February 18, 2023 08:30
More and more wedding halls have gone out of business as Koreans are increasingly reluctant to tie the knot, and now only the top venues in high-end hotels are doing a lively trade.
One 32-year-old office worker has a tough time finding a place for the celebration when the wedding hall in Pyeongtaek south of Seoul he had booked suddenly closed down.
"I have just two months before my wedding and it's really hard finding another venue," he said. "Getting a refund of my deposit was also difficult."
The number of wedding halls in Korea fell 26.3 percent from 1,030 in 2018 to just 759 late last year. In Seoul alone it plunged 22.5 percent from 192 to 143. Over the same period the number of marriages also fell 33.4 percent to 171,814.
"Around a dozen wedding halls in Seoul closed down this year, and unless they're in Gangnam the remaining ones only host one or two weddings per weekend," a wedding planner said.
But the ballrooms of Seoul's luxury hotels are packed. At the Westin Chosun, around 90 percent of available slots for the year have already been filled.
A staffer at the hotel said, "All Saturday slots have been filled and the only ones left are a few Sunday evenings."
At the Hotel Shilla and Lotte Hotel in Seoul almost all weekend slots this year are booked.
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