This Couple Incorporated Korean Wedding Traditions Into Their Big Day in Texas
When Anthony told Alice that he was attending a work trip at the end of the summer of 2018, he actually had a completely different adventure in mind—he was flying to Chicago to ask her parents if he could marry her, followed by a flight to Pittsburgh to ask his own parents for their blessing. "Anthony filmed and documented his entire trip, from the minute he left our apartment—his plane ride, pulling up to my parents' house, interviewing both sets of parents, and going to the jewelers to pick up the custom engagement ring," Alice says. A few weeks later, Alice came home to find Anthony dressed up in a tuxedo with candles lit around the media console. He led Alice to the television and screened what appeared to be a trailer for a movie but was actually a trailer of his "work trip." "The trailer then transitioned and ended with him pulling up to my childhood home, and it became obvious what the trip was," says Alice. At that moment, Anthony got down on one knee and asked her to marry him, and after a resounding yes from his bride, Anthony recreated the meal the pair had on their first date: spicy Korean soft tofu soup. "The proposal was intimate, personal, and perfect," says Alice.
Bringing in cultural details on their wedding day was of great importance to both the bride and groom. "Anthony and I are both Korean American," explains Alice. "We have been brought up in the United States, and share similar cultural upbringings from our Korean parents. We always talked about wanting to incorporate parts of a traditional Korean and Western ceremony, but felt unsure what style or type of space would help support and highlight our story."
As soon as the pair entered Prospect House in Dripping Springs, Texas, they knew it was the perfect venue for them. "We felt that the modern white space and clean lines acted as a blank canvas that would frame and focus our ceremonies," says Alice. "We loved the juxtaposition of bringing in traditional Korean wedding elements to a very modern space; we felt like it embodied us. It was the best space to share our love story with our close family and friends."
On the design front, the pair wanted the décor to capture a feeling. "The moment when you're with the one you love and everything seems dreamy, and the rest of the world fades away," says Alice of their desired vibe. During the design process, the pair had a vision of an abundance of lights, an enchanted effect that was beautifully instituted with plenty of fairy lights by ILIOS Production Design. A muted color palette of light golden beige, ivory, warm golden brown, blush pink, dusty rose, rose quartz, and mauve completed the look.
Big-day vision aside, the duo understood what really mattered when their nuptials arrived. "Remember the importance of the day and what the day represents," advises the bride. "It's beautiful and sacred. The venue, food, dress, and everything else is to enhance it. Focus on the meaning and the memories you'll make from this very special day."
Alice and Anthony opted for a clean, minimal look for their stationery suite. "We wanted the invitation to mimic the architecture of the venue," says the bride, who also contributed a sketch of the couple's pet that was included on the envelopes. A sketch of the framed ceremony altar was incorporated into the suite as well, giving guests a glimpse of what was to come.
For their Korean ceremony, Alice wore a layered South Korean garment called a hanbok. "The first layer acts as a slip; it's called a skirt," explains Alice. "The second layer is the red dress or chima, the hanbok skirt. Next, the sokchima, a corset-like layer with hanbok jacket, or jeogori, is put on, followed by the wonsam or hwalot, the ceremonial jacket."
The jacket's colorful sleeves were intricately embroidered with flowers to represent wealth, longevity, and nobility. "The last piece of the dress is an embroidered scarf that overlaps the sleeves and is used as a part of the Korean ceremony to catch dates," Alice says.
An Elaborate Headpiece
Alice also donned a colorful headpiece called a jokduri, as well as an additional hair accessory, the binyeo. "The binyeo is a long hairpin that sits in the middle of the hair bun for the bridal wedding ribbons—called deanggi—to be applied on both sides of the pin," the bride describes. An additional embroidered daenggi was wrapped around the long hairpin and dropped down the back of the bridal dress. Red stickers were added to Alice's cheeks as the finishing touch.
For his part, Anthony donned a hanbok for men, worn for centuries throughout Korean culture as semi-formal or formal attire during traditional occasions such as festivals, celebrations, and ceremonies. "On the design side, the cranes in the embroidery represent good fortune and longevity because of their fabled life span of a thousand years," explains Alice.
A Customized Korean Ceremony
The first of four rituals Alice and Anthony decided to include in their Korean service—called a paebaek—was a series of deep bows to their family members and the receipt of words of wisdom. The second was the tossing of chestnuts and dates from the family members to the bride and groom. "The chestnuts and dates represent a future child, either a boy or a girl," explains Alice. "The couple catches as many chestnuts and dates as they can with the embroidered scarf, and their haul represents the number of children they will have." The third ritual was the date kiss, in which the bride and groom bite into a single date and whoever gets the pit of the date get his or her desired wish. The fourth ritual? The groom piggybacking the bride.
For their Western ceremony, Anthony donned black patent leather Louboutins, as well as a satin bow tie.
Best Foot Forward
Alice also slipped on Louboutins for her second walk down the aisle; the iridescent fabric added a delicate touch to her ensemble.
The bride's form-fitting, intricate lace wedding dress featured long sleeves and exquisite beading. "I knew this was the dress because I tried on more gowns after it, and continued to compare it against the Lihi Hod 'Orchid White' dress," she says.
A Breathtaking First Look
The couple's first look took place against the beautiful backdrop of the venue's hill country. "It sounds cliché, but right then I realized what it felt like to truly have your breath taken away," says Anthony. "I also tried to hold tears back but ended up just letting them stream down my face. As we kissed and hugged it was so comforting to know this was the person I was going to spend the rest of my life with." Afterwards, the pair's nerves morphed into pure excitement.
A Beautiful Wedding Party
Alice's three bridesmaids wore gowns of their choosing in different shades of dusty rose to coordinate with the warm, muted big-day colors. "When they stood together, it created a soft and subtle gradient," says the bride, who was thrilled with the final result. The groomsmen dressed in gray suits from The Black Tux paired with floral-patterned ties that harmonized with the bridesmaid dresses.
Clouds of baby's breath in white and blush were scattered on the steps and at the foot of the square structure that marked the altar for the Western portion of the ceremony. "We also loved that the backdrop to the altar subtly showcased a part of the rolling hills in Texas, where we met," says Alice. The pair decided to write their own vows, forgoing anecdotes, quotes, and readings. "Both sets of vows had very different structures but coincidentally covered very similar topics, like what we love about one another, how we met, our independent passions, and what we expect in marriage," says Alice.
A Beautiful Accent Wall
The breezeway from which guests entered the reception featured a beaker wall, where romantic single stems in the event's color palette were arranged. "Bud vases held a couple of astilbe flowers each at varying heights to create depth and consistency," says Alice.
A Dreamy Reception Space
Alice and Anthony envisioned a warm, soft, romantic space that pulled elements and details that supported their love story. "The inspiration for the twinkling lights in the reception area came from the movies Singing in the Rain and La La Land," says the bride. Sheer chiffon draping allowed strands of light to shine through on the walls, while more lights created a canopy overhead.
Cloche Floral Arrangements
The first of two table designs featured Ikebana-inspired floral arrangements in which flowers were enclosed in glass cloches rather than placed in vases. "[They] appeared to be growing up from the table, with no base underneath," Alice describes.
Alternating tables displayed low arrangements of baby's breath that were asymmetrical in design and flowed with the shape of the tables. Etched-glass votives tied the two table types together, along with runners dyed a dusty pink.
Menu cards featured sprigs of pink baby's breath held in place with strips of vellum calligraphed with guests' names.
Magic in the Air
Alice and Anthony shared a sweet kiss against the enchanted backdrop of the reception space.
A Creative Cake Design
Their three-tier wedding cake displayed a marble effect and was accented with fresh flowers.
Photography, Feather and Twine
Venue, Prospect House
Wedding Planning and Event Design, Bird Dog Wedding
Flowers, Bricolage Curated Florals
Stationery and Paper Goods, Jen Krause Paper Co
Officiant, Taotao Zhang
Bride's Gown, Lihi Hod
Veil, Dimitra's Bridal Couture
Shoes, Christian Louboutin
Hair, Erica Rae
Makeup, Nisa Nicole
Bridesmaids' Dresses, Dimitra's Bridal
Groom's Attire, Tom Ford
Groomsmen's Attire, The Black Tux
Engagement Ring, Tenenbaum Jewelers
Wedding Bands, Tiffany & Co.
Music, Drew Davis Band (ceremony); DJ NIXX (reception)
Catering, Royal Fig Catering
Cake, Sweet Treets Bakery
Transportation, Clark Travel
Lighting, ILIOS Production Design
Photo Booth, Oh Happy Day Booth