Some 2,500 identically-dressed couples have married in a mass wedding ceremony in South Korea. They were all members of the controversial Unification Church, commonly known as 'Moonies' after their late founder and 'Messiah' the Reverend Sun Myung Moon.

Born in Jeongju, North Korea in 1920, Moon founded his religious movement in 1954. He said that when he was 15 Jesus appeared to him and demanded he set up God's kingdom on Earth.

Mass weddings soon became the trademark of the movement. Often it was Moon himself who matched the couples who were unknown to each other before the ceremony. Moon preferred brides and grooms from different racial backgrounds as he believed in the creation of a multicultural religious world.

This was the church's second mass wedding since Rev Moon died in 2012 aged 93. His widow Hak Ja Han Moon officiated.

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Brides arrive at Cheongshim Peace World Centre on a busGetty
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A bride arrives by bus for her wedding ceremony at Cheongshim Peace World CentreGetty
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A nervous bride-to-be waits for her groomGetty
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A prospective groom waits with a photo of his bride-to-beGetty
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An excited bride clutches a photo of her prospective husbandGetty
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South Korean and foreign couples take part in the Unification Church's mass weddingAP
The identically-dressed couples exchange identical ringsAP
A newlywed couple poses for photographs with their wedding ringsReuters
A newlywed couple takes photos with their iPhonesReuters
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A bride looks at her smartphone during her wedding ceremonyAP
Two newlyweds fall asleep during the ceremonyAP
Couples from around the world celebrate at the end of their mass wedding ceremony at the CheongShim Peace World CentreAP
A bride weeps during the mass wedding ceremonyAP
Newlyweds wait for a lift at Cheongshim Peace World CentreGetty
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A woman looks at wedding photos after the ceremonyGetty