- Rachel Kwon, of New Orleans, married her longtime partner Jaehwan Kwon in June.
- Rachel said they followed South Korean wedding traditions, except she kept her dress a surprise.
- Rachel created a contraption out of an umbrella and cloth to keep the groom from seeing her dress.
An American woman who recently got married in South Korea said she created a makeshift contraption to hide her wedding dress from the groom before the ceremony.
Rachel Kwon told Insider that she moved from New Orleans, Louisiana to Gyeonggi-do, just outside of Seoul, South Korea, nine years ago. She met her now-husband, Jaehwan Kwon, there in 2014. Rachel and Jaehwan, who is from South Korea, were married in Ansan (a city in Gyeonggi Province southwest of Seoul) on June 18.
The couple’s wedding mostly followed South Korean wedding traditions, Rachel said. For example, they did a wedding dress shoot months before the ceremony and used the photos for their invitations and to decorate a photo table at their venue. Rachel said she wore a variety of different dresses to the photo shoot – none of which she wore for the ceremony as she didn’t want the groom to see her wedding dress beforehand.
Although in recent years it has become more common for couples in the US to have a “first look” with their partner before the ceremony, Rachel said she wanted to stick to the American tradition of keeping her dress a secret before walking down the aisle. . .
And she found a unique way to hide her dress before walking down the aisle — using an umbrella and lots of fabric.
Rachel hid her dress from the groom with a homemade trick
Rachel said that in her experience of South Korean weddings, it is common for the bride and groom to greet guests and take photos with them in their wedding dress before the ceremony. But since Rachel wanted her wedding dress to be a surprise, Jaehwan greeted their guests while Rachel changed into her dress.
After that, the plan was for Rachel to go into the private bridal waiting area to spend time with some close family and friends before the ceremony — but there was a bit of a snag.
“The private changing room I had available to change into my dress was on a completely different floor than our wedding hall,” Rachel said.
“This meant I had to find a way to ensure that my husband – who was receiving guests right at the front of our wedding hall – would not see me in my dress as I made my way through a crowd of our guests from the elevator to the wedding hall . waiting room right next to it,” he added.
Rachel said she originally planned to cover her dress with a sheet before a friend thought of using an umbrella and white cloth. Rachel sewed it the day before her wedding and her twin sister and sister-in-law escorted her to the bridal waiting room before the ceremony.
That way, she could surprise Jaehwan at the altar in her wedding dress: a floor-length silk dress that she paired with matching elbow-length gloves, a veil attached to a sleek updo, and dazzling earrings.
On June 23, Rachel shared a video of Jaehwan’s reaction when she walked down the aisle in her dress on her Instagram page. @rachelhehehwhere he has 94,000 followers as of Friday.
Rachel found her vintage wedding dress for $200 in New Orleans
Rachel said she bought her wedding dress for $200 while visiting family in New Orleans. On Tuesday, she shared an Instagram post about her experience.
She went for a decidedly more subdued look than the dress she wore for her pre-wedding photos. “I had already worn a big princess dress during the pre-wedding shoot and I didn’t feel like myself at all,” she said.
Looking back on the big day, Rachel said she has “no regrets” about hiding her dress from Jaehwan until she walked down the aisle.
“I just wanted to […] having my ’90s movie moment with my husband, walking down the aisle to ‘Kiss Me’ by Sixpence None the Richer,” she said.
All it took to do this was a little creativity.