My search for nontraditional and unique weddings in the Washington, DC area is endless. Which is why, when I find weddings like Melany & Jun’s (courtesy of Melanie Yu Photography), I am reassured that my goal is attainable and there ARE offbeat couples in this traditional city – I just need to keep searching!

Melany & Jun’s Korean/Taekwondo wedding is AWESOME. Thanks to Melany, I get to share ALL the details too! The laid-back bridal hairstyle, the awesome dress (and even more awesome necklace Melany donned), the non-matching groomsmen attire, and my favorite: their offbeat & nontraditional “first dance”.

Melany shares…

Picking the Grand Atrium for our reception was a no brainer. They were, by far, the most cost effective venue – which provided catering, decorations, an open bar, and DJ services all inclusive! There were no hidden charges – the open bar and bartender was an EXTREMELY CHEAP flat rate for 4.5 hours. There was no corking fee if we decided to bring additional/specialty alcohol; no service fee to cut and serve our custom wedding cake (they offer a variety of cakes within house, as well); etc. Our DJ’s had a great voice and was very easy to work with as I was trying to pick and plan the reception agenda. I’ve also heard from a number of people that they loved the 2-level floorplan. It was certainly unique to have a bar/lounge feel on the main floor – complete with a fireplace and leather lounge chairs – and a separate dining level upstairs that overlooked the dance floor below.

My original wedding dress was an unconventional one I picked up on a whim from Nordstrom. It was an empire waistline gown by Sue Wong, crystal band below the chest, then a full-length skirt covered in white feathers. It was very pretty, but the more and more I thought about it, I really wanted to have a more “traditional” dress for wedding photos. I couldn’t fathom spending an uber crazy amount of money on a dress I’d only wear once (plus the fact I had already bought and altered the Sue Wong gown), so I scoped out dresses on I fell in love with one, prayed that it would fit, and went for it. It was perfect & very “me”.

The blusher veil was purchased back when I thought I was going to wear the Sue Wong dress, so I kind of bought it to match that. The big white flower and feather accent matched the feathers on the original gown pop, but I liked it so much that I didn’t want to buy a different one. Luckily, the “new” dress was quirky enough to compliment the veil and the overall look when I put everything together became eclectic, which is sort of how I define my fashion sense.

The necklace I picked up from Urban Outfitters one day. I wanted a statement necklace because everything else was so white (I NEVER wear white – with the exception of my taekwondo uniform). I looked at some necklaces at Swarovski, but everything I found would make the overall look too “pretty” or too “wedding”. I liked the Urban necklace because it was funky. The earrings I wore were from college days. It was just by coincidence that I had something already laying around that matched the necklace.

My fishtail hair was something I picked literally 5 hours before my salon appointment. haha. I didn’t really care much about my hair. I didn’t even die it to cover the grays…

I love how cool & confident Melany looks right before the “first look”.

I am obsessing over Melany’s bright blue fingernails too! OMG LOVE this!

To see more from this awesome offbeat wedding – please click inside!


I didn’t really have set flowers that I wanted to incorporate. I just wanted something edgy; again, non-traditional. I liked the corsage idea for the bridesmaids, and the florist made a bouquet made of the same blue orchids for the matrons of honor. (I was really lax on the details and completely opposite of a Bridezilla the entire time.)

I picked the bridesmaids dresses because it was something I would have liked to wear if I was a bridesmaid in someone else’s wedding. Again, I’m not too fond of traditional attire.

Jun didn’t care about the Groomsmen’s attire – he said to everyone “just come.” His tux was a re-use from being the best man in a friend’s wedding a couple months before. Their relaxed nature stems from Jun’s personality. He may be 32… but he acts like he’s 12.

^haha this entire part from Melany cracked me up.

Talk about a first kiss! You can literally feel the love and excitement in this picture!

The theme [for the reception] was “going to Korea”, sort-of. I’m an adopted Korean and Jun is a native Korean. The whole relationship exposed me to Korean culture for the first time, so the wedding kind of symbolized that in the ceremony program (a Korean air itinerary) and pairs of boarding tickets – which was the design for our seating cards for the reception. (It’s is also an alliteration to Amy Tan’s Joy Luck Club – A Pair of Tickets, where this in-denial Chinese girl goes to China for the first time and becomes “Chinese”)


And now for one of my favorite parts: the Taekwondo First Dance!!

Then there’s the first dance. haha. So that was my idea, and Jun was a bit hesitant to agree with me on that one. The story of how we met revolves around taekwondo. I joined trying to get in touch with my Korean heritage (and to stay fit and vent my frustrations from work by kicking and punching things). The Grandmaster – owner – of the school noticed that I am Korean and started asking me about being adopted etc. He instructed Jun, the Master instructor at the school, to help me learn to speak Korean – and in return, I was going to help Jun speak better English. The rest is history. So to be funny and pay homage to how our relationship began, I wanted to surprise the audience with a duet – the latest taekwondo poomse (form) that I had been taught by Jun. It was a crowd pleaser =)

Thanks so much to Melany & Jun for sharing their AWESOME Korean, Taekwondo wedding with us! Special thank you also to Melanie Yu Photography for sharing the images!


  1. Ooh yay! I’m so glad you featured a wedding at this particular venue- I’m shooting a wedding there this summer and was hoping to see it all done up. I love how much of their personality they brought to their wedding!

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