Chinese wedding – Sandra & Orange

Posted by on Apr 24, 2013 in Blog | 1 comment

About a month ago I had the pleasure of capture Sandra’s and Orange’s actual wedding day. The wedding was a bit unusual in couple of different ways. First thing was that the I only got information about the shoot about a week before the actual day. Generally the initial contact would be some 12-15 months in advance. The other thing was that my role was to be a second shooter. I’ve had a second shooter a few times, but never been one myself. Being a second shooter was a new and definitely interesting experience.

If you have been following my blog, you might know that I shoot in documentary style which is also known as photojournalistic wedding photography. Here’s a few select images that tell the story of the morning preparations.

traditional comb for bride and ang pows

These items are very common with Chinese traditions. The first is a set for combing the hair of the bride. The idea is that the bride’s female family members comb her hair on the night before the actual wedding day. Depending on your family background, this might be very important part of the wedding day.

photographer arranging oranges and closeup

makeup artist starting her work

The preparations started really early, but I actually reached the bride’s house before the makeup artist. There was a funny mixup with phone numbers and the previous night I thought that I sent SMS to the makeup-artist to confirm about the location etc. In reality I was sending messages to the other photographer. I only found out about the mistake on the morning of the wedding day 🙂

closeup of brides hands and her holding small mirror

makeup artist's tools, brushes

makeup artist with blusher

fake lashes closeup

fake lash being attached

Quite often I get these comments about how photography cannot be trusted these days because there is so much of editing and retouching. While it is true that there is a lot of editing these days, one should not forget all the other stuff that goes into making the bride and groom look their best. If you have seen a professional makeup artist at work, you would know what I’m talking about 🙂 And of course choosing the right clothes, underwear, accessories etc. also affect how you will look, so what is “real” actually?

double happiness symbol and brides high heels

This symbol of “double happiness” can be seen always at weddings. It might be hanging on a wall like this one, or seen on the ang pow envelopes, oranges or in some other small decorations. If you use a bit of imagination, you can see the two characters holding hands.

sneak picture of the bride behind a door

bride's heels with colorful stones

traditional items for combing brides hair

makeup artist working with the bride

makeup artist spray lacquer

bride seen on a small mirror inside wardrobe

I wrote earlier that I was actually the 2nd shooter for this wedding. This was a new experience for me and a good learning opportunity as well. I got along very good with the primary shooter, but of course I let him capture more of the key moments. With weddings there is usually a strict timetable, and things certainly would be delayed if both photographers were capturing the same things. While the main photographer was busy with the “must-have” shots, I could go around capturing some of the details and behind the scenes images.

dragon symbol on cheongsam and golden ring

golden bracelet and peacock symbol

I loved the little details in the bride’s cheongsam. Here you can see a dragon and peacock embroidery. Dragons are a symbol of continuous attraction and harmonious communication in the coming marriage. I dont know what peacocks stand for, but they are very cute anyway.

Farrer Park, Singapore. Very early in the morning

A view from bride’s house towards Farrer Park. The building right in the middle is the famous Mustafa Centre. I like to visit there sometimes at odd hours, just because I can 🙂

smiling bride and closeup of her hands

bridesmaids all wearing a red dress

preparing wasabi muffins for gatecrashing challenge

The bridesmaids were all wearing matching outfits and started preparing the gatecrashing challenges. On top of some physical challenges, there is usually some eating challenge as well. The groomsmen were supposed to eat these muffins covered with wasabi paste.

groom arrive with his entourage

groom ready to enter brides house

brides father hanging out on the balcony

The uncle was not big fan of the gatecrashing ceremonies or he desperately needed to have his morning smoke, either way, he was hanging out on the balcony while everyone was wondering where did he go.

ang pow for bridesmaids

pushup challenge for the groomsmen

balloon bursting challenge

bestman giving the ang pow envelope

bestman trying to climb over fence

groom forced to eat wasabi kitkat

This apartment was modern in the sense that there was not an actual gate there. So the “gate” to be crashed had to be improvised from some colorful decorations. Maybe not so traditional, but it served the purpose just as well. The groom is having a wasabi Kit Kat before he could proceed upstairs.

groom going upstairs to meet the bride

groom with the bride and her parents

lifting the veil

groom kissing the bride

The first kiss is always very special moment. Ideally I would love this to happen somewhere else, maybe in a beautiful park etc, but there was no time for such arrangements. What you cant see in the picture is that the small room had to accommodate bride’s parents and two photographers as well. Bridesmaids and groomsmen had to stay near to doorway.

flower decorations on the wedding car

view of the brides house

bride & groom with the entourage

early morning sunrise

One of the reasons why chinese wedding starts so early is that the cremations start around 9am. So generally you would move from bride’s house to groom’s home before because it is considered very bad luck if you would come across a funeral entourage on your way.

bride and groom with the bridesmaids group photo

This time I was very happy to let my photographer buddy do most of the group shots and family formals.

bestman having his bowtie fixed and kids playing with crystals

very impressive looking buddhist altar

Most homes following the chinese / buddhist tradition have some kind of altar. This was by far the most impressive home altar that I’ve seen. So many different types of buddhas, everything ranging from the Thai style buddha to the fat buddha.

mother of the groom with her eight sisters

bride and groom praying at the altar

starting the tea ceremony at groom's home

The start of the tea ceremony at groom’s home. While tea ceremony is witnessed by the family and relatives, it is still in my opinion rather intimate event on the wedding day. I will write another time about the intricacies of the tea ceremony, but I think its safe to say there is a lot going on even on the surface it just looks people are drinking tea and exchanging gifts.

father of the groom putting a necklace on the bride

grandmother giving ang pow

details of the buddhist altar

bride receiving ang pow envelope

tea ceremony with ang pow

buddha statue and golden bracelet

Hougang, Singapore. Getting ready to leave to hotel

The last images were taken just before 10am when we were ready to change location. The solemnization and wedding luncheon were held at the ParkRoyal hotel on Beach road and to keep things a bit easier to manage, I will create another post from that.

Actual Day Photography

If you are looking for a professional photographer for your actual wedding day, I encourage you to get in touch with me as soon as possible. Currently I’m taking reservations for the season 2014, but there are still weekends open for 2013. You can contact me directly here.

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One Comment

  1. I’ve always been fascinated with Chinese weddings. Nice shots!


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