The brides - all 2000 of them - wore white. The grooms looked sharp in their wedding suits and bow ties. One thousand couples tied the knot, and another 3000 renewed vows at a mass ceremony in Gapyeong, South Korea. The wedding was conducted by the Unification Church founded by the late Reverend Sun Myung Moon.

Couples from around the world attend a mass wedding ceremony at the Cheong Shim Peace World Center in Gapyeong. Photo / AP
Couples from around the world attend a mass wedding ceremony at the Cheong Shim Peace World Center in Gapyeong. Photo / AP

His widow, Han Hak-ja, blessed couples with holy water, as thousands in the audience at the Cheongshim Peace World Centre applauded.

Couples from around the world exchange their rings in a mass wedding ceremony at the Cheong Shim Peace World Center in Gapyeong. Photo / AP
Couples from around the world exchange their rings in a mass wedding ceremony at the Cheong Shim Peace World Center in Gapyeong. Photo / AP

The church, which for years has been derided by critics as a dangerous cult which indoctrinates followers - the so-called Moonies - has held large scale weddings for decades, with self-declared messiah Moon playing matchmaker and pairing couples who had never met and sometimes did not even speak the same language.

A couple watches a screen during a mass wedding ceremony at the Cheong Shim Peace World Center in Gapyeong. Photo / AP
A couple watches a screen during a mass wedding ceremony at the Cheong Shim Peace World Center in Gapyeong. Photo / AP

At Monday's ceremony, 64 nationalities were represented.

Advertisement
A bride cries in a mass wedding ceremony at the Cheong Shim Peace World Center in Gapyeong. Photo / AP
A bride cries in a mass wedding ceremony at the Cheong Shim Peace World Center in Gapyeong. Photo / AP
Couples from around the world perform in a mass wedding ceremony at the Cheong Shim Peace World Center in Gapyeong. Photo / AP
Couples from around the world perform in a mass wedding ceremony at the Cheong Shim Peace World Center in Gapyeong. Photo / AP
Couples from around the world attend a mass wedding ceremony at the Cheong Shim Peace World Center in Gapyeong. Photo / AP
Couples from around the world attend a mass wedding ceremony at the Cheong Shim Peace World Center in Gapyeong. Photo / AP