Christina and Mark are such a sweet couple! They’re having an intimate ceremony in the butterfly garden at Trinity River Audobon Center followed by delicious food by Bolsa! The bride is doing her own calligraphy for the escort cards and I can’t wait to watch them play the Newlywed Game! They are also doing something super special with their videographers, they’re taping a message to their future selves, how fun and sweet is that?!
I asked for the background on their engagement photos as I was surprised to see Christina in a wedding dress. Here’s what she had to say: “The engagement photos were taken in Taiwan last December when we went back to have a small family dinner to introduce the family to Mark. In Taiwan, engagement photos are a big deal for couples getting married (maybe even more than the wedding itself) and there is a whole industry dedicated to engagement photos. They have many one-stop shops where you can rent the attire and pick out the photographers in one place. We actually went with a newer concept where small rental companies pair with various photography studios since the photo composition and styling were more unique.
We were only there for 2 weeks so we had to work on a short timeline, meeting with the photographers and renting the dresses/tuxes all within the same week that we were set to go on the actual shoot. The dress rental was interesting because you pick out 3 dresses to wear in addition to a casual outfit, and they rent out wedding dresses for you to wear. The dresses are designed to be easily altered, so you can pick up the dresses a few days after you pick them out and they are altered to your size. Most American engagement shoots are more casual whereas the Taiwanese wear elaborate ball gowns and wedding dresses.
As a side note, almost all of the brides in Taiwan actually do not buy their wedding dresses, instead opting to rent them out for the day.
On the day of the shoot, we showed up with the rented attire and had a photographer & assistant along with a makeup artist & assistant assigned to us. They were with us the whole day and I got 4 distinct hair & makeup looks as well as 4 outfit changes as a part of the shoot. We did 2 outside and 2 studio sets and the whole shoot took a solid 8 hours from start to finish. It was an exhausting and long day, but definitely an interesting experience!”
I grew up in Asia and didn’t move to the US until I was 8 years old so I have always had a slightly different upbringing compared to most of my peers. Mark was born and raised in America, but his parents are immigrants from Japan. We love to travel and eat and typically try to take one long international vacation per year so that we can experience different countries and cultures.
How did you meet?
We met through a mutual friend when we were in college but were acquaintances and didn’t see each other much. I was born in Taiwan but grew up in Japan, and Mark is Japanese but was born in America, therefore not as fluent in Japanese. We actually bonded over that fact since I speak Japanese better than he does.
When and where are you getting married? What made you choose that season and venue?
We are getting married on October 10, 2015 at Trinity River Audubon Center. We chose the venue because we loved the nature preserve and conservation efforts and also because the building was so visually striking. We chose October since the weather here is typically nice.
Give us three words to describe your wedding
Natural, organic, garden
When did you know he was going to be your husband? Did he know before you
There was no single moment in which I “knew”, it was a gradual feeling that developed during the course of the relationship. Seeing how he interacted with his family and mine definitely solidified the feeling. He also didn’t “know”, it was gradual for him as well.
How did he put that ring on your finger? Was it a total surprise?
We love to karaoke with our friends, and he actually surprised me when we got back from the Texas State Fair with a karaoke proposal to the tune of “Wonderwall”. He wrote his own lyrics and made his own karaoke video using our photos. At the end of the songs, our two dogs came out with bowties and one of them had the ring tied around his bowtie. It wasn’t a complete surprise since we had been talking about it, but the timing was unexpected.
What have you loved most about planning your wedding? What has been the most difficult?
I love browsing Instagram for different ideas and seeing all of the beautiful details that go into weddings. The most difficult thing about planning has been putting all of the different ideas together in a cohesive way since there is a lot of coordination involved.
What are you looking forward to most on your wedding day?
To have our friends and families in one place – it’s extremely rare to see them all in one place since they come from all walks of life. We’re excited to start our new life together with our friends and families.
Do you have any advice for the newly engaged as they embark on the planning process?
Don’t sweat the small stuff. No one is going to notice the small details or if anything goes wrong, so no use stressing out over those things! Also, you can’t please everyone so please yourselves as much as you can. You can never start too early!
Photo Credit: Sosi Studio//Taipei, Taiwan