Getting Married in South Korea for 20 cents

Consider this your warning: If you’d rather not see pictures of newly weds beaming with joy and kissing in public, head to the recipe section.

I had never wanted to get married as a young girl. I neither dreamed of my dress nor pictured a prince charming. Call me skeptical, but I thought that being with the one you loved was more important than titles. So what changed? I fell in love with a man from another country. Surprisingly not from Korea where I now reside, but from England on the opposite side of the planet from my home country, New Zealand. If you think it unromantic to say you got married for a visa I’ll make it more palatable, ‘ I got married to the man I love so I can be with him forever, without explanation and without exception in whichever country we choose to live in’.

Having never considered my wedding day, I had no expectations. A few hoorays and a cake would suffice. We chose to met a few friends at the Haeundae-gu District Office and sign the necessary documents before heading to Dongbaek with its stunningly peaceful views of the beach and ocean. We deliberately waited until June when my father and sister would be visiting; throw in four friends with cameras and flowers and you have yourself a wedding day.

My girlfriend Erica brought a hand-made bouquet of flowers with my favourite colours green and purple (knowing full well that I wouldn’t have prepared them myself).

Korean Wedding for foreign residents =

two notarized affidavits of intent to marry + 200 won.

At 1pm we queued at the only English speaking counter in the standard issue government building. I was nervous we’d misunderstood or under-prepared for the procedure. Two documents and pennies seemed underwhelming for the magnitude of the event. There was no speech or oath, no witnesses or signing. Ten long minutes later, we were no longer boyfriend and girlfriend, we were husband and wife with six trigger happy, grinning chums and an entire district office of applause and smiles.

From left, Salome De Preez, John Robson, Erica Mason, David Holt, Frankie Herrington, Philip Herrington, Christina Herrington, Jen Sotham.

Prior to the nuptials Dad and Dave thought it amusing to jest over my dowry. 

The documents settled, we headed to Dongbaek Park for our vows and champagne, joking and drinking. Dave went first and breezed through his lines while I started strong but faltered quickly into a quiet whisper with a few tears. Apparently only Dave could hear me, but I’ve been assured that it still counts.

Simple. Married.
A savvy vegan in South Korea
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Re: Getting Married in South Korea for 20 cents

Thanks for sharing your story. I have a quick question , is there a special format for the affidavits also does it have to be written in Korean and english ?


Re: Getting Married in South Korea for 20 cents

Good Morning

Every country had it's own version of an 'non impediment to marriage' certificate. There is no specific layout required by the Korean district offices. 
I probably should have mentioned that the affidavits were in English with a copy made into Korea. We had a friend translate them for us. The Korean version didn't need to be notarized or meet a certain standard. 
I hope that helps. 


Re: Getting Married in South Korea for 20 cents

I'm happy for your happiness, and quite pleased to learn that foreigners can now get married in Korea.  Used to be that one of the foreign consulates (embassies) had to do it, that Korea wouldn't do anything but "recognize" a marriage (conducted "outside of Korea") if one or both of the parties was not a Korean citizen.

Many happy years!