Gloria & Robert's harmonious wedding of Korean-Canadian traditions #Real Weddings: Canada#autumn#canada#couples of color#ontario#origami#tea ceremony August 1 | Offbeat Editors offbeatbride Photos by: Mailyne Briggs Photos by Mailyne Briggs The Offbeat Bride: Gloria, lawyer, musician, and writer Her offbeat partner: Robert, chef and assistant Hotel Manager Date and location of wedding: Ron Kolbus Lakeside Centre, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada — September 22, 2012 Our offbeat wedding at a glance: It was really important to us that our wedding incorporate traditions from both of our cultures, Korean and Canadian. This meant having two wedding ceremonies, two caterers (Korean food and "Western" food), and two wedding dresses! It also often resulted in a creative fusion of cultures: Western-style table settings with origami cranes as decorations, my mother-in-law walking down the aisle in her dress alongside my mother in her traditional Korean hanbok, and a bar serving both Canadian beer and Korean soju liquor. Tell us about the ceremony: We first had a Western-style wedding at the church that I grew up in, with my uncle (who is a pastor) officiating. The first people to walk down the aisle were the flower girls, my little cousins who are half Korean, half French Canadian. I like to think they set a good tone of interracial harmony! As mentioned, we also did a Korean tea ceremony after dinner, where we paid our respects to our elders by bowing to them, serving them tea, and listening to their advice. At the end, my mother-in-law followed Korean tradition by throwing chestnuts and dates at me, while Rob and I tried to catch them with my scarf. Each chestnut or date that we caught symbolized how many sons or daughters we would have. From what we caught, it seems like we will have three boys and one daughter. Wow… Our biggest challenge: There aren't a lot of Korean-Canadian weddings in our town. People tend to either opt going the Canadian route or having the wedding in Toronto, which has a larger Korean population, so the services weren't readily available. We had to get creative and arrange a lot of things by ourselves. For example, most conventional wedding venues didn't offer Korean food as part of their menu, so we had to find a venue that would let us bring in our own food. Luckily, the local community centre let us hire our own caterers. There aren't any major Korean catering companies in town either, although there are a few Korean restaurants. With a help of my Korean-speaking mother, we negotiated a contract with some of the Korean ladies in town to provide a Korean dinner, while we hired a well-known catering company in town to provide Western appetizers and desserts. Most bars don't serve soju (Korean liquor) either, so we opted to buy all the alcohol ourselves and hire a bartender, rather than have the caterer supply it. This meant we had to special order the soju from the liquor store. We also didn't own any of the traditional Korean wedding clothing. A family friend who also works at the Korean embassy generously lent us all of her hanboks, as well as the tea set. Another family friend provided us with the beautiful backdrop and the Korean table. My favorite moment: I'm really glad we did the Korean tea ceremony. It gave us a chance to pay respects to our elders. My non-Korean friends also enjoyed the rare opportunity to witness a part of my family's culture. Additionally, Rob looked great with his Korean hat! Ouch ouch ouch My funniest moment: Rob had actually hurt his back before the wedding, so it was very painful for him to bow during the Korean tea ceremony. Unfortunately, the deeper you bow, the more respect you show, and Rob didn't want to disrespect any of our elders! To make it worse, during the ceremony we were supposed to bow three times for each set of parents/grandparents, which meant that he had to bow at least fifteen times. Each time we bowed, he'd look at me and whisper incredulously, "AGAIN?" He put on brave face throughout the whole thing. I know I shouldn't be laughing at my husband's pain, but really, it was funny. Care to share a few vendor/shopping links? Bride's dress: I think every Canadian bride should learn about The Brides' Project, where I got my wedding dress. The Brides' Project is a Toronto-based organization that sells secondhand wedding dresses and donates the proceeds to cancer research. It's such a great cause. I was happy to spend my money there for my dress, which came with a card from the original bride. I later got in contact with that bride and we shared our stories. Day-of coordinator: Julie Barake of Chic Wedding Planning & Design. She was absolutely wonderful, and there's no way that our day would have gone as smoothly without her. Cake and cupcakes: Penny from Cakes Above All. She did an incredible job of making beautiful yummy cupcakes at a great price. Photography: Mailyne Briggs, who was professional and patient in taking her beautiful photos. Caterer: We are so thankful to Tulips and Maple Catering for accommodating our unique request for a multicultural dining event. Wedding bands: Magpie Jewellery, which features jewellery made by Canadian artists. Enough talk — show me the wedding porn! Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo PREVIOUS A poly wedding: My decision to marry my boyfriend while I'm legally married to my husband NEXT Your groom should feel like a fancy princess too! Show/Hide comments [ 17 ] I lived in South Korea for four years and I miss it like crazy, so I LOVED seeing this wedding! I appreciate the difficulties that you must have faced trying to include the Korean elements. You did an absolutely amazing job (I especially love the picture of both the moms together) and the food looks fantastic! I wish I could have gone. Congratulations! 3 agree Reply Thanks so much! South Korea's a beautiful country, and I'm hoping we'll have a chance to go there next year so I can show my husband around the homeland. Since the wedding, we've now moved to Nunavut in the Arctic, where there is even less of a Korean population (just me), so I really miss Korean food too. Reply This is incredible! Way to go on everything you did! As a West End Ottawa gal I literally bounced in my seat at the sight of Britannia Park. It's one of my fave spots in the city, so I'm super happy you were able to have your wedding there. 1 agrees Reply Isn't Britannia Park great? I was so happy to have part of the wedding by the beach – a lot of people were surprised that Ottawa has such a nice beach. I'm very happy with how the photos in the park turned out. Reply love everything about it! the reception looked sweet great buffet looking table. New to this blog after checking out this site and you guys were on the top page Great photos. Reply I love everything about it! I also love where you got your dress. I never knew such a place existed, or I would have checked them out (never mind that I'm in Edmonton). Congrats! Reply I am happy for both of you!! If you don't mind my asking, you are a lawyer and he is a chef / Hotel manager, did you move for his job or yours or both??? Best wishes on your new marriage, move and life together. Reply Thanks for your kind words! We moved up North for my job. Rob was very supportive about this move because he knew it would be good for my career. Luckily, he didn't have much trouble finding a great job once he moved up here. If you're interested, we actually talk a bit more about our post-wedding life in the Arctic in this Offbeat Homes post: http://offbeathome.com/2013/05/arctic-home 1 agrees Reply Incredible wedding Reply This wedding was so resourceful! I never would have thought of asking local Korean-Canadians to help out in the food division (and catering can never beat home cooking no matter how much you pay for it). Also fabulous idea getting hanboks from the embassy. I hope your ??brings you much ??. 1 agrees Reply Thanks so much! The Korean ladies that we asked to cook dinner had previously owned and managed one of the Korean restaurants in town, so luckily they had professional experience and knew what they were doing. I'm so relieved that it went well! Reply This is so great! We are also having our wedding in the Ottawa/Gatineau area and your wedding was so inspiring. Thanks for sharing! Reply hi gloria, – super to see your ceremony- many thanks for your post – i have one question, did you do the p'ye-baek publicly in front of all the guests with the entire ceremony or only for your in-laws at the reception? and if you did it in front of all the guests, how did you contextualize it? we will probably move it to another smaller room at the reception, to do it the "proper way," but i'm open to changing it. in addition, i'd love to know how you handled the explication of the traditional Korean symbols and traditions in canada. did you have a moderator? Reply Good question! I know other people have done the paebek privately or even on another day, but we did ours after dinner at the reception. There was a stage in the venue, so we set it up there, almost like a show. It allowed the guests to watch what was happening while they had coffee and tea. We also had a family friend with a microphone narrating the whole process in English, so that even non-Korean people could understand what was happening. It ended up working out really well (except for my husband's sore back, of course). Reply so you separated the ceremony and the p'ye-baek with dinner. good idea. as for the moderator, we're planning to have an interpreter, once in German and then in English. one more question if you don't mind all my annoying questions, did you have a korean elder from your community officiate the ceremony? or did you just wing it with family? since the korean community is quite tight knit here, we're getting so much advice from them all, it's getting a bit overwhelming. y'all look like you had it all down pat. Reply No problem! For the "white wedding" ceremony at the church, it was my uncle who officiated. He's a pastor, so it made sense. For the Korean paebek ceremony, it was a family friend who was narrating what was happening. It felt overwhelming for me too, in the days coming up to the wedding, but everything went smoothly! Hope you enjoy yours! Reply Beautiful wedding! I especially loved how your family and community helped out with the Korean dresses. That's so incredibly sweet. <3 Also, nifty mix of the cultures! Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Participate in this conversation via email No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy. Biz owners & wedding bloggers Please just use your real name in your comment, not your business name or blog title. Our comments are not the place to pimp your website. If you want to promote your stuff on Offbeat Bride, join us as an advertiser instead.