Part 1: History of Marriage Practice in Ancient Korea
Before I get into Joseon wedding ceremony, I think it will be helpful to get to know a bit about the history of the practice itself. Joseon was just one of the ancient Korean dynasties and it is the most well-known dynasty because it has only been a little over 100 years since the last monarchical dynasty of Korea fell due to Japanese Annexation of the country. As marriage is closely related to its main significance, which is to ensure continuity of the lineage, it is not a surprising fact that the custom had been in practice since the earliest history of civilization. The marriage customs varied according to time and place, and so was the significance behind it.
With regard to Korean wedding culture, there was no surviving proof of the customs back then except for the legends from tribes of the primitive communities. It was possible that intermarriage or Japhon (잡혼) between tribes and coupling without marriage or Nanhon (난혼) happened since there was no exact system for marriage back then. Legends for founders of the dynasties (Dangun – Gojoseon, Jumong – Goguryeo, Kim Suro – Gaya, Park Hyeokgeose – Silla, Wang Geon – Goryeo) also suggested the earliest practice of matrilineal society, as mothers were usually known in these myth while the fathers’ identities were disputed.