Pent-up demand for luxury weddings grows in South Korea

2023.05.11 13:36:02 | 2023.05.11 13:46:32

Banyan Tree Club & Spa Seoul premium wedding service [Photo provided by Banyan Tree]이미지 확대

Banyan Tree Club & Spa Seoul premium wedding service [Photo provided by Banyan Tree]



South Korea has recently seen a surge in demand for premium hotel wedding services that can cost hundreds of millions of won.

Banyan Tree Club & Spa Seoul has caught the attention of the public for its premium wedding service that costs 300 million won ($230,000) and requires the entirety of a large outdoor pool, 52 meters long and 17 meters wide, with 23 private cabanas. The bride enters by stepping on a 43-meter transparent floating road above the pool. Mirrors at the bottom reflect the sky, creating the illusion of walking on water. Guests line at the sides of the pool to applaud.

A Banyan Tree official told Maeil Business Newspaper that they were surprised by the popularity of this service and inquiries are already being received for next year’s slots.

According to sources on Wednesday, wedding venue bookings at top luxury hotels in Seoul, including Lotte Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Shilla and Josun, are fully booked through May next year for preferred weekend time slots. These hotels even require customers to book three months in advance just for their wedding ceremony consultation. Prices range from 80 million won to 170 million won for 400 guests at Lotte Hotel’s Crystal Ballroom in Jamsil.

The situation is similar at Hotel Shilla in Seoul, which is known for its celebrity wedding services. The hotel’s Dynasty Hall and Guesthouse are fully booked until the end of this year. There are very few dates available for early next year. The cost of a wedding for 400 guests is over 100 million won for Dynasty Hall and in the 90 million won range for Guesthouse.

The hotel industry is blaming this “wedding inflation” on a decline in the number of wedding venues, along with the pent-up demand due to Covid-19. The pandemic-induced restrictions and social distancing guidelines forced hotels to limit the number of guests they can accommodate. This led to a decrease in the number of wedding venues and as a result, couples are finding it increasingly challenging to find a location that can accommodate their guests.

The shortage of venues has led to an increase in demand for premium wedding services, with couples willing to pay a premium for a venue that meets their requirements.

In South Korea, the number of wedding venues nationwide plummeted to 754 in January this year from 950 in January 2019.

By Shin Ik-su and Minu Kim

[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]