If you live in an area where there’s a large Korean-American population, you are in luck. Wedding attire, tables, screens, dishes, and all accessories can be rented and food can be bought. But for many of us, we are on our own to find sources and ideas to plan for Paebaek: Korean Wedding Bowing Ceremony.
For those of us who are not so lucky or if you want to do it yourself, follow some of these ideas and enjoy a meaningful ritual that be enjoyed by family, friends and guests.
Paebak is typically celebrated during the reception after the meal but before the cutting of the wedding cake. The logistics are somewhat important as the bride and groom will need to change into the traditional Korean wedding attire and the table service needs to be set up. The area needs to be large enough to accommodate the families to receive the bows and have fun tossing the dates and chestnuts but within a reasonable distance for the serving of the rice wine. Consideration should also be given for guests who will be most interested in viewing the ceremony.
Traditional Korean table is the most ideal one to use but any table (approximate size: 32”x48”) is a good substitute covered with blue and red table cloths.
A small table (approximate size 16” x 27”) is used to set the wine carafe or teapot and cups. In lieu of the small table, the tea service can also be set on the large table.
Korean tables in varying sizes are available for purchase in Korean markets. You may also be able to find them on the web.
Traditional Korean screen is placed behind the table. If not available, any screen with asian theme can be used. It would be nice to have the backdrop screen but if it is not easily available, it can be omitted.
Making the Table Cloths
Cut to appropriate sizes.
Fold the edges 1/4 inch and press using an iron.
Fold over 1/2 inch around the edges and press.
Sew the edges.
Press the seams.
Inexpensive blue and red fabrics are available in local fabric stores. I would recommend getting the fabrics in the same material in blue and red. I prefer to cover the table to the floor front to back only, not the sides, for a clean and tailored look.
Table Cloth placement
Side by side or one color to cover the whole table and lay a smaller size in contrasting color on top.
WINE CARAFE COVER
If you are serving tea, there’s no need to cover the teapot.
Cut out blue and red fabric large enough to wrap the carafe with some overhang, plus seams.
Sew together on the wrong side with open seam at one of the sides.
Turn it inside out.
Using an iron, press the seams and hand sew the open seam to close.
Wrap the carafe and secure with blue and red ribbons.
Pull down the 4 corners to expose the contrasting underside.
2 red and 2 blue, each pair for the elders and the bride and groom.
Sew together same color fabric pieces on the wrong side with contrasting tassels in four corners. Leave one of the sides partially open at the center.
Turn the cover inside out.
Pull the tassels in the four corners.
Using an iron, press the seams.
Place the cushion or foam insert and hand sew the opening.
Make the buttons, 4 red and 4 blue.
Sew on the contrasting buttons (blue on red cushion, red on blue cusion) at the center on both sides.
4 30 inch x 30 inch cushion or foam.
Red and blue fabric: Enough yardage to cover the cushion/foam plus inside seams and 8 bottons.
Button kit: 8 buttons, 4 red, 4 blue.
Blue and red fringe, rolled to make into tassels: 8 blue and 8 red.
Place together four (3’ x 6’) straw beach mats with the string ties facing up (or enough to cover the bowing area). Presentation side will be facing down.
Tape with duck tape along the seams.
Turn the mat over so that the the right side is facing up.
Fold to transport.
I like the foldable straw mats as they are more portable to transport and have more detailing than the one piece straw mats. These mats are especially a good option when Paebaek items need to be shipped to the wedding site. These mats can easily be put together on site. Do a search on the web, here’s one I found:
Folding Beach Mats