A bride and groom standing in the hallway of a hotel.

Lorryn Smit

July 12, 2023

Welcome back to the second part of our three-part blog series, “Your Ultimate Guide to Planning a Dreamy Wedding in South Korea.” (Click here for part one) In this installment, we’ll dive into the exciting aspects of enlisting your own wedding vendors, discovering Sarah’s favorite wedding venues in Seoul, finding the perfect wedding dress, and achieving your desired hair and makeup looks. Let’s continue our journey through the magical world of South Korean weddings!

Freelance Wedding Vendors at Korean Weddings

When it comes to bringing in your own vendors, such as caterers, florists, and photographers, it’s essential to consider the policies of the venue you’ve chosen. In many cases, particularly with hotels and indoor venues, bringing in external catering and floral teams may not be an option. Some venues even have mandatory partnerships with specific photographers and videographers. This is definitely frustrating for an international bride planning their wedding in Korea.

However, if you’re planning a smaller wedding or opting for a hanok, restaurant, or outdoor venue, you may find more flexibility and willingness to accommodate your preferences. Keep in mind that some venues may charge additional fees for using outside vendors, so it’s important to clarify the terms and costs beforehand. While it may not always be feasible, exploring these possibilities can add a personal touch and enhance the overall uniqueness of your wedding.

Another thing to consider is that effective communication with your wedding vendors is key, especially when you’re planning from afar. That’s why it’s essential to work with at least a few professionals who are fluent in both English and Korean (such as Sarah and myself). They’ll be your invaluable allies, ensuring seamless communication and understanding throughout the planning process.

Sarah’s favorite wedding venues in Seoul

When it comes to planning, wedding venues in Korea have an abundance of options that can cater to various tastes and preferences. Here are some of my favorite wedding venues that I believe offer a truly enchanting experience:

Bonelli Garden: This outdoor venue showcases the beauty of nature, providing a picturesque setting for your special day.

May Dining: Another fantastic outdoor venue, May Dining offers a charming ambiance and a delightful atmosphere for your wedding celebration.

Sunwoongak: If you’re seeking a blend of tradition and nature, this Hanok/outdoor venue will captivate you with its timeless elegance and serene surroundings.

Samcheonggak: With its traditional Hanok architecture and stunning outdoor spaces, Samcheonggak exudes a sense of tranquility and grace, perfect for an unforgettable wedding.

Seokparang: This Hanok/outdoor venue combines history and natural beauty, allowing you to immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Korea while celebrating your love.

Villa De Gd Suseo/Cheongdam: If you prefer an indoor venue with a touch of the outdoors, this house wedding venue offers a garden-like atmosphere and ample natural sunlight, creating a warm and inviting ambiance.

The SkyFarm: Located on the 50th floor, this house wedding venue provides breathtaking panoramic views of the city and Han River, adding a touch of urban sophistication to your wedding.

Adela Bailey: For a mountain view that will leave you in awe, this restaurant/outdoor venue offers a stunning backdrop for your wedding, allowing you to bask in the beauty of nature.

The Floating Island: Imagine exchanging vows on a rooftop with a captivating view of the Han River. This unique venue provides a romantic and unforgettable setting for your special day.

These venues are just a glimpse into the incredible array of options available in Korea. Whether you’re drawn to the charm of outdoor spaces, the elegance of Hanok venues, or the fusion of indoor and outdoor settings, each venue has its own distinct character, ensuring a memorable and magical wedding experience.

Korean Wedding Dress Shops:

When it comes to renting a dress in Korea, the process can be quite systematic and has its own set of rules. This is an area that brides have the most difficulty in when planning their wedding in Korea from abroad. Most people choose to rent dresses from dress shops in Korea, and the prices vary depending on the brand, type of dress, and quality, ranging from 1 million KRW to 30 million KRW.

To rent a dress, it’s crucial to make a reservation months in advance. Popular dress shops are often booked up to 6 to 9 months ahead, so it’s important to secure your appointment as soon as your wedding date and flight ticket is confirmed. This ensures you have a better chance of getting your desired dress and shop.

If you’re a bride living in Korea or can visit Korea months before your wedding, you have the option to go on a “dress tour.” During this tour, you can visit various dress shops, try on different dresses, and compare them to make an informed decision. However, if you’re visiting Korea just a few weeks or days before the wedding, this may not be feasible. In that case, you’ll need to choose a dress shop based on their Instagram or online portfolio, make an appointment, and during your fitting session, try on a few dresses and finalize your choice on the spot. While there’s a risk of not finding the perfect dress through this process, many brides have still chosen this option and ended up satisfied with their dresses.

If you find the rental process too risky or prefer to bring your own dress, you can certainly do so. However, this involves the hassle of packing and transporting your gown to Korea, as well as ironing and maintaining its quality on the day of the wedding. To ease the process, you can hire a “dress helper manager” who will assist you on the day of the wedding, helping you change into your dress and ensuring it looks its best during the ceremony.

Ultimately, whether you choose to rent a dress or bring your own, there are options available to suit your preferences and circumstances. It’s important to plan ahead, make necessary arrangements, and consider what works best for you to have the perfect dress for your special day.

Korean Bridal Makeup:

When it comes to finding the perfect makeup shop in Korea, there are a few factors to consider. Each makeup shop has its own unique style, and within the shop, there are multiple makeup artists and hairstylists with varying levels of experience. To help brides in their search, I usually recommend one or two artists based on the style they desire. Checking the shop’s Instagram can give you an idea of the makeup they specialize in, but it’s important to remember that Instagram may not show the whole story. Some highly talented artists may not have a strong presence on social media. As a wedding planner who has worked with numerous brides in Korea, I can provide guidance and help find the right artist for you, considering your preferences and needs.

In Korea, there is typically no free trial for makeup and hair services. Brides usually arrive a few hours before their wedding to have their hair and makeup done. However, if you’re willing to pay, some shops offer the option of a trial session before your wedding, allowing you to ensure you’re satisfied with the results.

On the day of the wedding, I advise brides and grooms to bring pictures of the desired makeup and hairstyles, or even better, pass those pictures along to the stylist before the wedding. Clear communication is crucial, and it’s important to express your likes, dislikes, and any changes you’d like to make as you’re getting your hair and makeup done.

For brides who prefer to get ready in a more “Western way,” like in a hotel room, there is an option to hire an on-demand hair and makeup artist who can come to your hotel or house, allowing you to get ready with your friends and family. However, it’s important to note that this option may require early planning before the wedding as it’s not readily available everywhere in Korea.

By considering these factors and communicating your preferences clearly, you can enhance your chances of finding the perfect makeup shop and achieving the desired look for your special day.

The second part of the series concludes, I hope you’re feeling inspired and excited about planning your dreamy wedding in South Korea. From understanding the policies of your chosen venue to exploring the enchanting wedding venues in Seoul, from renting or bringing your own wedding dress to finding the perfect makeup shop, each step plays a significant role in creating a wedding experience that reflects your unique love story.

Remember, communication is key throughout the planning process. Work closely with bilingual professionals who can bridge any language barriers and ensure your preferences are understood. By planning ahead and considering the options available, you’ll be well on your way to achieving the wedding of your dreams.

Stay tuned for the final part of the series, where we’ll delve into cultural traditions, culinary delights, and capturing precious moments on your special day. Until then, keep dreaming and planning your unforgettable South Korean wedding!

Find Sarah here: on Instagram, Kakaotalk: sarah38, or e-mail: sarahshin38@gmail.com 

Your Ultimate Guide to Planning a Dreamy Wedding in South Korea: Part Two

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

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