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The Korean boy band BTS has become a world phenomenon by breaking records, defying norms, and creating music that transcends languages. Our intern this semester, and serious BTS fan, Judy, used their song Black Swan, their first single released for their album “7”, as inspiration for this styled shoot. The music video for Black Swan articulates the dark and deep message the band wants to convey: the pain of losing passion in something you once truly enjoyed. This intensity the artists feel towards music was something Judy felt could easily be conveyed in the wedding world through passion and love. The contrast between the white and black outfits, the dim lighting, the grand staircase, and the intricate details in the music video were things we wanted to reflect in the styled shoot. Overall, we wanted to push traditional American wedding culture and transcend the expectations of what a wedding can be.
The invitations were created by first making a list of the elements we wanted to weave together from the song to the shoot. Judy knew she wanted the quote, “A dancer dies twice – once when they stop dancing, and this first death is the more painful” by late dancer and choreographer Martha Graham. It opens the Art Film video and is at the root of the sentiments inlaid in Black Swan. Additionally, she wanted to add a modern technology touch to the invites with a Spotify scan so anyone who has the invitations can be sent directly to the song on Spotify. To subtly integrate more nods to the band overall, Judy asked to have the number 7 stand out in areas like the table number and the wedding date. The color purple is very meaningful to BTS and ARMY, so we added a deep reddish purple to the color palette to break up the continuous black and white. By keeping the invitation clean and adding these subtle nods to BTS, all paper goods perfectly captured the inspiration we drew on from Black Swan.
The cake expresses the elegance and boldness of Black Swan. The all white tiered cake with glass-like rice paper wrapped around imitates the message of how fragile but beautiful someone’s passion and love is. The gold dusting that Cake Expressions by Lisa added on the transparent rice paper and the fine cracks created a timeless and antiqued look that perfectly captured elements of the Black Swan video. We hung folded swans around the cake to give a more literal nod to the song title, but also to represent Korean culture as paper crafting, or jong-i jeobgi, is still performed in Korean schools today.
In keeping with the bold black and white, dark and light contrasts, we used the same color palette for the bride and groom’s attire, but instead of a more traditional American look, we flipped the expectations and placed the bride in a black gown and the groom in a white tux from New York Bride and Groom. Xing wore a long sleeve, deep v-cut, black lace gown by Maggie Sottero Zander, and Alex wore a sharp, white and black tuxedo by Ike Behar.
For added flair with the bride’s look, we modeled her hair and makeup on K-pop inspired trends: flashy eyes with small rhinestones, reddish lips, glowy skin, and soft curls. To add more drama and complete the look, Xing wore silver rhinestone hair clips, a thick silver rhinestone choker necklace, a pair of silver rhinestone earrings, and a set of korean gel manicures from OHARA. Alex’s finishing touches included a set of silver treble clef cufflinks and a boutonniere with feathers to tie the details back to our original inspiration, Black Swan.
Passion. Beauty. Love. Intensity. Drama. The inspiration for this shoot transcends music, and we want this shoot to transcend beyond a wedding day.
Photography: Stag + Sparrow | Planner: Details Wedding Planning | Floral Design: Cut at an Angle | Makeup: Makeup by Jenny Le | Cake: Cake Expressions by Lisa | Rentals: Cooke Rentals | Invitations: Tied and Two | Video: Helium Media | Models: Xing Li & Alex Daniels | Venue: Sophia’s Lounge