This article was first published on Oct 20, 2014
Mention South Korea and images of tree-lined avenues cloaked in autumn tints, imposing palaces whispering of dynasties past and snow-adorned mountain slopes come to mind.
The peninsula, made famous by its hugely addictive tearjerker dramas, is beginning to draw Singaporean couples looking for that fairytale pre-wedding photoshoot setting. And with four seasons to choose from, every photoshoot tells a different story. Just ask Singaporean couple and self-confessed K-addicts (people who love Korean dramas and music) Ng Yi Ting, 26, and Clement Quek, 28, who went to South Korea for their pre-wedding shoot in May.
Says Ms Ng: “I was looking through the different pre-wedding packages offered in Singapore when Clement suddenly suggested doing our photoshoot in Korea.
“Since we both love everything about Korea — from K-pop and TV variety shows to the delicious Korean food in Singapore — we decided it was the place to do our photoshoot and enjoy a short holiday at the same time.”
The couple signed up with wedding photography firm IDOWEDDING during a travel fair and were happy with their choice. While they had to book their flights themselves, the company — which specialises in Korean concept wedding photography — took care of everything else, including accommodation, gown selection and make-up.
Although the photoshoot was done primarily in the studio, they were surprised by the myriad of dreamy indoor backdrops that were available, such as a bridge against a “clear blue sky”, a nostalgic old-style café, romantic secret gardens and even a white grand piano.
The professional service and friendly nature of the Korean team also impressed the couple so much that they have decided to return to Korea next year for their wedding anniversary photoshoot.
“The Korean team had so many interesting ideas when it comes to taking photos, it made you want to take more,” says Ms Ng.
For more enchanting places to visit in Korea, go to www.visitkorea.or.kr.
Destination photography is not a new concept, and many engaged couples have gone to great lengths, travelling overseas to capture their marital bliss in photos.
However, the experience is not always fuss-free. Often, the couple has to pay for the photography and make-up team’s airfare and they sometimes find themselves having to lug their own heavy gowns and tuxedos.
In contrast, a Korean pre-wedding photography experience takes away all that stress. All the necessary gowns, tuxedos and accessories are usually provided, lending that essential shine to complete the look.
Often, the creative team — from the photographers to the stylists — consists of Koreans known for their deft artistry, ready to transform the couple into superstars with just a stroke of the brush or a click of the shutter.
Couples can also achieve flexibility in the look and feel of their photos. Be it a chic café or lush garden setting, Korean photo studios can also weave indoor and outdoor concepts into a stylish theme.
For those looking for outdoor settings, Nami Island and Jeju Island are exceptional locations for an unforgettable photoshoot. Nami Island was a filming site for the Korean hit drama Winter Sonata, and the tree-lined lane where the lovers walked has now become a symbol of romantic love.
Similarly, the volcanic Island of Jeju, one of the new seven wonders of nature, has been featured in many Korean dramas, and is a traditional honeymoon destination for the Koreans. Its wind-swept flower fields, rocky formations and blue coastlines are a delight for any shutterbug and almost every photo taken comes out breathtaking.
Celebrities for a day
For Singaporeans Jurine Hong and Jovan Yow, both 31, the pampering they received from their creative team was one of the highlights they experienced when taking their wedding photos in Korea in April.
Ms Hong recalls having four stylists working on her hair and make-up simultaneously. The Korean co-ordinator had also picked the perfect gown for her, creating a “princess effect” that she loved.
“My husband and I did not feel tired at all as we were very well taken care of by them. It was like a day in the life of a Korean celebrity,” she recalls.
The photo studio even had its own pet dogs for them to pose with, they say.
“Animal lovers like us got to enjoy the studio’s own cottage house and farm that was just outside their indoor studio. Dogs, sheep and donkeys can be participants in photoshoots too,” says Ms Hong.
On top of that, their Korean photographer was “more like a film director” in creating the right atmosphere for the shoot. The couple had signed up with local bridal shop The Louvre Bridal, which collaborated with Lstudio, a popular Korean studio featured previously in the “We Got Married” reality show.
“When our album was shipped over from Korea in June, we were taken back to the enjoyable moments once again. All our micro-expressions were captured beautifully.
“This will be an everlasting memory for my husband and me,” she says.
Another advantage to having wedding photos taken in Korea is being able to combine it with a short holiday.
Seoul Tower, located atop Namsan Mountain, gives far-reaching views and is particularly lovely at sunset. A popular dating spot, couples are often spotted taking photos with the thousands of colourful “couple locks” on the railings, each telling its own tale of love.
The trails around Namsan are pretty at any time of the year, dispensing floaty cherry blossoms petals in spring and blazing red and yellow leaves in autumn.
Ssamziegil in Insa-dong is not only a popular tourist spot for its cultural hodgepodge of craft shops, tea houses and restaurants, it also makes for a hip photo backdrop.
For a touch of the traditional, Seoul is home to the “Five Grand Palaces” hailing from the Joseon Dynasty, with Changdeokgung Palace unabashedly leading the pack with the most beautiful grounds.
The architecture of Changdeokgung blends unobtrusively with the surrounding nature; and its secret garden — Biwon — is a landscape filled with pavilions, ponds and secluded wooded areas. One can dress in traditional Korean outfits and travel back in time to the period when royalty once strolled there.
Nearby, the Bukchon Hanok Village is a charming collection of tile-roofed hanok (Korean traditional house) buildings that have stood the test of centuries.
For more information about Korea pre-wedding photography services, contact IDOWEDDING (tel: 6452-0028) and The Louvre Bridal (tel: 6337-7808).