- Rachel Kwon, from New Orleans, married her longtime partner Jaehwan Kwon in June.
- Rachel said they followed South Korean wedding traditions, except she kept her dress a surprise.
An American who recently got married in South Korea says she created a makeshift contraption to hide her wedding dress from the groom before the ceremony.
Rachel Kwon told Insider she moved from New Orleans, Louisiana to Gyeonggi-do, just outside Seoul, South Korea, nine years ago. She met her husband, Jaehwan Kwon, there in 2014. Rachel and Jaehwan, originally from South Korea, got married in Ansan (a city in Gyeonggi province southwest of Seoul) on June 18.
The couple’s wedding mostly followed South Korean wedding traditions, Rachel said. For example, they did a photoshoot in wedding attire months before the ceremony and used the photos for their invitations and to decorate a photo table on their site. Rachel said she wore a variety of different dresses in the photo shoot – none of which were worn for the ceremony as she didn’t want the groom to see her wedding dress beforehand.
Although in recent years it has become more common for couples in the United States to have a “First look” with their partner before the ceremony, Rachel said she wanted to stick to the American tradition of keeping her dress a secret before walking down the aisle.
And she found a unique way to hide her dress before walking down the aisle – using an umbrella and lots of fabric.
Rachel hid her dress from the groom with a homemade contraption
Rachel said from her experience at South Korean weddings, it’s common for the bride and groom to greet guests and take photos with them in their wedding attire before the ceremony. But because Rachel wanted her wedding dress to be a surprise, Jaehwan greeted their guests as Rachel put on her dress.
After that, the plan was for Rachel to go to the bride’s private waiting area to spend time with her family and close friends before the ceremony — but there was a bit of a hurdle.
“The private changing room I had available for changing was on a completely different floor than our wedding venue,” Rachel said.
“That meant I had to find a way to make sure my husband – who was greeting guests right outside our wedding venue – wouldn’t see me in my dress as I walked through a crowd of guests from the elevator to the bride’s waiting room right next to him,” she added.
Rachel said she originally planned to cover her dress with a bed sheet before a friend of hers came up with the idea of using an umbrella and a white cloth. Rachel sewed it the day before her wedding, and her twin sister and sister-in-law escorted her to the bride’s waiting room before the ceremony.
This way, she could surprise Jaehwan at the altar with her wedding dress: a long silk dress which she teamed with matching elbow-length gloves, a veil tucked into an elegant bun and earrings dazzling.
On June 23, Rachel shared a video of Jaehwan’s reaction when she walked down the aisle in her dress to her Instagram page, @rachelhehehwhere she has 94,000 subscribers on Friday.
Rachel found her vintage wedding dress for $200 in New Orleans
Rachel said she bought her wedding dress for $200 while visiting family in New Orleans. On Tuesday, she shared an Instagram post about her experience.
She opted for a decidedly more understated look than the dress she wore for her pre-wedding photos. “I had already worn a big princess dress in our pre-wedding photoshoot and didn’t feel like myself at all,” she said.
Looking back on the big day, Rachel said she had “no regrets” about hiding her dress from Jaehwan until the moment she walked down the aisle.
“I just wanted […] having my ’90s movie moment with my husband, walking down the aisle to Sixpence None the Richer’s ‘Kiss Me’,” she said.
All it took to get there was a little creativity.
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