Monday, April 9, 2012

taiwan wedding pictures phase 1

So fiancee Chi really wanted to get the Asian Pre Wedding pictures done here in Taiwan. Because there is no actual wedding ceremony just a big ass reception here couples will spend thousands of dollars on a photo studio to take them around and do hair, makeup, extreme photoshopping in total wedding gear.

I suppose since they don't pay for a wedding ceremony and ask for cash to cover the cost of the wedding banquet/reception thing, these photo's are like the other major expense.

So of course we have to do it. And we're going to do it on the cheap because I won't have a job at the end of this year and I still need to buy my plane ticket home.

This grueling process I like to call The Gauntlet.

There are several streets which feature wedding photo studios/dress rentals ranging from upscale Dunhua Rd ones to more moderate AiGuo Rd. Starting at the top of moderate road my fearless and unrelenting companion/translator/most awesome co-teacher ever Maggie and I made our way from studio to studio getting acquainted with hidden costs, dress selection and extra add-ons no one in their life would ever need.
Ok maybe some people need a 60" poster of themselves, but I'm not one of them.

These places might have some flashy shiny greasy sweaty looking person outside trying to sweet talk you into the store to take a look and have a heartwarming/irritating grasp of just enough English to establish when is your wedding date and you have to take a look because you're so pretty.

I'm pretty darn good at ignoring people I don't want to talk to, even when they're talking right to me. (Chi calls it being rude) But I had my skills tested walking down this road. It's one thing in Thailand where everyone's trying to sell you a cheap suit or a dvd or a curry dinner with a lap dance included but to be smiled at, asked your age, wedding date, where you're from, if you want romantic pictures or cute pictures, that they have dresses in AMERICAN SIZES (because yes I am a giant in a land of tiny people). It was almost too much.

old school drawings, not even messed up perspective can stop these dudes!
Don't be dissuaded by any amount of greasiness or sweat, walk straight up to the door because the people you want to talk with are sitting inside in the AC, polishing their ipad's and checking their breath because they're about to whisper in your ear about a special deal just for you only. Once they sit you down, shove some tea in a paper cup at you and set you up with a photo album to look through you get your game face on for the next part.

so he didn't really have a silver suit on, but it sure was shiny

This next part I shall call: Song and Dance

Like any good salesmen knows the time honored technique of 'have the potential client look at everything first and avoid answering questions like 'how much does that cost' until the person has looked at everything, has forgotten why they even came here and will hopefully sign whatever you put in front of them just so they can get up and use the bathroom because they've been drinking tea non stop since sitting down' is the preferred method of more established and pricey places.

I know enough Chinese to understand "Wait and we'll discuss price later" And enough to say "This is my budget, what can you give me" Most of the places we went to had packages that I would be able to afford the trick was getting a good deal on the amount of stuff I was going to get and to find all those little hidden extras. For this, you need a superhero Taiwanese person who isn't too nice to laugh in the salesperson's face at an offer so ludicrous. Enter Maggie.
Maggie is a bargaining wonder machine. Everything, no matter how much, was too expensive. Thus prompting managers to be called, extra crap I don't need shaved off, and prices dropped.

These Studios will offer banquet day dress rentals, hair and makeup, save the dates, thank you cards, bookmarks, t-shirts, mugs and all other souvenir for your apparently better than Disneyland wedding reception/banquet.

No thanks. I just need the big album, a couple of smaller ones for the family, ok maybe the poster sized picture just for fun and a full on beauty makeover that will include accompanying makeup artist to all photo locations. Not too much to ask for right?

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