Bring back some good or bad memories


June 1, 2022

30 Vintage Photographs of South Korean Weddings From the 1950s

Marriage in Korea mirrors many of the practices and expectations of marriages in other societies.

Traditional wedding attire for grooms was samogwandae, which refers to the uniforms of government officials of Joseon. It consisted of a samo (black gauze hat), dallyeong (robe with a round neckband) and mokhwa (black boots). The hyungbae (insignia embroidered on the breast and back of the robe) and gakdae (lit. square belt) differed depending on the official’s rank, but this did not apply to the groom, and he could wear the hyungbae and gakdae of his choice regardless of rank and whether or not he had a government position. When the groom entered the daeryecheong (an outdoor banquet hall for a wedding), he held a saseon (square fan with two handles) with both hands to cover his face.

Traditional wedding attire for brides was called noguihongsang (lit. green top and red skirt), and consisted of a crimson skirt and either a green or yellow jeogori (top) over a pink inner garment. The bride also put on either a hwarot (wedding overcoat) and hwagwan (flower crown) or a wonsam (ceremonial robe) and jokduri (crown-like headpiece). The crimson skirt was a staple, but the color of the jeogori and type of robe and headpiece differed in each family.

An essential part of a wedding ceremony is hair and make-up. The bride powdered her face, put rouge on her lips, and put a red rouge spot on her cheeks and forehead. She either wore a ga, a big wig made of braided hair) or put her hair up in a chignon and fixed it with a binyeo (ornamental hair rod) adorned with a dragon pattern or plum blossoms and bamboo leaves. A daenggi (ribbon) was attached to each side of the binyeo, and a jokduri or hwagwan placed on top of the head with a long piece of the ribbon hanging down from the headpiece.

The bride’s wedding garments were sent by the groom’s family, but at times it was also provided by the bride’s family or borrowed from someone in the village. The representative bridal wear was won-sam, especially the green wonsam, which was traditionally the ceremonial dress of princesses. The robe has very wide color striped sleeves with han-sam (sleeve extensions attached at the end to completely cover the hands).

After Korea opened its ports to foreign trade, Western wedding customs were introduced and spread among the intelligentsia and Christians in the big cities. Grooms began wearing tailcoats while brides wore a white jeogori and skirt with a veil over the face, which was a blend of traditional and modern bridal attire. But during the Japanese colonial period (1910-1945) and the Korean War (1950-1953) and the aftermath, people could not afford formal wedding attire due to dire economic conditions, and in many cases, brides had to make do with a skirt and jeogori and a cloth covering the hands.

1 comment:

  1. For the "happiest" day of their lives, no one looks very happy.




Browse by Decades

Popular Posts


09 10