Watch: Mass wedding in SeoulComments
Thousands of couples tied the knot in a Unification Church mass wedding on Wednesday in South Korea.
About 2,500 couples took part in the ceremony at the Cheongshim World Peace Centre, in Gapyeong, about 40 miles (60 kilometres) northeast of the capital, Seoul.
The couples were paired by the church, in a ceremony watched by 20-thousand guests.
The wedding took place along with the commemorative events for the First Anniversary of Foundation Day.
Brides wore various kinds of white wedding dresses and grooms donned the church’s symbolic scarves on their black tuxedos.
Some of brides and grooms travelled from abroad to get married.
Bride Claire Lacroix, a college student from Canada, said “It was a bit stressful coming here because we’re from Canada. So just preparing for it’s a bit stressful but now that we’re here, like everything’s well.”
The ceremony was led by Han Hak-ja, the widow of church’s founder Reverend Sun Myung Moon who died of pneumonia complications aged 92, in September 2012.
Moon, a self-proclaimed Messiah who said he was 15 when Jesus Christ called upon him to carry out his unfinished work, courted controversy and criticism since founding the Unification Church in Seoul in 1954.
He turned his Unification Church into a worldwide religious movement and befriended North Korean leaders as well as US Presidents.
The church gained fame – and notoriety – in the 1970s and 1980s for holding mass weddings of thousands of followers, often from different countries, whom Moon matched up in a bid to build a multicultural religious world.
The Unification Church claims (m) millions of members worldwide, though church defectors and other critics say the figure is no more than 100-thousand.