3 June 2012


Tim and I were engaged a month ago. We talked it over with our closest family and friends, then proposed to each other with a cake (me) and a song (Tim). Our siblings and parents are spread all over, so we decided to go to city hall in Seoul.

Getting married at the Jongno District Office costs ₩400 (34 cents!) and takes about twenty minutes. The ‘Foreigner’s Corner’ is not a wildly romantic place, but we were okay with that. All you need are your passports, affidavits from your embassies and two witnesses—we had our older brothers, who flew in from Montreal and Phuket.

We took photos afterwards at Gyeongbokgung (‘Palace of Shining Happiness’). I bought a Fuji Instax 210 hoping we’d be able to get one great wedding portrait—I love the size and quality of the film. I also wanted a picture with Louise Bourgeois’ spiders, but the Leeum Samsung museum was closed. We slipped past the ropes and were halfway up the steps when the guard appeared; I begged him for just one photo and ran along before he could really refuse.

We had a long, lovely six-course dinner at OK2 (my brother’s treat). The chef gave us a wonderful little speech and sent us two tiny cakes with candles: Be happy!

The dress was my sister Sherrill’s, cut to tea-length and with an added lace panel across the d├ęcolletage; it was made and altered by Ree, our seamstress in Phuket. The 1920s lace was from my great aunt’s wedding dress and had also been part of my mother’s. The pink shoes and purse were my sister Chrissy’s, from L.K. Bennett. I wasn’t going to bother with a bouquet, but in the end was glad to have peonies from a florist in Hongdae (something to do with your hands in photos!).

Tim bought his suit, shirt and shoes at Customellow, a dapper Korean menswear shop in Hongdae. My mom picked out the men’s ties and pocket squares from Jim Thompson. My brother—an excellent maid of honour—brought everything from Thailand on the morning of the wedding, including the dress. I chatted with my mom while doing my make-up (based on Lisa Eldrige’s summer rose look); hurray for Skype video.

We had dinner with friends the next night at Apartamento and grapefruit makgeolli at Mui Mui. Our cab driver on the way home told us that in Korea, they say you should fight at least a hundred times before getting married.

We’re working on it!

I avoided wedding blogs, but for whatever reason have always read East Side Bride.
For hair I went to Johnny at Hair & Joy; for eyelashes, nails and boys’ haircuts, we went to Hera, the salon below our flat (02 335 3340). The stylists were incredibly sweet and applauded us from their balcony as we left, the nicest send-off.