Lorryn Smit

July 10, 2019

“We love because it’s the only true adventure.”


Their story began in May of 2016 when Madeleine was out and about in Yeosu with her dog, Henry. Hyeonsoo, who was on vacation, spotted the two, went over to say “hello” and ended up spending the rest of the day taking in the sites of Yeosu with Madeleine and Henry. The rest, as they say, is history.

Hyeonsoo and Madelein were married on 30 June 2019 at the Hanok Hotel, Yeongsanjae [영산재 한옥호텔]. This beautiful 14th-century-style traditional Hanok house set in picturesque gardens, overlooking the Yeongsan River was the perfect setting for the couple’s colourful traditional Korean wedding ceremony. It was an intimate affair including only very close friends and family, and Madeleine’s dog, Henry of course.

Madeleine hails from America where she and Hyeonsoo had a western wedding 2 years ago. Being multi-cultural, it was important for the couple to embrace Hyeonsoo’s Korean culture too by finally “sealing the deal” with a traditional Korean wedding.

A very hot and humid day began with hair and make-up. Staying cool, calm and collected in these extremely hot weather conditions is not easy, but my bride aced it! The prize for Madeleine at the end of this session was a 45 minute window before we had to be at the wedding venue. We used this opportunity to cool down at a nearby Starbucks. I didn’t take pictures here, I decided to give Madeleine a time out and get to know my bride and her mother a little better.

We had a wonderful fourty minute window before the guests were going to arrive so we used this rare opportunity to make some bride and groom portraits. I captured the couple as they took a stroll, hand in hand, through the venue before the ceremony. Madeleine moved along as if she was floating on a cloud in her beautiful pale pink Hanbok, so graciously. The couple had such a sense of calmness about them as they casually interacted with one another along their way.

With the ceremony about to begin, it was time for Hyeonsoo and Madeleine to change into their traditional wedding attire.  this elaborate, meaningful and very beautiful ritual, is by far my favorite part of the wedding day. The lighting in the hanok is beautiful, the bride looks like a Korean princess and the groom a dapper prince. It makes my soul sing!

Another one of my favorite parts of a wedding day, is taking casual, in the moment, pictures of the guests. I managed to capture Henry (remember the family dog?) greeting Hyeon-soo’s father.  The décor and symbolic ornaments at a traditional Korean wedding make for beautiful and vibrant pictures. The wooden mandarin geese (Jeon-an-rye) for instance are a beautiful symbol of 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 groom presents the geese to his future mother in law.

Another part of the ceremony is the pre-wedding performance. This is performed by a percussion band (Samulnori) using 4 instruments called: Kkwaenggwari (small gong) thunder, Jing (large gong) wind, Janggu (hour glass shaped drum) rain and Buk (barrel drum) cloud. I managed to capture the vivid colour and abundant joy the band members brought to the ceremony!

The wedding ceremony finally began with the arrival of the groom followed by his bride. When I asked Hyeonsoo what his reaction was when seeing Madeleine for the 1st time in her wedding dress, he answered “She was very pretty, she is always pretty, but it is rare for her to dress up like that”.

Another very touching moment, the one the couple both chose as their most favourite moment, was when Hyeonsoo surprised Madeleine with a song he sang to her. The emotion that this amazing gesture welled up inside of them is captured in the pictures. No words needed. The remainder of the ceremony followed traditional suite, ending with Hyeonsoo piggy backing his bride down the aisle (to the delight of the guests) and an amazing wedding lunch!!


Hyeonsoo and Madeleine, thank you for entrusting me with your wedding memories.

Be happy always <3


[Yeongsanjae Hanok Hotel, Mokpo Traditional Korean Wedding]Hyeonsoo and Madeleine

 Yours will be finessed to celebrate your love, your destiny.

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