Chinese wedding Photos -Part 1

Hong Kong Wedding Photographer Kenneth Lim

My husband and I finally took our wedding photos…. I know this sounds crazy .. but in China your wedding photos are taken in a studio like glamour shots…. you can be married for a year or more before you take them because it is an expensive and odd tradition that is now common in China.   Of course all of you  can’t wait to see what they look like….. me too… but I won’t be able to post the photos for another week at least … when I get the proofs, i will post them so you can see.   However, now I will tell you the long 5 hour process of getting the photos taken.

It started with two days before the actually shoot… My Chinese girlfriends and I took our lunch break and went over to talk to the people at the Photoshop.   There were about 6 of us… you know.. everyone wanted to see … although I only needed one translator…. (my chinese sometimes .. forgets words…)  When we got there… of course, they tried to do the sell everything in the store to the foreigner but … that wasn’t going to work with me… I am “local people” now.

I ended up picking one 24 x 24 cm wall photo, one 24 x 18 cm wall photo and one cool looking photo book that has 16 pages and 18 photos that tell a story… kind of...(it is hard to explain) but it is something we don’t do in the states that we really should do because it is awesome.   Better than having a photo album, it is a photo book that lasts much longer.   The price came to 1498 rmb (around $150)…I, being the queen of bargaining… told them that 1400rmb was enough…. they looked at me confused…. they repeated the price.. and I told them…. No… 1400rmb is enough…. and said ..ok?… they did not know what hit them and just said….Ok.… yep… sold.

Then I discussed with them the fact that I will bring my own make up…they tried to tell me no that they had some.. but I explained to them that my skin color was different and that my make up color was different too…..(they had an ahhhh moment at that time…Im always educating around here) … then we discussed the clothing… I am a good size 14 to 16… and their clothes are a good size… 00 to 8 (size 8 is their XXL) ... so they told me they could work it out… I said… I hope so.

4 different outfits for myself and my hubby that they would provide… make up done and hair...(oh yeah.. that was another issue) …. I had to explain to them.. that this wasn’t my hair…. and my real hair is in dreds so that would confuse the hell out of them. Look on their faces when I tried to explain it was priceless…. But they were excited and ready to roll for two days later.    Their first foreigner they told me…. a monumental day for them and me.  Now to tell my hubby the schedule is set and to get him there.

My husband is not keen on taking everyone’s surprise he actually doesn’t like it at all… but he will ham it up when you push him….. this is one of the reasons why it has taken so long to get these done.  So I used trickery to get him to do it.    I paid all the money up front….heheheh…. you see in my husband’s mind he can’t waste money… so if I pay for something.. especially something that is that expensive he will not let that money go to waste.    (I know my husband so well) … So I broke the news to him in bed that night.   He was actually okay with it… and told me I was a good wife because I brought the price down so low.  (normally wedding photos are 5000 to 10,000 rmb)  He knows this is important to me.. so he said he promised to be there and won’t miss it no matter what.  (Please remember these words)

My husband works an extensive amount of time.. too much… sometimes to the point that I get upset because I hardly get to see him since he started this job.  I honestly think they are taking advantage of him.   So, of course the next day he had to work in Shanghai overnight… but overnight became over two nights…. so it was the day of the photo shoot and my hubby was still working somewhere.

The shoot was scheduled to start at 11:30am, we were to meet at the photo shop at that time.  I had went out the night before with my girls…(that is another blog I need to share) … and got home late but still woke up at 8 am… excited to go take photos.   I quickly called my hubby… but he didn’t answer.  I got up took a shower and avoided putting on make up since they would do it but got everything together to take to the shop.   9:30 am called husband.. No answer.   I went online read some emails and had a cup of green tea.   10:45 am.. called hubby …again no answer.    NOW..I was beginning to panic……. I called a few of my friends and asked them to try calling my husband… they also got no answer.   11:00am… called hubby … NO ANSWER…. my heart is beating fast, my mind is dreaming up all kinds of scenarios…. tears are starting to come down my eyes….11:15am  ….Hubby calls… “I’m downstairs … are you ready?… we need to go or we will be late” ….. I had feelings of … relief, anger, happiness… everything… I was speechless.

I run downstairs… with my bag of goodies and my purse and jumped into the car my hubby had borrowed.   By that time I had found my voice.    I quickly began to tell him my frustration with him not answering my calls and cutting it so close… and he just calmly told me…. “I promised you I would be here didn’t I ?…..ugghhhh why do you never trust me?” …. I am again speechless.

We arrive at the photo shop… and the workers are all a flutter and tell us that we need to get in a mini van and they will take us to the photo studio.    This studio ended up to be about 10 miles away in a beautiful, ancient Chinese building.   When we got there they quickly took me to the dress room… and pulled my husband into another room.  They told me to pick out a dress.   Obviously, these dresses were not going to be able to fit me in any way.. but they just kept telling me don’t worry pick one.    I was looking at the dresses and they picked one that was white with black orchids on it with black ribbons.. it was actually a nice strapless dress but it was that layered puffy fabric.  It had a big puffy part in three sections all down the dress…. which is not very flattering for a big girl.  But they insisted that I try it on.   I then put the tiny dress over my head and I could get it on but there was no way that baby was zipping up.    They then did some magical stuff.. they used a lot of fabric and lace and hid the back of the dress by pinning that all up so it looked like a bustle, like in the 1920’s.  It was kind of cool what they did.. but the dress did not fit me at all…. I looked like I had just eaten 3 giant basketballs and they were stuck all down my body… I hated it… so I told them… so… back to the dress room.   We looked thru several more dresses and found one that was light silver with a black lacy design on the midriff.  it was also strapless but this one had a shape to it… they did their magic with the fabric and gauzy lace stuff  and sent me to the mirror, the train on the dress was so long.. i felt like a princess… It actually looked like I fit into the dress.  Those Chinese are so good at hiding stuff….hehehehe.

Then it was off to hair and make up…. I had about 8 girls around me… staring at me...(never seen a foreigner you know I was making history again) .. my hubby was in a chair beside me getting his make up done.   They were all taking and discussing how they were going to do the make up… so I had to throw in my suggestions and give them my make up.  I have to give the main make up girl credit… she was good… after I told her about dark skin, she took the tips and started to perform magic.   I was actually impressed… she did have to put on 3 fake eyelashes on each eye.. and use a lot of make up..(photos you know) but… I was actually shocked myself… at how good I looked after an hour of prepping.   When I turned around and they all helped me stand up to walk to the studio..the dress had a really long train, from all that fabric… so it took a minute for me to get into the room.. but when I did….. the whole room gasped and froze…. but the only face I could see… was my husband Michael….he was dressed in black dress pants and a white shirt that was open at the neck, like he had just taken off the tie… He looked so handsome… and he was staring at me…. when I walked up to get on the background scenery… he pushed everyone away… and took my hand himself and said softly to me… You are soo beautiful….and he kissed me …. the photographer choose that moment to take the shot….

until next time…the story will continue on my next blog…

22 thoughts on “Chinese wedding Photos -Part 1

  1. Pingback: 2013 Blogs by Western Women Who Love Chinese Men | Speaking of China

  2. Pingback: 2012 Blogs By Western Women Who Love Chinese Men | Speaking of China

  3. Huichun

    amazing blog, can’t wait to see the pics, or Did you put the pics online? btw, I’m a chinese husband, just like Micheal~

  4. My husband and I had ours done earlier this year as well – it was quite the process! You even got to sleep in compared to our 8am-be-at-the-studio, 13 hour day — lucky gal!! I`m sure your photos will be gorgeous – I love ours, and am so glad we got them done. We could take the time to be posed to make us look our best, compared to the photos we took on our wedding day (which will be beautiful too, just not as `perfect`), where we were a bit more rushed, and were exhausted from all the last minute planning.
    Congratulations, and I can’t wait to see these pictures!!

  5. blackandyellow


    I am so excited for you. I can’t wait to see your wedding pictures! Hopefully they will make it to youtube as well.

  6. Sarah Yang

    My husband and I had these done in Harbin China many years ago. I was also their first foreigner and everywhere we went to take photos, people stopped and stared. My husband said they kept thinking I was Russian, since there are quite a lot of Russians in Harbin. The dresses didn’t fit me either and they had to do that to the back too. It was fun and the pictures are beautiful and so worth it but being stared at like an exotic animal in the zoo takes some patience. 🙂

    1. @Sarah… know that is why I choose to take them in the studio and not outside around town … like most people…Since i am so well known in this city.. there would be crowds of people everywhere staring at me and it would be very uncomfortable… so we did ours in private with a back drop.

  7. OMG! I am SWOOONING!! That final scene, where you see each other, become mesmerized, and he kisses you in front of everyone! Wow! I mean, so romantic. A

    m I wrong in thinking that in China people are not always so demonstrative with PDA, even husbands and wives?

    Soooo romantic. Can’t wait to see the pics.

    1. Your right… about the PDA… but i think it was a different this time.. because one… my husband was kind of a celebrity for having a foreign wife, two… i was all made up and looking good… so he was proud… and three and most important..was him showing that I belonged to him…. all gave him good face.

  8. My wife and I did these photos about a year ago. They were a lot of fun, and I’m really glad we did it, even if it did feel a little strange.
    All I have to say is Thank you photoshop for making me look so good.

  9. zizi_west

    This sounds so lovely ! Fun and romantic, and the photo studio staff sound like real pros — willing to learn and adapt to make a customer happy. I recently saw a major news network report (CBS or NBC, I think) about these carefully organized wedding photos, and it was fascinating. How wonderful to have this experience.

  10. Awww, I love this! I can’t wait to see the photos. I like this idea of having professional wedding photo shoots as you described here. If I ever get married, I think I’ll borrow this idea.

  11. les katz

    I can’t believe I’m excited to see the pics and I’m straight! LOL! Don’t know if they would get that joke in China…

    1. its okay…you can be excited too…hehhehehe. I think they are going to be amazing… I even did some in traditional dress…. they can do some wonderous things with photoshop over here…

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