For couples looking to get married, preparations for the big day are often complicated by any number of issues including time, cost, varying preferences, and guest list.

In Korea, the question of location has become particularly important, with the relatively high cost of renting wedding halls, hotels, or other popular facilities contributing to a steep rise in wedding expenses for newlyweds in recent years.

While weddings, or honrye, have traditionally been an elaborate affair in Korean culture, new options for locations are opening up for couples that want to enjoy a meaningful wedding without the heavy price tag.

Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik presides over a wedding ceremony at a public wedding hall within the government court complex in the Seocho district of Seoul on September 16 (photo: Yonhap News).

On September 16, Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik presided over a wedding ceremony in the Seocho district of Seoul, at a specially designed public wedding hall within the government court complex.

The prime minister had been invited by the couple, one of 100 couples participating in a joint public and private sector campaign to promote a more frugal and sustainable wedding culture that places greater value on a couple’s happiness and less on the look or cost of their ceremony.

“It’s unfortunate that people wanting to get married feel burdened by the rising costs of weddings,” said Prime Minister Kim. “I wanted to take part in today’s event to encourage more people to take advantage of alternative options.”

Along similar lines, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family is also in the process of implementing an initiative to open up more public facilities to be used for weddings.

The website (, Korean only) is run by the ministry and provides a directory of available facilities, as well as information on how to reserve them and other useful guides. The ministry has also funded the creation of a social enterprise that will ensure that all public facilities that can be used to hold wedding ceremonies are being adequately managed and maintained.

The ministry plans to continue its efforts to provide people with wedding facilities as well as the information that they need to plan a special wedding without undue financial stress.

By Kwon Jungyun Staff Writer