Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Songdo Wedding

Pre-wedding photo room for friends and family~
We were invited to a wedding! One of Nick's coworkers, and good friend, invited us and it was simultaneously exciting and a bit scary. We weren't really sure how everything worked, so I'm glad we went with another Korean friend to show us the ropes and walk us through it all.

Shameless selfies any time I put some effort in: Spring edition.
After getting photos with the bride, we gave in our gift money, wrote down our names in a very formal-looking book, then exchanged our lovely white envelope for a shiny coupon. It was interesting, to say the least. It made me feel better about not bringing a gift, or not knowing what to give like I've seen a lot of people stress over for weddings. But also felt a little bit odd?

The coupon let us get into the wedding dinner, which, contrarily to UK tradition, came before the ceremony. I'm assuming the coupon is to dissuade gatecrashers, haha.

The dinner was a huge buffet, with all sorts of lovely food. After a while we were told that traditionally, you should eat noodles of some kind at a wedding dinner! So I had a big bowl of noodles on top of all the other things I'd piled onto my plate. Oops!

We then found out that actually, a lot of people just turn up, give their money to pay their respects, then stay in the dining room and don't actually see the ceremony? It was really baffling to me, and we only caught the last maybe 20 minutes due to this, but really it's just a bit like an amalgamation of how it's done at home. You invite close friends and family to the ceremony, because the venue is usually small, then wider friends and family have dinner together in a larger venue later on.

Everything was really pretty and I'm really happy we went. It also looked very trendy when they walked down the aisle together, which is much more akin to a catwalk, raised a couple of feet above the audience. Towards the end there were some musical performances by close friends and family, which I found really sweet.

It was really busy, so after we were beckoned in for group photos and attempted to wave goodbye to the newlyweds through the crowd, we went with a group of Nick's coworkers to walk off all that food.

This was exciting because we were in Songdo on a lovely day. I'd been wanting to visit Songdo for a while, as it's reputation as being a "future city" intrigued me, but I never had the energy to travel all that way for something that could potentially turn out quite dull.

We passed an apartment showroom, and ended up touring a lot of very fancy model homes up for grabs at the moment in Songdo. It's a huge area of reclaimed land, designed to be very efficient and eco-friendly, as well as rather luxurious (as is my understanding). Due to it being a very new city, purpose-built all at once, rather than growing organically, it's eerily clean and quiet. Especially compared to Seoul and Incheon, but even in contrast to any other city I've been to.

Free juice and enviable furnishings aside, we also took a look around Songdo's Central Park. Apparently the government are determined to keep a large amount of green space available, with plenty of parks scattered throughout the city as it grows. I like that, and if they're anything like the Central Park, they'll all be wonderful.

It really looked like something out of a near-future sci-fi utopia. Oddly-shaped skyscrapers gleaming in the distance, idyllic fields of grass and cool, clean water covered in rowboats quietly bobbing around. People on Segways and those unusual one-wheel things I keep seeing, zipping around the pathways, and beautiful, cheery families having picnics in fancy tents.

An added bonus was that the weather was wonderful! Sunny, blue skies and just a little bit warm.

Interesting combination of old and new buildings.

Selfie Tip #2947: Avoid direct sunlight.
A moment of silence for my pure, gleaming white Vans. (Inevitably they are no longer)

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