The pandemic couldn’t stop people from falling in love. Despite brutal social distancing measures, many people meet new people to find love, and some get married.
Marriage might not mean ultimate love, but celebrating it is always delightful and lovely. A bridal shower is a momentous event for brides-to-be where they invite loved ones and spend meaningful time together before the wedding.
In a dictionary, “a bridal shower is a daytime event in celebration of the bride’s upcoming marriage. Traditionally, it’s an opportunity for guests to give the couple gifts for the home.” I believe many westerners are familiar with it, but Koreans have seen bridal showers only in American TV shows—until recently.
It’s been only a few years since this culture was imported to Korea. And now it’s become a pre-marriage tradition among young Korean women. We don’t have to go too far to find an example. Our former editor, Natuur Yoo, wrote about her wedding and, of course, a bridal shower.
Do you want to know how bridal showers look like in Korea?
Let’s watch this video first.
Park Min Young, an actress, prepared her bestie’s bridal shower. It is common in Korea for friends to organize a bridal shower for a bride-to-be. Some people do it as a surprise party. I’ve never seen a bride make invitation cards and set everything up needed for a shower by herself in Korea.
As you might expect, a bridal shower is a friends thing in Korea. While family members—especially Mom or aunts—would help prepare and attend bridal showers (at least in the U.S.), the Korean version of bridal shower is for friends. It’s more like a girls’ night (or day).
Also, some people throw bridal showerS with different groups of friends on different dates. Koreans—in this case, girls—usually hang out in a small group. It’s unusual to invite everyone on your friends’ list to one single big party (I think it’s because people refrain from making awkward situations). Instead, Koreans usually hold several bridal showers on a smaller scale.
My friend, who got married last November, threw three bridal showers, for instance. Each shower had slightly different themes, and I attended the one that I can title “Party for Summer Bride.”
Since Korea is a size-wise small country, most people live in an apartment or a studio. Plus, many young Koreans live with their parents before getting married—including me, myself, and I. Therefore, it’s hard to throw a bridal party (or even a regular party) in their own places, so people rent a house or a hotel room to spend time.
Party space rental businesses are now thriving. Some places rent party supplies needed for a bridal shower. Some others set up everything in place, including balloons, placards, etc.
Getting back to the definition of a bridal shower, giving gifts to a bride is generally an essential element. However, I think Korean people focus more on the party itself. Eating, taking pictures, and enjoying time with friends are important in Korean bridal showers.
It’s mainly because of the culture of giving money to the bride on the wedding day. It’s called 축의금(chug-ui-geum), meaning a money gift for a celebration. Also, people give gifts to newly-weds in housewarmings. But it depends on groups—some give small gifts, or big ones (maybe when they truly love the bride).
Whatever it looks like, a celebration is a blessing. A bridal shower has become a meaningful event for Korean girls to spend enjoyable time with friends before getting married.