“Is it ok for Barret to see you?” Amy looked worried when she saw me come out of the dressing room in a strapless wedding gown. “He isn’t supposed to, right?”
“Nah, it’s fine.” I replied as I glanced at my freckled scoop-neck tan line in the mirror. “It’s not like it’s my real wedding dress.”
Amy, Eun Soon, Barret and I were right next door to Ehwa Women’s University in Seoul. Most good university neighborhoods cater to their student population, and in this regard Ehwa does not disappoint. Within walking distance from the hallowed school grounds are nail salons, jewelry carts, cafes, and tiny clothing shops crammed with pastel blouses and hair ribbons.
While those are all great reasons to visit the bustling neighborhood, the four of us were there specifically to visit a dress cafe.
Prior to arriving in Seoul, I had lamented the fact that the four of us didn’t have any photos together. “Eun Soon,” I declared as our flight drew nearer. “We need to go to a dress café.”
“You mean the wedding one?” She asked.
“No, just one with lots of dresses.”
“There are only two types,” Eun Soon quickly clarified, “hanbok and wedding.” The loose-fitting traditional Korean costumes, called hanbok, are beautiful and come in a rainbow assortment of colors. However, the idea of renting wedding dresses for a photo shoot with friends was just too oddly intriguing.
“Let’s take a bunch of wedding photos!” I decided. “Can you make a reservation?”
We were the only customers when we arrived at the café. The term ‘photo studio’ is a more apt description, but we did each order a sweet beverage. There was a large pink flowery tree behind us and over to our right was a vanity mirror piled high with makeup and glittery tiaras. The closet next to the vanity held three racks of dresses divided into four separate price categories. The most expensive dresses cost 40,000 won a session.
When I finished my drink I picked out a dress and slid the curtain across the closet. The barista helped me into my dress and afterwards asked what size shoe I wore. “Namu kun,” I replied and she laughed at the thought of my feet being too big for the 40 odd pairs of heels on the ground.
“Well,” Amy translated, “she said you should just wear your sandals.”
While I waited for the others I sidled up to the vanity to touch up my makeup and select a tiara. Almost immediately, the photographer came over, removed it, and put a different one on my head.
“OK?” She asked.
“Sure, why not.” I smiled. She then selected a necklace and clasped it around my neck.
A veil appeared next to my head in the mirror. Ii was long and had gauzy fabric and a lace detail along the edge.
“Heck yeah!” I wasn’t planning on saying no to anything.
While Barret was putting his tux on and selecting his bow tie, Amy and Eun Soon were curling the tips of their hair and touching up their makeup.
About an hour after we first arrived we were finally ready to go. I just don’t know if the photographer was ready for Barret.
How to get to Ehwa University neighborhood in Seoul: Line 2 – Ehwa Women’s University Station – Exit #3