Asian couples are flocking to the UK to capture their romance in one of the world’s most iconic cities

A whirl of lace, a flash of lightbulbs and a groom sweeping his bride off her feet… The scene could be out of any Hollywood movie, but in fact, what the passerbys on the streets of London are watching is an Asian wedding tradition that Europe is yet to embrace – the pre-wedding shoot. For while the young couple appear to be newlyweds taking snapshots of their celebrations, they are in fact yet to be married and they have arranged a shoot before their big day in the UK’s capital.

Unlike English tradition where the bride isn’t meant to be seen by the groom in her gown until the ceremony, Asian couples will happily pose with each other before the wedding so that they have some amazing shots together that they can share with their families on the day of the celebration.

Until now these pre-wedding shoots have taken place on location in Asia. But now with the rise of the Chinese economy, the younger members of society are choosing to spend their money on travel and now these pre-wedding shoots are taking place all over the world. And the city of choice seems to be London. Its cool weather, dramatic backdrops and iconic buildings, create the perfect destination for a couple wanting to celebrate their lives together.

China's Love For UK Pre-Wedding Shoots

 

Tao Wei of VM Studio was one of the first photographers in London to work on pre-wedding shoots with Asian brides. Tao, who was studying at University College London, and had been posting some of his location photography on Flickr and Wechat started to receive requests from Asian brides wanting to hold their pre-wedding shoot in the capital. It wasn’t long before Tao realised that what he had was a burgeoning business so after he graduated he chose to concentrate on the pre-wedding shoots full time. “I had so many people asking if I could take their photographs that I thought that this could be a good business idea,” says Tao. “So I decided to launch VM Studio and concentrate on pre-wedding shoots for these brides.”

As well as the photography and videography, Tao’s company has now expanded to offer make-up artists, wedding dress and suit hire. And he will also travel with the couples to shoot them in other European capitals, should they wish to feature more landmarks in their shots.

Tao’s locations of choice in London for his brides include the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, St Paul’s and Tower Bridge. This way he is not only giving them the perfect shot, but a travel keepsake. “These three locations are recognisable all over the world,” says Tao.

The locations attract thousands of sightseers so to get the perfect shot, the bride and groom need to be prepared to start their shoots very early in the morning. And while the streets will be free of tourists, they may still contain the odd late-night partygoer who can sometimes briefly hold up the shoot as they want to congratulate the bride and groom to be.

China's Love For UK Pre-Wedding Shoots

 

And Tao would need to wait as these shots need to be perfect. Tao says how whereas as European couples want a natural looking shot, Asian couples prefer a sleeker, more glamorous image. So any passerbys will be photoshopped out of the shoot and the same goes for any rubbish that might have been left on the street.

Whether the idea of a pre-wedding shoot would catch on in London, the superstition that surrounds the groom seeing his fiancé in her wedding dress might prevent it. But Tao says that in Asia, it’s not a concern. “In most European countries, the groom will not see the bride wearing wedding dress before the wedding day. But In China, it seems this is not the issue. Sometimes they will even choose the dress for the pre-wedding shoot together. And they save their traditional wedding dress at the wedding day.”

So while it may confuse European couples, it seems apt that a couple would want to start one of the biggest adventures of all, with a little adventure of their own.

 

China's Love For UK Pre-Wedding Shoots

 

Images by VM Studio

Suggested Itineraries

From $8,500 pp

Arctic Wildlife Safari

The Arctic

  • Search for polar bears hunting seals in the pack ice on an arctic safari
  • Explore historical sites including early whaling camps, trappers’ cabins, deserted coal mining operations, and an abandoned polar research station
  • Sea kayaking near tidewater glaciers and icebergs
  • Look out for humpback whales from the outdoor decks
  • Take advantage of the included photography program and learn alongside the onboard expert

When to go:

J F M A M J J A S O N D
ideal length 10 nights

From $6,000 pp

A Sri Lankan Honeymoon

Colombo Cultural Triangle Galle Fort Sri Lankan Safaris Sri Lanka Indian Subcontinent

  • Visit a local tea estate and learn about the tea making process in the Hill Country
  • Indulge in massages and long swims at your boutique property in Kandy
  • Head on sunset game drives at Yala National Park
  • Enjoy candlelit dinners under starry skies and by dramatic seas
  • Wander the streets of Galle Fort, visiting the shops, bars, cafes and restaurants

When to go:

J F M A M J J A S O N D
ideal length 13 nights

From $5,000 pp

A Romantic Getaway on the Amalfi Coast

Amalfi Coast Italy Europe

  • Discover some of the most famous historical sites in Italy, including Pompeii and Herculaneum
  • Savour a romantic, candlelit meal at a champagne and oyster bar
  • Sail the Amalfi Coast on a traditional wooden boat
  • Explore the island of Capri, including the spellbinding Blue Grotto
  • Relax and unwind on the idyllic, upmarket island of Capri

When to go:

J F M A M J J A S O N D
ideal length 6 nights
Destinations Featured in the Article
Big Ben and Houses of Parliament, London, UK

United Kingdom

Experience some fine foods, spectacular sights and London life whilst visiting the UK. Visit Scotland's sparkling lochs and moors and experience a true culture tour round some of the world's most illustrious museums.

Similar Articles
Choose Lightfoot Travel
  • Knowledge
  • Expertly Crafted
  • Value
  • Peace of Mind