(Closed) Korean wedding guests: why do they leave early?

posted 10 years ago in East Asian
Post # 3
90 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2009

It really depends on how the parents and their friends are.  Nowadays, I’ve seen the korean parents stay until the last dance.  My brother had one wedding out-of-state and one wedding in-state, and our in-state wedding was mainly our parents friends.  They stayed until the wee hours of the night dancing up a storm.  Here are just a few things:

 If your fiance’s parents ballroom dance, then perhaps right after dinner is over, you could cue the band/dj to play some ballroom dance tunes.  Usually, if there is a DJ/band and they go right into the current pop music or songs that are unfamiliar to the parents, they tend to feel intimidated and leave right away.

-An emcee who can also speak in korean could help to make the korean-only speaking guests comfortable…this is not essential, but if you do happen to have someone who is bilingual, that would be nice.

Are you having a pae baek?  (korean ceremony) – that might also keep some of the guests "interested" in staying as well.

Sometimes korean guests leaving is just the way that it is…but hopefully, if your fiance’s parents are into the party, their friends will be also.

 good luck!

Post # 4
22 posts
  • Wedding: March 2018 - The Venetian

bolt the centerpieces onto the tables. the longer it takes for them to get it off, the longer they will stay!

all jokes aside, its a tough issue. my parents once told me that they attended a wedding where the mother of the bride would beg the korean parents to stick around but they all still left. sooo rude! fortunately i’ve discussed this many times with my parents and they completely understand that it’s not a nice thing to do and they always have fun at all the weddings they go to for as long as they could. i even made my parents swear not to invite anyone that will walk out the door right after dinner. they’ve been to literally dozens of weddings so they know who tends to stick around. they also understand that we are paying to entertain guests. if the guests dont want to be entertained, then i’d rather spend that money on a guest who cares to be there.

if anything, serve the meals later, offer lottery tickets with promise of prizes at the end of the night,  hire a korean MC who will interact with the guests, or maybe your fiance could hint at this issue to his parents, who in turn can hint on this to their friends?

Post # 5
52 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

<span style=”font-size: 8pt; font-family: ‘Verdana’,’sans-serif'”>Huh, I’ve never heard of this. I am half Korean myself. The only ‘Korean’ wedding I’ve been to is my sisters, but hers wasn’t traditionally Korean at all. I didn’t even think about it but, now that you mention it the few Korean friends of my mothers that attended (all of my Korean family is in Korea still and could not attend) did not stick around till the very end, but I can not say how long they were there for as I was busy having a good time with my sister :).

<span style=”font-size: 8pt; font-family: ‘Verdana’,’sans-serif'”>Karaoke anyone? Ha ha, I only say that because my mom and her friends all love it.

<span style=”font-size: 8pt; font-family: ‘Verdana’,’sans-serif'”>I don’t know if it’s customary to leave after dinner or not, but if someone isn’t familiar with western wedding traditions they may just think that the party’s over after dinner. I know one of the first weddings I attended, one of my high school friends’, I left shortly after dinner. But, it wasn’t because I knew about any customary Korean tradition. My boyfriend at the time had somewhere to be. I hope my friend didn’t think I was rude.. <span style=”font-size: 8pt; font-family: ‘Verdana’,’sans-serif'”>Maybe talk to his parents, and ask if it’s customary, or maybe they know something your fiancé doesn’t. I’ll ask my mom for you if you’d like. Maybe mention to your future in-laws to let their Korean friends and family know you would love it if they stayed to have a good time after dinner. Or, shortly into dinner have you DJ or even your in-laws, maybe your fiancé if he speaks Korean, let the guest know what is happening next after dinner. I’m assuming you’ll be doing your first dance after dinner to kick things off? Might also mention what you’ll be doing after your first dance, if it be a bouquet toss or the garter… mix that in with the dancing so they will stay longer? I haven’t looked too much into what is listed in a wedding program, but maybe list your planned activities there so they know there’s more to the wedding than the ceremony and dinner? Maybe you could make a few copies in Korean? Might be a nice way to spend some time with your inlaws have them hand write it in Korean and scann it then make your own programs with the picture of the Korean text, add a few flurishes and print on nice paper. These are just ideas, I have no idea about traditional wedding edict weather it be Korean or western as I’m newly engaged myself. Maybe these aren’t good ideas… <span style=”font-size: 8pt; font-family: ‘Verdana’,’sans-serif'”>Peony80, I thought I read somewhere that the <span style=”font-size: 8pt; font-family: ‘Tahoma’,’sans-serif'”>pae baek was part of the wedding ceremony traditionally speaking, am I wrong?<span style=”font-size: 8pt; font-family: ‘Verdana’,’sans-serif'”><span style=”font-size: 8pt; line-height: 115%”><font face=”Calibri”> </font>

Post # 6
52 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

Sorry about the script, was trying to spell check in Word… c/p apparently copys word script too OOps.

Post # 8
18 posts
  • Wedding: October 2018

Hi there,

Few years ago, one of my friends had the same dilemma. What she did was had 3 raffles. 1 at 8pm ($50 gift card), 1 at 9pm($100/gift card) and the grand prize at 10pm (Bottle of XO). Even thou, it was a vietnamese wedding but both cultures are similar in its conservativness.

By The Way, she had the DJ embellish the gifts to hype the anticipation….lol 

Post # 9
133 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2008


I know what you mean. I have attended so far 3 Korean weddings and the shortest one lastet 2 hours in total. It was a church wedding. The ceremony lasted about 30 minutes, the waiting time for the guests was about 45 minutes, after that everyone rushed out to the buffet and finished in no time. There was no speech, no dancing, no entertainment. The other two weddings were a little different but none of them lasted more than 4 hours.

I am married to a Korean and during the planning stage this was one of my biggest concerns as well. This was my plan for the wedding day and it did work out quite well:

– Ceremony
– Appetizer, Snacks and cocktails outside on the patio (while the wedding party was taking pictures)
– Grand Entrance
– Introduction of the Families
– First Dance
– Wedding Toast
– Prayer
– First course (salad)
– Games
– Main course
– Traditional Korean dance (we hired Korean dancers)
– Cake cutting (just for the pictures. The kitchen took the time to finish cutting the cake while we were getting ready for the traditional Korean ceremony)
– Another Korean dance
– Korean ceremony (this was very entertaining as my hubbie had to piggyback his mom, my mom and myself as well. The Korean guests really enjoyed it)
– Bouquet and Garter Toss
– Cake serving (I did the cake cutting before since I experienced during one Korean wedding that the actual cake cutting and distributing of the slices took way too long and since it was towards the end the guests started leaving. So in the end there was pretty much the whole cake left. I wanted to avoid it and have the cake cut for the guests while we were still entertaining them)
– Opening of the dancefloor

Something for you to think about:

– Have a sit down dinner instead of a buffet. That way you can orchestrate the flow of the evening better

– Are your future in-laws christians? If this is the case, then most likely your future parents-in-law will invite many friends from church. Those guests will likely leave once you open up the dance floor as this is a no no for the elderly and does not conform with their christian way of thinking.  But if this is the case, ask someone to do a prayer in Korean  and English (the best thing would be if you could find a Korean Reverend) and do this towards the cake cutting time and make sure to print it in the program. You would have a bigger chance of them staying but do not count on them staying during the dancing part. That’s just the way it is. Oh and make sure to find a Korean speaking MC.

All the best

Post # 10
38 posts
  • Wedding: June 2009

Honestly – I don’t think there are THAT many things you can do to prevent them from leaving. It really depends on…(1)how your fiance’s parents are…and (2) what types of friends of the fiance’s parents come. So say, they are “church” friends, not many of them will stay late. But if they are CLOSE friends then they will stay. So it really depends…and that is why in a lot of Korean weddings, I think they try to serve the main entree late so that people will stick around. I think you shouldn’t have to force them to stay late though, you’d want people to stay because they want to stay, right? Good luck! =)

Post # 11
71 posts
Worker bee

oh the raffle is a good idea.. thanks!

Post # 12
6 posts
  • Wedding: April 2008

I have attended 12 korean weddings per month for 4 months straight, it has now dwindled down to 4 a month, because I don’t have that kind of time.


The reason that most korean guests leave so early is usually because they are not very close the bride and groom. Most of them are acquaintances of the parents. Reason being is it is disrespectful not to invite your friend or acquanitance to your son or daughters wedding, it will come back to them one day.

Because of this, they usually come and eat food and leave.

 One of the best remedies for this, if using a korean caterer, is to ask the caterers not to pass out togo boxes before the cake is served. Most Koreans love to take something togo. So they will even wait until the end of the event to get it.

 Is this a trick or is it playing it smart?

I don’t know, it’s a tip.

Korean Wedding Expert


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