By John Liu
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
Tracy and I had always been jealous of our friends’ pre-wedding photos taken in Taiwan, Vietnam, or China. Asian countries have entire streets dedicated to just photography studios and cost about a quarter of what photo studios here charge. We came up with multiple reasons to visit Taiwan again to justify our time and cost. We had to stop by the Taipei Xia Hai City God temple since it played a significant role in our romance and also to purchase other wedding-related items.
After doing some research on wedding photography studios, we settled on Eton Wedding located in Taipei, based on their good reviews. Our first day at the photo studio was consultation. Originally, we wanted to set up an early appointment, but apparently the studio does not open until 1:30 p.m. One friend told me that the culture was to party all night, eat breakfast, then sleep until afternoon. What an interesting lifestyle. The first step was to pick out all the dresses for the shoot. The dress selection was enormous! There was every style and color imaginable. Of course, my tuxedo selection was much smaller, and I was allocated only 30 minutes to pick one out. Then we discussed poses and accessories, and decided on locations for the photoshoot.
Our first day started at Eton Wedding’s makeup room. The bride had to start getting ready at 8 a.m. A driver took us and our photographer, assistant, and stylist to Tamsui Manor. We all crammed into a room with multiple mirrors for styling with eight other couples. This venue was known for its man-made photo studio and features churches, stunning ocean views, and all kinds of indoor sets with floral and local cultural backgrounds. The male photographer was very skilled at coaching us into very cute poses.
I was worried about weather as it was raining on and off. When the rain stopped, we took photos outside. It actually worked out pretty well, and we got all the photos we wanted. We must have taken hundreds of photos and finished at around 5 p.m. After an exhausting day, we prepared to repeat the process the next day.
Our second day was at the Tatung University. This university had majestic European architecture with Roman-style corridors and fountains with kois. A university student stopped by to take photos of us. We felt like celebrities!
Next stop: Lin An Tai House and Museum. We took some of our best pictures here. At the park, there was a heart that was pre-constructed for couples to take pictures.
Finally, we drove one hour to Miramar Entertainment Park. We spent about 20 minutes there posing in front of the ferris wheel. It actually rained again as we were driving there, but stopped as we took photos. We got lucky on the weather again!
Our final day did not involve picture taking, but it was just as exhausting. We had 90 minutes to select 60 pictures out of the 500 that were captured since we needed to catch our flight home. I had to leave early to persuade our chauffeur not to leave while Tracy finished up at the photo studio.
If you add it all up, there was a ridiculous number of resources and people involved. That’s one driver, one photographer, one assistant, and one stylist who stuck with us for two days of photoshoots. We had seven outfits, four different hairstyles, and we received two photo albums. The most expensive part was shipping the bulky photo albums back to the United States. The total cost was around $2,500.
I definitely recommend Asian pre-wedding photo packages to engaged couples. Neither of us could barely crack a smile at the end of photo shooting days, but the results were amazing. Our wedding guests got to see our albums up close on our wedding day on Aug. 19, and they agree.
John can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.