It is no secret that expectations and traditions for marriage ceremonies vary greatly between cultures, and often come with vastly different price tags.
One woman says she was shocked to learn of an expensive wedding preparation custom from her friend who is Korean, while discussing dress shopping.
In a video posted to TikTok, user @ohmarni—who previously drew attention on the platform for calling out the flavor change of Pearl Milling Co. maple syrup after the company’s rebrand—says her friend is planning on spending $10,000 to film herself cutting the tag off of a rented wedding dress, simply for the status of being able to do so.
“You know how Koreans are completely obsessed with status, right?” she says in the video. “Last night I was talking to my friend, and she was telling me the most insane story…she’s getting married, right, at the end of the month. She’s telling me that she’s looking for dresses and she tried on one and she really really liked it, but then she found out it’s a first wear, and she was like, ‘I can’t do first-wears,’ and I was like, what is a first wear, like you’re the first one to wear it?”
The custom originated as a social media-based experience, she says, and is used as a marker for how much was spent on preparation for the wedding.
“She’s like, ‘Yes, I am the first one to wear it,'” she says in the video. “In my head, I’m thinking do you have to pay insurance for it, do you have to pay a higher insurance fee? I understand dresses are rented. She’s like, ‘No, I have to cut the tag.’ I’m still not following, I’m thinking yeah, it’s a new dress, I would assume it has a tag on it and you have to cut it off.”
She explains how the shopper has to pay extra to cut off the wedding dress tag if no one has tried it on before and that the shopper then posts about cutting off the tag online.
She says her friend explained to her that the cutting of the tag means that the dress is new, communicating exclusivity and that the cost to wear a first-wear dress is significantly more than a dress that has been previously worn by another bride. She adds how a “first-wear” dress can cost up to $13,000 as opposed to a normal wedding dress, which costs about $2,000. The TikToker emphasizes that this is “crazy,” especially as the dress is being rented, not bought.
The Daily Dot has reached out to @ohmarni via email regarding the video.
@ohmarni When i tell you i was shook??? What is first wear?? #korea #weddingtiktok #koreanwedding #firstwear #weddingdress ♬ original sound – Oh Marni
Many viewers shared that they also struggled to wrap their heads around paying such an amount of money for a dress the bride does not get to keep.
“You explained it to me like I’m five & I STILL don’t get it,” one commenter wrote.
“Renting any clothing item over a few hundred is insaaaannne but thousands?” another said.
“I can’t even fathom paying that much for a dress you get to keep,” one wrote.
Some shared what they ended up paying for their dresses, landing nowhere near the figure that the poster says her friend paid for her dress.
“My wedding dress and reception dress were maybe $100 something together,” one commenter wrote. “Makes me wanna cry.”
“My wedding dress cost less than $50 from JC Penny,” another echoed. “A cute little Sun dress. No regrets.”
“My dress was $500 and it’s hanging in the bag in my closet,” yet another commented. “I can’t even.”