I do! Bank of Korea opens up for weddings


Newly-married couples sit down at the Unification Church's mass wedding held at the church's headquarters in Gapyeong, east of Seoul, on February 17, 2013. The Bank of Korea announced it was opening its auditorium up for weddings starting in May.



SEOUL, South Korea — Every couple wants their wedding day to be perfect.

Flowers, music, family.... giant portraits of former Bank of Korea governors.

Starting in May, lucky Korean couples will be able to host their nuptials inside the Bank of Korea in an auditorium hung with the portraits of former central bank governors.

According to Reuters, the bank used to host weddings in the 200-seat auditorium in the 1990s until the celebrations were shut down due to security concerns.

"We've decided to open it back up again now that we have enforced security," said a manager in the human relations and management department.

You Hyoun-joo, a consultant who advised central bank personnel on how to prepare the venue for weddings, told Reuters that they had "little clue what to do."

"I had to spend hours explaining why the bride's waiting room had to look nice," said You.

While the story about Bank of Korea's wedding ventures may seem odd to Americans, the story isn't particularly surprising to South Koreans who've grown up with this sort of system. Under the country's Confucianism-driven work culture, government offices and large conglomerates such as Samsung have a duty not only to pay wages and health benefits to their employees, but also to care for their well-being and their families in ways Americans would consider creative.

A bank-run wedding hall is only one example. For their prized employees, Korean businesses are known to go out of their way to ensure their underlings are treated as the equivalent of family. When securing business deals, they engage in a work culture of jeobdae, or the practice of regularly treating their business partners and the so-called "family" of employees to gifts and entertainment.

The outings can include your typical karaoke and bars. But the term also carries seedy connotations — such as perusing red light districts and "room salons" for sexual favors, and going on nightly binges of expensive whiskey and cheap soju.

Seoul is no stranger to unusual wedding ceremonies. South Korea’s Unification Church held its most recent mass wedding in February with 3,500 couples from 70 countries tying the knot.