Article from Oh My News
Bride and groom hiring their wedding guests…I can understand what they were thinking.
A part-time wedding guest job involves attending the wedding of someone you don’t know, and to celebrate him or her pretending that you are their friend or colleague. There is even a possibility that parents and relatives (of the bride and groom) can be hired from a wedding guest agency. I have attended several wedding events as a wedding guest part-timer for about a year. At one wedding, most guests sitting in the bride and groom’s side were hired by the same agency.
If you Google “wedding guest business”, you will find countless wedding guest agencies. An agency I sometimes work with says it has hired up to 500 wedding guest part-timers on weekends during the peak season. It shows that the wedding guest market is anything but small.
I started a wedding guest part-time job when I was doing nothing at home, taking time off from work for health reasons. I felt awkward being lazy at home, so I thought if I look for some part-time jobs on weekend. I found an internet club for wedding guest part-time jobs. I was surprised to see a lot more members than I expected. On the other hand, it meant there were a lot of people who wanted to hire them for their wedding guests.
After joining the club, I introduced myself on the bulletin board. Since this club was for part-time jobs, it was harder than other internet clubs to be accepted as a member. It was mandatory to upload a picture of my face. I found out later was that some customers sometimes choose their guests by checking profile pictures. It made me uncomfortable that if someone is handsome or pretty, s/he can sell better even in this part-time industry.
While browsing the internet cafe, I received an online message asking if I could attend a wedding that weekend since they needed to hire more part-timers. That was my first time working as a wedding guest.
For wedding guest workers, sometimes there is no meal offered.
It was last January, in the cold winter. I arrived a little bit early waiting for other part-timers in front of the appointed wedding hall. After a while I saw a man looking around while looking overly conscious of other people. One of the club rules was not to show yourself as a paid wedding guest. Therefore I could not ask him why he came to the wedding.
After hesitating, I finally initiated a conversation with him and learned he attended a wedding as a paid wedding guest for the first time, just like me. The relief from meeting someone like me made me feel comfortable. After about 10 minutes, I found a team leader who looked like a professional.
The team leader distributed envelopes, calling each person’s name. My name was written on the envelope and 30,000 won was included. He said to act as if we were at our friend’s wedding. What we needed to do was to give the envelope [as a gift], receive a meal voucher, and go into the wedding hall.
Since customers of a wedding guest agency spend their money on part-timers, as a rule that they don’t give hired wedding guests a meal voucher, which is expensive. However, most of the customers treat a meal to part-timers who attended their wedding. Sometimes there are customers who ask for lots of things but don’t offer a meal, who are becoming the subject to talk among us.
If the customer is a groom, there aren’t that many things he will request. Most of the grooms ask us to greet them, pretending we are their friends or colleagues, and to join in a photo session with them after the wedding ceremony finishes. Occasionally, a groom asks us to set off firecrackers or cheer loudly if there is a singing event at the wedding, or to join an event by giving a rose to his bride when he is singing.
However, if the customer is a bride, there are usually more things to do. Usually she asks for female wedding guests, or a man and a woman acting as a couple. When I attended a wedding for the first time pretending I was the bride’s friend, it was awkward taking a picture with her in the waiting room before the wedding.
At first I started a wedding guest job for money, but now the reason has changed.
For over one year working as a wedding guest, I first thought. “Why do the bride and groom want part-timers for their weddings?” However, after attending several wedding events, I have started to understand them more and more.
Modern people don’t want their personal time to be taken away. Korean people do care about how other people think about them and do like talk about others. Therefore, a wedding turned into a show that people must do once in a lifetime in front of others, and not an occasion to celebrate a couple tying the knot- I feel this reality gave rise to the new part-time wedding guest jobs.
Among members I met doing a wedding guest jobs, some people were doing it for money, and other people for the pleasure of meeting different people. As time goes by, I realized that to celebrate someone on his/her precious day also gives me positive energy. This is why I keep putting on formal clothes on weekends to go to my wedding guest job.
If we can find the time to attend our friends’ joyous occasions to celebrate them with all our hearts, I think the society will be a better place.
Comments from Daum:
Personally I prefer a western style small wedding where only people who are close to the bride and groom attend.
Korean wedding culture is totally wrong, What is bad about small number of wedding guests? Must people get married in an expensive wedding hall? Soap operas are ruining Korea. We should all hang soap opera writers. They are just like vicious carcinogenic material that breaks the soul of Korea. No hope in this country.
This is the kind of shameful culture only found in Korea. It makes me speechless that the bride and groom are covering that they don’t have many friends and buying fake wedding guests to show-off in front of other wedding guests. Even though you don’t have many friends, it’s ok to hold a wedding ceremony with those small number of wedding guests, those who are really close to you. How could somebody possibly think about buying people and ask them to pretend to be their friend? I think it shows the lies and hypocrisy of the younger generation that resulted from learning from the old generation. It is this new type of culture that makes me ashamed.
At a wedding, you don’t need to invite your school friends or colleagues. You just need to invite your family members.
If you don’t have many friends, you can just skip the photo session after the wedding.
How much do people want to hide thing from their spouses? People live as never-ending show offs, so it is not right to make a false show at the wedding. Photos taken at the wedding are hardly seen after the wedding anyway.
Go to a temple and hold a wedding there with your family members. Is putting on a show something you need to brag about?
미 아 영님
In America some people get married to in front of only one officiant. What the heck are people doing in a much less developed country?
To hold a wedding ceremony it’s enough with the bride and groom and their parents. It is fake to buy wedding guests. A fake wedding ends with a fake life.
If someone is alone, they find it hard to have a meal. It’s natural for Koreans to feel anxious if there is no one who can have a meal with them. It is that disgraceful if someone doesn’t have many friends? Koreans are so tiring in many aspects.
It is right that the more glamorous a wedding is, the less a country is developed. (except the rich). A wedding itself is used as a tool of show off. So people think a wedding hall should be full of wedding guests, and the number of wedding guests between the bride and groom cannot be too different. That’s why people hold their wedding at a very expensive hotel or a fancy wedding hall, and give wedding invitation cards to people they hardly know. It is connected to an act of buying wedding guests and even parents if you don’t know many people. In this aspect, Korea still remains an underdeveloped country.
This shows Korea as an underdeveloped country. People go to someone’s wedding expecting the same in the future, and if somebody doesn’t give money as much as they did before it could result in the end of a friendship. In addition, people have their children marry before they retire.[Then people can invite their colleagues to get money back.] Korea is so underdeveloped.
How long has a wedding been a tool for showing off? It makes me sad.
Hold a wedding with your family members, like in foreign countries.
This is a social phenomenon that is blindly sunk under the empty formalities and vanity that never existed in world history, and an ostentatious attitude for showing off. In this society, it is the natural outcome of people who are struggling at finding truth, a pure heart, and real love.
If someone can afford to buy their guests, that is okay. Recently the average life expectancy has increased and there are small numbers of chief mourners, who are around 60 years old. Of course it is not always right! There is a saying that if a dog of a minister dies, people make calls of condolence. However, if the minister dies, people do not. It still works like this in this society. Lots of people in their 60s don’t seem to have a job, or if they work, they seem to be self-employed or work for low pay. Then it is related to a drastically decreased number of mourners, which can happen to people who don’t have power, money, and friends, So as long as you can buy someone for mourners, it is okay.