About a month before our wedding, my husband and I partook in a very common (as in, almost every one!) modern Korean tradition of the “pre-wedding photo shoot”. At first I had a tiny tinge of “bad-luck-fear” regarding my husband seeing me in a wedding dress before the wedding. That was quickly overrun by the excitement of a full day devoted to playing and modelling.
The day started early. We were living in Pyeongtaek at the time, about an hour from Seoul. We arrived at the wedding hall in Pyeongtaek around eight AM. We had bought the photo package with our wedding package, (which is a whole ‘nother post), so we began at the wedding hall (or wedding hole, as my husband always managed to write it) to get ready. We had hired a “helper” to stay with me all day, adjusting hair and make-up, and helping me with wardrobe changes. The package we chose included the rental of two wedding dresses, and two formal dresses. On the day of the actual wedding, I wore my own dress that I bought the when we were visiting Canada a few months before.
I was terrified that nothing would fit my western body shape, and immediately began to stress out. The helper took me into the dress closet, where there were hundreds of dresses to choose from. By that time, I honestly didn’t care what the dress looked like as long as it fit! I was instructed to disrobe, on a platform, surrounded by 360 degree mirrors. I was embarrassed almost to the point of tears to be undressed in front of the Korean helper, but she didn’t seem to find this a strange occurrence. I closed my eyes and let her dress me. All of the dresses were surprisingly quite big, so she clipped and pinned them together to make sure the looked like the perfect fit. I was so relieved to find that everything looked lovely! I sat down, where my hair and make up were immaculately refined, despite my protests for no bushy eyebrows (I angrily wiped them off in the van on the way to the photo shoot).
We embarked on an hour long journey to Seoul, in a van provided by the wedding hall, to the photography studio. When we reached the shop, we went down into the studio and it was breathtaking! There were different “scenes” set up all around the large area. Formal settings, playful settings, backdrops and props. The room was filled with windows for natural lighting and it reminded me of a converted warehouse. We spent the entire day taking pictures, changing clothes and smiling. My helper dressed and re-dressed me six times (four rental dresses, my own pink and yellow hanbok, and a red and blue hanbok that my mother in law rented for me because she thought the colour flattered me nicely). Each time my dress was changed, my hair was also slightly altered.
A day or two after the photo shoot, we received all of the pre-photo shopped images, to choose our favourites. The photos were made into an album, large wall prints, and standing frames, which were displayed the day of our wedding, at the wedding hall, for our guests to enjoy. I just asked my husband how much we paid for the photo shoot, and he said about $2000. Very expensive, but money well spent, in my opinion
Below are some of the pre-photoshopped photos from our wedding shoot.
When my sister in law had her wedding photos taken a year later, she included her bests friends in some photos (all lined up in cute matching pink dresses, like bridesmaids, despite the fact that there were actually no bridesmaids in the wedding ceremony. My hubby and I even managed a few cameos. Her package included many outdoor photo scenes as well.
What do you think? Would you consider a pre-wedding photo shoot? It sure took the hassle out of worrying about posed pictures on the wedding day! Of course we still had photos of the ceremony (included in our package, a two part deal), but we were able to skip the lengthy custom of extended photos on the big day.