Marketing Agency and specialises in writing articles for travel, entertainment, cooking, celeb, lifestyle, tech, health, fashion and film news.