Are you getting married soon? Worried that you might not have enough people on your side of the aisle – that people might judge you for not being popular enough? Don’t worry, there’s a solution.

Korean Wedding - Bride and Groom

A few months ago, I wrote about attending a Korean wedding. Like western weddings, Korean weddings are split down the middle. The bride’s friends and family sit on one side of the aisle while the groom’s people stay on the other. So if one side is short on friends, it’s obvious.

Nobody wants to look unpopular at their own wedding, so in Korea, some people hire stand-in friends. A woman I dated earlier this year worked as a rent-a-friend. She made $30-$50 just for standing around and looking like a friend during the service. Sometimes she would do several weddings in a row – making $200-$300 for a couple hours of work.

Korean Wedding - Friends in the wedding hall

I can’t help but wonder if any of these people were hired fake friends?

At first this seemed terribly strange, but the longer I live in Korea the better I understand things like this. In Korea’s Confucian culture, few things are more important than a family’s image. While Americans might consider it shameful to hire friends, Koreans consider it much worse to appear to lack friends at a public event.

What do you think? Would you hire stand-in friends for your wedding? Is it worth the risk of getting caught by other friends or family?

Until next time.


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