How to Get Married in Korea in 2021

Want to get married in Korea?

Not sure how to do it? 

Marriage between Koreans and non-Koreans is becoming more common. But, there are a few things to be aware of before tying the knot.

This guide will show you how to make it happen.

How to Get Married in Korea

Can I get married in Korea?

Marriage in Korea is a civil procedure.

Koreans normally have a separate wedding ceremony at a wedding hall, hotel or church.

Before or after the ceremony, the couple visits city hall or a district office (구청) and registers their marriage (혼인신고).

It’s also possible to have a beautiful South Korean traditional wedding ceremony and register in your home country.

Seoul City hall
Seoul City Hall is an exception. Check out Jongno-gu Office (종로구청) instead for marriage registration.

Do I need a visa to get married in Korea?

There’s no special visa required to have a wedding ceremony in Korea. Keep in mind that since it’s a civil ceremony, you need to file for a marriage license separately.

After marrying a Korean, you can also obtain an F-6 visa that allows for long-term stay and employment.

How many international marriages are there in Korea?

International marriages are increasing every year in Korea. In 2019, 23,643 international couples (a Korean citizen and non-Korean) got married.

The majority of transnational marriages are between Korean men and Vietnamese women, followed by Chinese and then Thai.

What is the average marriage age in Korea?

What is the average marriage age in Korea

As of 2019, the average age at first marriage is 33.37 for Korean men and 30.59 for Korean women according to KOSIS.

Almost half of my Korean friends are not married yet.

Also, my acquaintances in Seoul are getting married way later than those in my countryside hometown.

This is probably because housing prices in Seoul or 수도권 (metropolitan area) are ridiculously expensive.

As a trend, more and more Koreans are choosing a 비혼주의 (non-marriage) lifestyle.

What do I need to get married in Korea as a US citizen?

What do I need to get married in Korea as a US citizen

In summary, you need an Affidavit of Eligibility for Marriage (혼인요건 증명서), Korean translation of it (혼인요건 증명서 번역본), registration of marriage (혼인신고서), your passport, and Korean partner’s ID card.

For American and Korean couples, US citizens should make an appointment, visit their embassy and obtain an Affidavit of Eligibility for Marriage, which costs 50 dollars and is valid for 3 months.

You’ll also need a Korean translation of the Affidavit of Eligibility for Marriage.

Many websites suggest to get it notarized, but any Korean can do it.

Just make sure to include your Korean partner’s (translator’s) name, phone number and signature at the bottom.

The next document you need is a Registration of Marriage. Your Korean partner should be able to fill out the form.

It’s recommended to print it, fill it out, and get the info and signatures of 2 witnesses, which can be anyone including parents, before you go to the district office (구청).

Lingua Asia_registration of family relation_2021

Once it’s done, you’ll receive a Certificate of Marriage Registration (수리증명서) and be registered with a Korean marriage certificate (혼인관계증명서) after 3-5 days.

How much is a wedding in Korea?

Koreans spend 200,000,000 KRW (about 164,621 USD) on average for marriage.

The majority of this, about 180,000,000 KRW goes to housing. But, you need at least 400,000,000 or 600,000,000 KRW to get 전세 in Seoul.

The rest of the budget is for the wedding hall (13,000,000 KRW), 스드메 or studio photo, dress, makeup package (3,000,000 KRW), 예물 or wedding present given by the bride and groom to each other (13,000,000 KRW), 예단 or wedding present given by the bride to the groom’s family (15,000,000 KRW), 혼수 or articles essential to a marriage ceremony, usually furniture (11,000,000 KRW), 신혼여행 or honeymoon (5,000,000 KRW).

Now, younger generations tend to reduce unnecessary formalities and vanity to minimize costs, skipping 예물 and 예단.

Also, the trend of small weddings set by celebrities is helping reduce the price.

Who pays for a wedding in Korean culture?

In Korea, the groom normally pays for the house, which costs the most. Since housing prices are really high in Korea. The groom’s parents often have to pitch in.

The conflict with 시댁 (in-law family) begins here.

Now, Korean couples are trying to buy their houses together to minimize the interference of in-law families.

On the other hand, most brides pay for all the furniture (혼수). It’s common for Korean brides to fill up the house.

For everything other than house and furniture, there’s an unwritten rule for brides and grooms to pay equally. This includes the wedding ceremony and honeymoon.

Do Korean wives take their husband’s name?

No. Korean wives keep their maiden name.

However, when a couple has kids, their children will.

This became a bit problematic as the divorce rate went up in Korea. If the ex-husband doesn’t pay child support or visit for a long time, the mother can file a claim to change her kid’s last name to hers.

Although not every case gets permission from the judge to change last names.

After remarriage, children can take their stepfather’s last name, which is more common.

What to bring as a gift to a Korean Wedding?

What to bring as a gift to a Korean Wedding

Close friends of the bride and groom will give something for the home like a talking rice cooker or TV before the wedding.

Everyone else can bring cash in an envelope to the wedding(no one actually brings gifts). The amount can vary from 30,000 KRW for acquaintances to 100,000 KRW for old friends.

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Did we miss anything?

Getting married in Korea isn’t a difficult process if you’re willing to jump through a few hoops.

There are cultural differences that you’ll want to be aware of, though the gap is narrowing as Korea becomes more westernized.

Feel free to ask a question in the comments or share your experiences.

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