Before we’re born, our destiny is mapped out for us. We can either fight it, or like Solbee, follow it.
At the tender age of 14, Korean born Solbee enrolled in an exchange student program which landed her in Australia. It was there where, years later, Solbee and Glenn met at Monash University in Melbourne, and their love story began.
The couple, living in Australia, chose the beautiful Youngsanjae Hanok Hotel in Mokpo, for their destination wedding. They wanted something very unique and with Solbee’s family living in Korea, it was the perfect choice. Although they chose a traditional Korean wedding ceremony (with a number of their guests from Australia and other countries), Glenn and Solbee included some western style and tradition too.
Both the Bride and Groom had 2 wardrobe changes which included western style and Hanbok attire. Solbee designed her western style wedding dress herself and had it made. It was absolutely stunning with sleek, elegant lines that hugged every inch of her slim body. Solbee’s “something borrowed” were earrings from her Australian “mom” Mandy. Photographing this amazing dress made me feel like I’d hit the jackpot! It was perfect from every angle, with the elaborate detail glistening in the afternoon sun.
It was time for the big reveal (one of my favorite parts). Glenn looking very dapper in his black tux, met Solbee outside her room. Needless to say he was in awe of his beautiful bride to be when he saw her in that dress for the 1st time! “It is hard to say. I was speechless. I was surprised how heavy Solbee’s dress was. She looked so shiny like a star.” is what Glenn had to say.
I photographed the couple in a quiet, secluded part of the hotel grounds before the ceremony. The light was amazing on what was supposed to be a rainy day. We had perfect wedding weather! Thank you Mother Nature! It was time for another wardrobe change. This time into their Hanbok attire for their traditional wedding ceremony. “We knew that we wanted something bold and colourful. A lot of modern bridal Hanboks were soft pastel but we wanted our wedding to be quite traditional like a Royal Wedding.” And royal looking they were!
Traditional ceremonies are my favorite kind to photograph. Rich in traditions, rituals and color! The proceedings are led by a percussion band called Samulnori, dressed in vibrant colors and big, happy smiles, their gaiety is quite contagious! The groom and his party follow and then the bride, with rituals performed in between. One of which is the handing over of wooden geese (Jeon-an-rye) by the groom to his mother in law. The geese symbolize harmony and love between husband and wife. Geese mate for life, keep their promise of love and never find another if they should lose their partner. The bride arrives in grand splendor carried in in a traditional carriage called a uija gama. The groom calls out to his bride, and once she is
satisfied that he is calling her name with enough love and emotion, she wiggles the carriage which signals her carriers that she is ready to exit it.
There were many touching moments throughout the ceremony, like Glenn’s parents speech which his father gave in Korean and his sister who sang a song for them playing a ukulele. Solbee’s father also gave a beautiful speech. Once married, Glenn piggybacked his bride down the aisle (another Korean tradition).
There are so many beautiful, symbolic and intricate rituals that form part of the traditional wedding ceremony. I was amazed at how seamless and effortlessly Glenn and his family followed these rituals together with their Korean counterparts. Like ducks to water (or shall I say geese ☺). There were no cultural divides amongst the guests either, they were at this wedding with one common goal in mind (well two actually), and that was to witness the beautiful union of Glenn and Solbee and to have FUN!
The reception took place under fairy lights in true western wedding style. After a quick wardrobe change, it was time for the couple to join their guests and get their P A R T Y on! Young and old joining in the celebrations!
Here’s what the newlyweds had to say about their wedding day:
Solbee – “After the korean ceremony, we came back to our room to get changed into the dress. It was such a long day and even though our videographer was in the room filming us, we got to actually sit down and just briefly talk about the day. It really felt like it was just us two. Then we got to stand at the balcony to see everyone at the reception. It was so much fun! I also loved seeing my Adelaide parents dancing and having dad during our thank you speech.”
Glenn – “I liked doing all the ceremony stuff with Solbee. I wasn’t nervous and felt like it was just us. I thought I would be very nervous but I was really happy and calm. I had so much fun with the whole day.” The day ended with Glenn and Solbee being sent on their way with well wishes and sparklers, but not before they thanked their guests (especially those who came from afar) for making their special day one they’d remember forever.
Glenn and Solbee
I loved everything about this wedding – That dress, you guys, your friends and families!
Thank you for entrusting me with your memories.
Be happy always!