That Time I Wore A Hoop Skirt: Our Pre-Wedding Shoot

Oh, internet.  Let me just say that what you’re about to see is evidence that my husband (then fiance) loves me very very much.

What is a pre-wedding shoot, you ask?  Well, let me tell you…

It’s a day-long photoshoot in elaborate outfits at elaborate locations.  In Taiwan (and several other Asian countries) once you’re engaged, this is a typical thing every couple does before the wedding.  Did I mention it’s elaborate?

A little context:  Last year I lived in East Asia for 8 months and for his spring break Alvin flew out to meet me in Taipei, Taiwan.  His dad’s family lives there and his uncle paid for this pre-wedding shoot as our wedding gift.  So the first full day that we’re in country (mind you, Alvin is crazy jetlagged) we go to the studio to choose our outfits for the following day.  They had a whole room full of ballgowns for me to choose from.  I chose 5 gowns; 2 white and 3 colored.  This process alone took hourssss.  Let me just say, Taiwanese girls are not as curvy as this girl over here.  All the fitted dresses were not an option.  So I quickly embraced the hoop skirts and went with it.  After that we chose Alvin’s outfits, the locations we wanted to go to, and all my hair/makeup looks for the next day.  And there Alvin is, sitting in a jet lagged stupor for hours; seriously he was such a trooper. 

The next day was the photoshoot.  We arrived at 7am for hair and makeup, and didn’t finish until after 8pm.  With each outfit change came a location change and hair/makeup change.  When we couldn’t go back to the studio for those changes, they brought a tent and we changed on the side of the road and the makeup artist redid my hair/makeup in the back of the car.  I mean, they had this operation down pat.  More of the stories with each set of images below.

The third day we went into the studio to view the photos and choose which ones we wanted for our album. By the time we left the studio on the third day, we felt like part of the family there.  We had seen their staff more in those three days than Alvin’s family!  The images turned out amazing and dramatic and everything my inner Disney princess dreams could ever have hoped for. 

So without further ado, the 5 dresses and their photos + stories!

1. Angel Dress

I call this one my “angel dress” because it has wings!  There was tulle attached to each shoulder that, when it caught in the wind, looked like wings!

Keeping it real: 

  • This is all one location!  Each “scene” was probably a 5 minute walk from the other. 
  • These photos crack me up the most because of how much effort they took.  One photographer, one guy holding the flash and trying to get us to laugh, and the makeup artist throwing my veil for effect.  It was quite the team effort!
  • This hairstyle inspired my wedding hairstyle!

2.  Sleeping Beauty Dress

I called this dress my “Sleeping Beauty” dress.  It looks like hers, doesn’t it?  I felt so Disney in this look.

Keeping it real: 

  • I couldn’t breathe and my chest was practically falling out of that thing! 
  • They originally wanted to put Alvin in a plaid suit for this look- I vetoed that real fast. 
  • That cutesy one where I’m on his back?  Not as easy as it looks when you’re wearing a ginormous dress and in unsteady sand!  Pretty sure we face-planted after this.

3.  Wedding Cake Dress

Wedding Cake Dress because of how extra it was… tulle and bling and layers on layers.  They originally wanted me to wear a hoop skirt under this one but I figured it had enough poof already!  This was the last set of the day, after dark in the studio.  We were so tired out by this point, it really just became our chance to goof off, hence the Pokemon and peace signs 🙂

Keeping it real:

  • Half the dresses they had for me to choose from were crazy over-the-top erring on the tacky side.  This was the one I chose from that category just for fun.
  • The dress originally had giant bows all along the skirt.  I nixed those real fast.
  • Notice my ring in the one on the couch?  I’m actually wearing my wedding band because the diamond in my engagement ring fell out a few months before so Alvin bought me my wedding band early for me to wear while the engagement ring was under repair.

4. Chinese Wedding Dress

In Chinese tradition, wedding dresses are red.  We took these photos at Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall and the National Concert Hall and had tons of tourists stop to take pictures of us, stare at the white girl and congratulate us.

Keeping it real:

  • I am totally wearing Nikes under this dress.
  • My hair accessory?  That’s actually a necklace I brought with me.  All my jewelry in these photos is from my own collection.
  • The reflection photo?  That’s totally just a dirty puddle that had litter in it that they photo shopped out. 
  • Being lifted up in a drop shoulder dress is SUPER hard when you can’t lift your arms!


I call this my Elsa look and Alvin’s James Bond look for obvious reasons.  These are some of my favorites, for sure.

Keeping it real:

  • I’m wearing a hoop skirt!
  • That Elsa braid (all extensions, baby!) may have been what inspired me to keep growing my hair out.  Because for real, how fabulous is that braid!?
  • I tried on this same dress in red and wanted to wear it but they wouldn’t let me!  They liked the drop-shoulder red more so I opted for it in grey for a new look altogether.

If you made it this far in this post, kudos to you!  I hope you got a kick out of these photos and stories, I had so much fun compiling them and reliving this day again just writing this post.

Interested in seeing more of these types of shoots?  Check out IVY Bride, the studio we did these through.  You’ll be amazed by their work!



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