Jeju in 48 hours

Jeju is a short flight from Seoul and a popular vacation destination for couples. Since my parents went to Jeju-do for their honeymoon, Jon & I thought it would be meaningful to go to Jeju to celebrate our engagement. While the main event of our Jeju trip was our engagement photos, with a personal tour guide & ambitious itinerary, we were able to check off some major Jeju bucket list items.

Manjanggul Cave - 만장굴

Underground lava tubes! *Insert flashbacks to middle school Earth Science - Stalagmites! Stalactites! Sedimentary Rocks?* Strict covered shoes policy that we somehow evaded. Last call for tours is 1 hour before closing.
Pro-tip: Bring a poncho or a hat because rain water drips unexpectedly down there.

Osulloc Tea Museum & Innisfree Cafe - 오설록티뮤지엄 & 이니스프리 그린카페

The one westside spot we visited, Osulluc Tea Museum & Innisfree Cafe is a two-in-one stop. Run through Osulluc’s green tea fields for that epic instagram photo and enjoy green tea sweets at the cafe. The Innisfree Cafe offers brightly colored tea and snacks, along with a beauty shop with Jeju exclusive skincare products. Great place to start your morning.

Cheonjeyeon Falls - 천제연폭포

There are two entrances to the park that lead to the foot of the waterfall. If your mission is to get to the foot of the waterfall quickly, use the east entrance ~10 min walk. Experience a different vantage point of the waterfall from the west entrance, and a beautiful bridge (Seon Imgyo - 선임교) you have to cross to get to the base of the waterfall. Spot the signage indicating that “you can be died.”

Seongeup Folk Village - 성읍민속마을

We were lucky that our tour guide drove us through this Folk Village on our way from the west to east coast of the island! We only got to admire the beautiful traditional buildings from the car and wish we got more time to explore, eat & shop in this area.

Seongsan Ilchulbong - 성산 일출봉

Iconic crater you can hike. Difficulty level: easy-moderate. I only say moderate because at one point my mom almost gave up and we had to convince her to keep going. Uphill route is mountain steps and downhill route is wooden steps. I would assume the views from the top are beautiful but we unfortunately had foggy and drizzly weather! Regardless, it was great to breathe the mountain air and eat yummy treats.
Pro-tip: Food is not allowed on the hike - plan time to eat before or after the hike so you’re not forced to eat all your food at the entrance like us.

If you want to cover everything we did and thoroughly enjoy it in 2 days, I suggest you plan your itinerary with some extra travel time. Jeju island is covered with hundreds of “Oreum” (오름) - essentially defunct volcanos that are like hills. Although this makes for scenic routes, it also means limited roadways from coast to coast, which equals lots of travel time. We left the island wishing we had more time to explore but saw enough to catch the Jeju-bug & want to come back to visit again!

Love, MH

5 Things I Learned from our Engagement Photoshoot in Korea

This past April, Jon and I had the pleasure of having a faux-wedding in Korea with all my relatives. We took some time that week to jet over to Jeju Island to eat yummy seafood and work with Jeju Luce Studio on what we in the states would call "Engagement Photos." We survived a grueling 5 hours of indoor and outdoor photography time with our sisters by our side to iPhone document every moment.  Looking back at these photos now, I would do it all over again (not sure Jon would say the same...) Below are 5 tips for any couples planning a photoshoot in Korea!

1. Plan your outfits with purpose.

          In Korea, most studios offer outfit rentals - specifically, wedding dress & suit rentals. Because these studios produce the "pre-wedding"/unofficial wedding album shots for couples, the available outfit selections were a bit too extreme for me. I wasn't planning on wearing a wedding dress that wasn't my own in any photos or memorabilia. That being said, I was very clear with the studio which outfit concepts we had planned to shoot: 1) Casual Couple Look,  2) Formalwear, 3) Casual Hanbok, 4) Summer Chic. These outfits were chosen with specific settings in mind as we had contracted to shoot in the beautiful outdoors of Jeju Island. However, when we ran into the problem of torrential downpour during our shoot day, we were able to work with the photographer to match our outfits to the indoor studio sets.

2. Practice your facial expressions & poses.

          Let's be honest, everyone has a good side and a bad side. It's even better when your partner's good side is the opposite of yours. As strange as it sounds, it helps the photoshoot flow when you have experience gazing lovingly into each other's eyes and kissing gracefully without cracking up every 5 seconds. Practice in front of a mirror - smiling with your teeth showing and then with your lips together, a stoic stare, or a mischievous expression, stand with all your weight in your back leg or find a flattering angle for you to sit down in a chair. No matter how amazing your photographer is, you will get the most out of your camera time if you're familiar with how your body and face look at different angles. 
*Short girl tip: tippy toe when you kiss your tall man & stare at his chin or upper lip, not his actual eyes to avoid an awkward, strained neck line!!*

3. Listen to your photographer.

          When you have no idea how to move, where to look, or how to stand - listen to your photographer! The person behind the camera can literally see the whole picture! They can see how you fit into the frame, how the background looks, & what props can enhance the images. We were losing the will to live in 1 hour of freezing rain, with no concept of up or down, in the middle of an abandoned forest, and still managed to get stunning shots by just listening to what our photographer wanted from us. Our photographer was a fantastic director. Even though he used basic English and 90% Korean instructions to Jon who is a Chinese American... we made it out with gorgeous shots, which means you can too!

4. It's okay to have a vision.

          If there is a specific shot you are envisioning, SPEAK UP! Good photographers are happy to help you capture your vision. Something as simple as a "walking shot" in our Hanbok (right) just felt more natural for us than the "traditional standing shot" (left). Only a slight difference but look how much happier we look! :)

5. Don't forget to DO YOU.

          At the end of the day, make sure these photos capture the essence of you guys!! Don't spend time & energy just to have fake staged photos and not a single one of your true colors on set. HAVE FUN!!

Hope these tips were useful! Let me know if you have any wedding planning questions in the comments below because I will be working on more wedding posts in the upcoming month.

Love, MH

Photography: Jeju Luce Studio // @jejuluce