Updated: Sep 10
With just twelve 35-44 minute episodes, this short romance from KakaoTV (and streaming on Netflix) is a realistic and easily digestible take on the pitfalls of Korean wedding planning.
Seo Jun-hyeong (Lee Jin-wook, Bulgasal: Immortal Souls) and Kim Na-eun (Lee Yeon-hee, The Package) have been in a healthy, loving relationship for over two years. Both mature, financially stable, and of marrying age, they decide the time is right to tie the knot. But is being in love enough to survive the grueling process of preparing not just for their wedding day, but to spend the rest of their lives together?
If you’ve watched enough romance-themed k-dramas, you’ll have most likely already gleaned some knowledge about Korean wedding customs from here and there. But unlike most rom-coms which either just start or end with a walk down the aisle, Welcome to Wedding Hell is more like a 6-hour crash course on the country's wedding culture, taking the audience through each step of planning and the bombs that could potentially go off along the way.
Jun-hyeong and Na-eun are well-matched and well-suited for marriage, but the looming reality of becoming husband and wife exposes the cracks in their seemingly perfect relationship. Like previous KakaoTV short dramas Lovestruck in the City and How to Be Thirty, Welcome to Wedding Hell eschews traditional k-drama tropes in favor of realism. Our lovely couple doesn't have any shared childhood trauma to unpack nor comically evil, disapproving parents. What they do have are differing philosophies over handling finances (yikes!) and taste in furniture (double yikes!)—very practical concerns that anyone in a serious relationship can relate to, regardless of culture.
Although some of the situations facing the bride-and-groom-to-be are uniquely Korean, like choosing between a hotel and wedding hall, and what the expectations are regarding dowry, many of the problems they face are universally relatable. No matter where you are, bringing two families together is bound to have conflict. Like many couples, Jun-hyeong and Na-eun have future in-laws to please, and have trouble communicating their true feelings and frustrations.
Welcome to Wedding Hell does a good job of illustrating that even under ideal circumstances, the coming together of two normal, well-intentioned individuals can have its fair share of problems, and the drama's appealing leads make you want to root for their happiness.
STREAM: If you're looking for a short, easy watch with attractive leads (and a crash course in Korean weddings!)
SKIP: If you're in the mood for something heavier and more substantial.