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Couples exchange single life for vows in Flushing

Next to her, another bride sat with her husband-to-be, avoiding photographers and nervously rereading the wedding program.

Behind her, a groom looked for his bride to rush in, which she did just minutes before the couple marched down the aisle for their complementary wedding at Young Bin Kwoan in Flushing on Tuesday.

The song should have been renamed "Here Comes the Brides" for the ceremony, which featured five brides and five grooms, who lined up alongside one another to say their vows.

They had all responded to an ad posted by Best Bridal in Flushing offering a free wedding including a dress, makeup, flowers, and a luncheon ceremony with each couple allowed to invite two guests.

The owner of Best Bridal, Yoen Joo Lee, said she holds the weddings just to have an "event."

The emcee for the afternoon, Christine Colligan, said Lee does it out of "goodwill for the community."

None of the five couples could have afforded a wedding otherwise, Colligan said.

One couple in particular, Byung Jo Hwang and Woo Pu Kum, said they decided to get married after learning about the free ceremony from a friend.

"If we can do it, we will go back to Korea and have a traditional wedding ceremony where we can bow to our parents," the couple said through a translator.

All of the couples who were wed Tuesday were Korean. Colligan said that in a traditional Korean wedding, the bride and groom wear costumes and bow to their in-laws after they are wed. The ceremony Tuesday was traditionally Western with white dresses, "Here Comes the Bride" wedding march and a flower girl leading the procession.

"Some of these couples have been waiting a long time for a wedding," Colligan said.

Hwang and Kum said they have dated for four years.

"We're so happy to have this opportunity," Kum said through a translator. "I thank God for this opportunity."

Reach reporter Cynthia Koons by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 141.

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