The romance capitals of Paris, Venice and Santorini have long been top destinations for pre-wedding shoots, so much so that wedding albums start to look the same after a while… bride and groom toast champagne in a gondola… steal a kiss with the Eiffel Tower in the background… then gaze into the sunset from a vantage point.
Opting for something unique, one bi-racial couple decided to celebrate their love with a series of photos that pay homage to their roots.
Sanjeev Shanker, a doctor specialising in emergency medicine, and Melissa Tan, a banker, were introduced to each other through a mutual friend and quickly became an item thanks to shared interests. Being in a cross-cultural relationship has added colour to their relationship, as well as exposed them to different types of food—one of the things they bond over.
For the photo shoot, lensman Hong Ray of Hong Ray Photography and florist-stylist Nelly of From Day Till Night decided on a uniquely Singaporean theme, but were careful not to overdo it, keeping the focus on the couple. Shooting in tiny Singapore can have its limitations when it comes to locations, as some would prefer not to show the country's usual landmarks.
Hong Ray took the time to suss out a rustic location rich in character, much like the couple’s multi-faceted relationship: “I discovered a hidden untouched location of Singapore. The venue exudes a uniquely Singapore rustic charm, tucked away from the bustle of the city. It was a fitting setting to celebrate something else unique to Singapore: our melting pot of cultures and races, and this bi-racial couple fit the theme perfectly.”
The idea appealed to the couple, who say: “Celebrating our cultural differences and national pride shows who we are, where we came from, and what we are now. Marriage is not just the union of two hearts, but also the union of two families.”
The modern outfit
While gown-sourcing, one design stood out: a cheongsam-inspired, white mermaid-cut gown with intricate floral blue embroidered lace. The blue and white union is commonly depicted in delicate Chinese porcelain, and a nod to Melissa’s Chinese heritage, yet the overall look of the outfit is crisp and modern, much like the Sanjeev’s three-piece grey suit.
The traditional outfit
Decidedly modern gave way to tradition as the pair donned Indian outfits—a long coat-like sherwani for him and a sari for her. Red and gold—both auspicious colours in the Indian and Chinese customs—were chosen. Melissa wore her hair in a loose chignon with sideswept fringe, and a few orchid blooms crown the look.
The typical muted palette seen in florals for couple shoots was replaced by a bold mix of colours including reds and purples, that come together harmoniously with an underlying rustic theme. Regal and resilient, purple orchids were included in the bouquet.