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  • Adventures in Wedding Planning in Korea and France: June 2023 Update

I’m getting married! It was roses and champagne for about two weeks before I realized I had no idea where to start with planning our wedding and how much it would involve. Our unique situation — two expats from different countries both living in South Korea and planning our wedding in France — soon became very complicated. From finding the perfect venue to selecting the ideal dress and accessories, the process involves an enormous amount of work, decision-making, and attention to detail.

And if you’re also planning your own wedding, please comment below and share your experience!

Check out my Wedding Planning Journey

Expat weddings are not easy. Since there’s so much to get through, I divided my wedding planning post into different parts. Once each post is ready, I’ll update the links here with the journey. Stay tuned!

The Proposal

At the very end of 2022, my significant other proposed to me with none other than a Cartier ring! After living alone as an expat for several years and meeting a lot of “frogs” along the way, I truly got comfortable in my 30s with the idea that I’d be alone forever. Little did I know, I would find a husband and build a family together all in the blink of an eye.

Showing off my new engagement ring – Cartier 1895 Platinum Solitaire with a 1.2-carat diamond

So, how did the proposal actually happen? Boy meets girl. Girl dates boy for a while, and she thinks, “Hey, isn’t it time to put a ring on it because I’m not getting any younger?” The boy agrees, and he asks, “What kind of ring do you want?” The girl says, “Oh, I don’t know!” while she pretends not to have an exact description of her dream ring down to the 4C’s (cut, clarity, color, and carat weight.) A day later, the girl rethinks her strategy and decides to tell the boy the exact parameters of an acceptable ring. It’s not the most romantic story in the world. There was no grand gesture, no surprise. It was really just a very adult conversation about where we were headed and what our future could look like.

Shortly after, we spent our Christmas holiday together in Paris, and we dropped by the Cartier store in Galeries Lafayette Paris where we looked at rings and he picked up the exact ring that I wanted straight away. I truly felt blessed in a non-ironic way. My S.O. had absolutely no hesitation, and we both knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together.

Shopping Mall

Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann

This century-old department store boasts an art nouveau glass dome, loggias, and a vast selection of brand-name items. Enjoy luxury fashion, personal shopping, and tax refunds, and indulge in restaurants and a gourmet epicerie.

Wedding Planning in Korea and France

Since my fiancé is French and I’m American, the first question that we had to address was where our wedding would take place. Ultimately, we decided to have the wedding in France so that our family could make it and save themselves from a 12-16 hour flight to Seoul, South Korea where we reside. However, since we are still living in South Korea, things got sticky.

Having never planned a wedding before, especially an overseas wedding, I found myself snowballing into Pinterest boards, Reddit, and Google Sheets templates.

Wedding Venues

I had contacted a long list of wedding venues in France via mariages.net before settling on the right one. I started out with making a Google sheets with venues that I shortlisted and then cold-emailed each and every one for quotes for my wedding day, providing them with an estimated guest count and proposed dates. Once I had the price range, I was able to narrow down the list even further with my S.O. It was a tedious process, so I recommend starting as early as possible since venues book up fast.

Despite hotel venues seemingly being more expensive, they tend to be less work in general as their quotes often include catering, preferred floral designers, furniture rental, and staff. We ended up choosing a chateau — who wouldn’t want to get married in a castle? — but it involves a little more work on finding vendors on our end to fill the gaps.

Wedding Organization

There are a few Google Sheets templates that I relied on like All-in-One Wedding Planner which includes guests, budget estimator, budget, to-do’s, venue, caterer, photographer, videographer, cake, florist, entertainment, etc. The list goes on and on. Brides’ article, “The Ultimate Wedding-Planning Checklist and Timeline”, is a good place to start. Most people have never planned an event at this scale, so it really pays to stay organized and to avoid any disasters.

Wedding Planners

We ended up hiring a partial planner in France to keep us in check because we weren’t able to manage everything in person. They would handle most of the decor, communication with the wedding vendors, and day of coordination. I tried my best to organize things meticulously in the beginning and then I hit a brick wall a few months in when I just got absolutely overwhelmed by everything, and I simply didn’t want to plan the wedding anymore.

Sticker Shock

Everyone always tells you that weddings are expensive and that merely uttering the word “wedding” when speaking to a vendor will increase your prices exponentially. Boy, it’s true. Simply getting a dress in white suddenly tacks on “wedding tax”. I wasn’t prepared for this, and I’m lucky enough to have a fiancé that can afford the cost of a wedding to entertain our friends and family. I was truly considering an easy elopement like Do It Paris Way or the Paris Elopement.

The level of stress I had (and still have) while wedding planning

Skipping a Bachelorette Party and Bridal Shower

My S.O. and I decided to skip the American tradition of bachelor/bachelorette parties and a bridal shower to save time and money. I wanted to focus wholeheartedly on the experience of our wedding day and not add unnecessary stress to our destination wedding planning. Being expats, most of our closest friends all live overseas in various countries, so logistically, it didn’t really make sense to force them to fly in for multiple events in the year.

We did, however, host a small engagement dinner at the Rumpus Room for a few friends in Seoul, South Korea. It was a low-key affair, and it was just a reason to pop some bubbly.


Rumpus Room at Mondrian Hotel, Seoul

The Rumpus Room at the Mondrian Hotel in Itaewon, Seoul, South Korea is a fashionable wine bar with an extensive wine list and classic food pairings.

Engagement Ring Insurance in Korea

I contacted a Samsung Insurance agent to ask if ring insurance exists in Korea, but they said the best they can do is homeowner’s insurance which covers jewelry “stolen during a fire” up to 5 million KRW on one item. It’s not ideal, so I’m still left searching for options. If anyone has a clue about what to do about insuring an engagement ring in a non-US country, please let me know!

Wedding Ring Size Adjustment

I was so excited about getting my wedding ring in France that I didn’t realize how swollen my fingers were when I was traveling overseas. When I got back to Korea, my fingers shrunk, and I realized my ring was too loose! Until I get my wedding band to help keep my ring in place, I ended up purchasing a silicone ring adjuster on Coupang. It’s not the most beautiful, but it’s not too noticeable and it does the job! Since it’s likely that my fingers will swell in the Summer, I am holding off on getting my ring actually resized.

Wedding Aesthetic

One of the first questions our wedding planners asked us was if we had a Pinterest board to get an idea of our wedding aesthetic. I scoured Pinterest for what I thought would make sense for each room in our French castle wedding venue, and I created mood boards on Canva.

Where I’m Currently At

After all the research and planning, this is what we’ve booked or purchased for our small-ish wedding in France so far.



We have wine and food tastings with our caterer in June while we’ll be in France on holiday. We’ve also purchased this Etsy card box for gifts and this Instax Mini guest book. I also bought Luxy Hair Extensions to add volume to my already long hair.

My Wedding Outfits

Civil Ceremony

My Civil Wedding Fashion Mood Board for our wedding in France

I bought the Rixo Adeline Top and Rixo Joan Silk Skirt to wear at our courthouse date. I also purchased LK Bennett Floret Nude 1 Pumps in Cream to wear for both the civil ceremony and our wedding celebration.

Wedding Ceremony

My Wedding Day Fashion Mood Board for our wedding in France

I was deeply torn between going full princess glam for my wedding gown or going with a more understated look. The French lace veil won me over in the end, and since it was so ornate, I wanted a more subdued wedding dress with a high neck like the L’eto Piece 12, so I wouldn’t have to worry about neck wrinkles — this is something I think about as a 30-something-year-old — or tan lines.

After Hours

My Wedding Night (Second Outfit) Fashion Mood Board for our wedding in France

I love colorful outfits, and my wedding is no exception. I wanted a second look for my wedding night after hours, and I chose this Taller Marmo dress to channel my inner Studio 54 diva. I had trouble trying to find the right clutch or bag for the outfit — as anything bigger than a clutch or too complicated would overpower the outfit — but I chose the Bottega Veneta Mini Jodie in Gold for a little Midas touch. For heels, I didn’t want to draw the eyes down to my feet, so I chose these Gianvito Rossi 105 Pumps in Red.

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