- Rachel Kwon, from New Orleans, married her longtime partner Jaehwan Kwon in June.
- Rachel said they followed Korean wedding traditions, except that her gown was a surprise.
- Rachel created an installation out of an umbrella and fabric so the groom wouldn’t see her dress.
An American woman who recently got married in South Korea said she created a makeshift device to hide her wedding dress from the groom ahead of the wedding.
Rachel Kwon told Insider she moved from New Orleans, Louisiana, to Gyeonggi-do, South Korea, just outside Seoul, nine years ago. She met her now husband Jaehwan Kwon there in 2014. Rachel and Jaehwan from South Korea got married on June 18 in Ansan, a city in Gyeonggi-do southwest of Seoul.
Rachel said the couple’s wedding mostly followed Korean wedding traditions. For example, they took photos in their wedding dresses months before the ceremony and used those photos as their invitations and decorated a photo table at their venue. Rachel said she wore a variety of different gowns for the photoshoot – she didn’t wear any to the ceremony because she didn’t want the groom to see her wedding dress in advance.
Although it has become more common in the U.S. in recent years for couples to have a “first look” with their partner before their wedding, Rachel said she wants to stick to the American tradition of keeping her attire secret before walking down the aisle.
She came up with a unique way to hide her dress before walking down the aisle – with an umbrella and lots of fabric.
Rachel hides her dress from groom with homemade contraption
Rachel said that in her Korean wedding experience, it was common for the bride and groom to greet guests in their wedding dresses and take pictures with them before the ceremony. But because Rachel wanted her wedding dress to be a surprise, Jae-hwan greeted their guests while Rachel changed into her gown.
Afterwards, Rachel plans to spend time with some close family and friends in the private bridal waiting area before the wedding – but there’s a snag.
“The private dressing room where I can change clothes is on a completely different floor than our wedding hall,” Rachel said.
“That meant I had to figure out a way to make sure my husband — who was greeting guests in front of our wedding hall — wouldn’t see me in my dress as I walked through the crowd from the elevator to the bride. The waiting room was next to him,” she added.
Rachel said she initially planned to cover her skirt with a sheet before a friend of hers came up with the idea of using an umbrella and white fabric. Rachel sewed it together the day before the 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 with her wedding dress: a silk floor-length gown with matching elbow-length gloves, a veil tucked into a sleek updo and dazzling earrings.
On June 23, Rachel shared a video of Jaehwan’s reaction to her walking down the aisle in a dress on her Instagram page, @rachelhehehshe had 94,000 followers as of Friday.
Rachel Found Her Vintage Wedding Dress for $200 in New Orleans
Rachel said she paid $200 for the wedding dress while visiting family in New Orleans. On Tuesday, she shared her experience on Instagram.
She opted for a more understated look compared to the dress she wore for her pre-wedding photos. “I was already wearing a big princess dress when we were taking the wedding photos, and it didn’t feel like me at all,” she said.
Looking back on the big day, Rachel said she “doesn’t regret” hiding her dress from Jae-hwan before the moment she walked down the aisle.
“I just think […] Spending my ’90s movie moments with my husband, walking down the aisle to Sixpence No Rich’s ‘Kiss Me,'” she said.
All it takes to make it happen is a little creativity.