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Love Letters:
Hand on Heart in San Francisco

Explore the bustling streets of San Francisco, California with couple Seol and Mark as they celebrate their engagement.

Set against a backdrop of the California Hills and iconic San Francisco landmarks, photographer Sydney Marie captured an intimate engagement shoot with the jet-setting couple, with Seol styled in our La Lune Frill Cuff Bias Midi Dress in Cream. Explore their love story.


Photographer: Sydney Marie

Creative & Art Director: Seol Cho

The Couple

We met 11 years ago as exchange students in China. Mark is Irish and I am Korean. We like to say that we are a couple made in ‘Heaven’ which was the name of the bar we first met. My roommate played football with Mark in Beijing and brought her along to a friend's party. I couldn't speak English at the time so we used Mandarin to communicate. We started dating and fell in love. After one year in China together, Mark left to finish his degree in Ireland and I went back to Korea, but we committed to being together. I came to spend Christmas in Dublin with Mark's family and Mark spent 3 months in Seoul learning Korean. This was the start of a 5 year long distance saga trying to find a way back to each other whilst juggling our studies and early careers. Through countless letters, messages and video calls we found ways to stay connected and always planned our next trip together. A month in Ireland or Korea, a week in Singapore, even a weekend in Hong Kong! It was really tough but we made it work.

Eventually we were able to conquer the long distance journey and moved in together in London, UK where Mark got a job. We then relocated several times to Manchester, Lancaster, Dubai, Dublin and most recently San Francisco, USA.

After 10 years, Mark's knee finally got wobbly and he took me on a surprise weekend surfing trip in Ireland. He proposed at sunset on a beautiful, remote beach in Co. Donegal, tucked away on the Northwest coast of the wild Atlantic. When I opened my eyes I saw a ring and a question "will you marry me?" were written in the sand. After spending 10 years together traveling the globe, we wanted to be a family.

The Location

We moved to San Francisco this year after Mark got promoted and we love it! I am a huge photography fan and once we were engaged, capturing the mood and feel of our love story was a priority.

We wanted to create a timeless, classic, vintage magazine look for our wedding photos. We love the dramatic backdrop of the California hills and iconic San Francisco landmarks like City Hall and the Golden Gate Bridge. We wanted to capture the excitement of our engagement and hope for the future chasing the ‘American Dream’ and what is that better than black tie in a 1966 Mustang convertible?

Once we agreed to the shoot we were busy organising, searching for a wonderful photographer (Sydney Marie) and designing the sense of style. I gravitated towards Shona Joy’s La Lune Frill Cuff Bias Midi Dress very quickly because of the unique elegance combined with a subtle yet dramatic flair that just stood out for us.

The Look

I love garments that are timeless and elegant, yet also dramatic in subtle ways. As a project manager, the process of choosing a dress was a fully mapped out exercise. There were Pinterest boards, Kanban boards and long, intense sessions on Instagram to decide! There were also numerous consultations with Mark, who is unfortunately much less qualified in fashion than myself. The Shona Joy dress we chose captured everything I wanted to feel on the day; beautiful in a timeless, elegantly dramatic way. The dress perfectly fit into the old Hollywood, vintage magazine aesthetic we wanted for the photoshoot.

Photographer: Sydney Marie

Creative & Art Director: Seol Cho

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