Spring wedding season is here. When an engaged couple in South Korea prepares their special day, while fake wedding guests are looking for their part time jobs.
For those of you who are not familiar with what are the part-time jobs of fake wedding guests, what it really is? These are individuals who are hired to attend foreigners' marriages and pose as brides or groom friends.
These fake guests are usually required to memorize their clients' personal information, including the name, age, career, and family relations before the wedding. After the time comes, in the marriage hall, they coordinate and admire the bride's dress. However, These fake friends tend not to join photo sessions so they aren't captured on the wedding album.
These fake friends are also expected to give envelopes containing congratulatory money to the newlyweds. These envelopes are usually prepared in advance by the bride or the person in charge at the guest check-in section. After the ceremony, these fake guests secretly took their payment and said goodbye to the bride.
Hiring fake wedding guests has been a long-standing tradition in Korean wedding culture since the early 2000s. There are hundreds of wedding guest agencies and internet forums that provide them “character” to the bride and groom to attend their wedding day. Some even offer fake parents or fake distant relatives if the event requires it.
One of the wedding guest agents, Hagaek Friends, told the Korea Times that the main reason people look for fake part-time guests is because these couples have few friends to attend the wedding. Around 70 percent of clients are brides who are self-aware about other guests who gossip about their lack of personal relationships.
“People don't want to be seen as if they don't have close relationships with friends,” kata Lee Mi-young, the head of Hagaek Friends. “Too, a bride looking for a fake guest when the number of guests appears to be smaller than the number of the groom, and vice versa, because the number of guests is often seen as a strength or family honor.”
Other clients include people who study abroad and those who marry outside of their hometown.
Regardless of the client's reason for hiring fake guests, the wedding guest agency provides a fake guest photo of them on their website. By looking at the photos, the bride and groom can choose a fake guest that suits the role of their drama partner. Of course, fake guest workers who are considered to be very handsome or beautiful tend to get more orders, because clients prefer to have handsome friends, even if those friends aren't real or fake.
The majority of fake guest workers are office workers in their 20s or 30s. Because most weddings are held over the weekend, these fake guests attend weddings as odd jobs while doing their corporate work during the workday. According to the Korea Times, fake guest wages are around 20.000 to 30.000 won (US $ 18-27 or around Rp. 250.000 up to Rp. 380.000) per marriage.
In an opinion article at a Korean media outlet Oh My News, an anonymous fake guest writes that his duties vary depending on whether his client is a groom or a woman.
"If the client is a groom, usually not much is requested. He will usually ask you to just come in and act as a friend or colleague and stay there to take pictures at the end of the ceremony, he added that brides usually demand more.
He revealed that some brides asked male and female wedding guests to pretend to be a couple to make the show more convincing.
“Modern marriages are no longer about congratulating on the new beginning of the bride and groom but it has become a show’ mandatory that must be displayed by a new partner in order to show off to others. It's a fact that makes work like fake wedding guests necessary.
Although modern Korean marriage has become more of a social event than a family event in recent years, fake guests stated that some of them really enjoyed attending the wedding and congratulated the couple for starting a new chapter in their lives.
"When working, I meet people just for money and other people who give positive energy to congratulate someone. I became the last part, that's why I take my clothes off every weekend, He said. “But I think that our society will be a much better place if we can all learn a little to free our hearts to truly congratulate on a special day for our loved ones.” Cover the anonymous fake guest.
*Compiled from various sources below;