TV soaps are being blamed for raising excessive expectations for lavish weddings among young people that can bankrupt their doting families.
The Chosun Ilbo asked wedding planners, media critics and academics including Kwak Keum-joo, a psychologist at Seoul National University, to analyze the top five soap operas for every year since 2000 and found that most of the weddings they depict are overly extravagant, and that they tended to portray adult children's excessive dependence on parents as normal.
Of the 48 soap operas analyzed, 31 portrayed adult children who lead the high life thanks to their parents' wealth, or climbed up social ladder through marriage. Half of the dramas showed lavish weddings.
Since 2003, there has a visible increase in weddings in five-star hotels in Seoul with designer label wedding dresses.
The experts said the distorted values portrayed in soaps unconsciously affect the viewers. The wedding industry then goads young couples to emulate the rich, which makes the cost of weddings ever more prohibitive.