Planning four pre-wedding photo shoots is not easy work. From the very beginning, family, friends and suppliers shared a collective gasp when they heard that we were going to have that many sessions. I mean one engagement shoot was so much work… multiply that by four and you’ve pretty much got so much work cut out for you. Luckily, my husband (I am not going to get tired of calling him that any time soon, by the way…) Yan indulged the fashion and lifestyle blogger in me and not only allowed it but was actually so instrumental in making it all happen. Being the natural-born planner that he is, logistics and coming up an itinerary was something inherent and easy for him to do. Couple that with my obsessive compulsive tendencies and my awareness of the vision and aesthetic I wanted, we actually turned out to compliment each other in a way that allowed us to get so much done in a short amount of time.
Yan and I knew that we wanted distinct looks for every photo shoot. For our main wedding engagement session, we knew we wanted to take it to a whole new level and that involved shooting in a different country and for this, we picked Japan. Aside from being a place that is rich in beautiful landscape and culture to begin with, the country also actually holds a special place in our hearts as it is the first country that as a couple, Yan and I were able to travel to and that made it so significant and sentimental for the two of us.
Since this was our main pre-wedding photo session, we trusted Benjie Tiongco to work his magic behind the lens and capture this precious experience for us. I love Benjie’s work and have been quite a fan even before I got engaged. It is probably his attention to detail, his meticulousness in every frame and layout and how he blends people and scenery in every shot he takes that really drew us to choosing him as our official pre-wedding and wedding photographer and after meeting him for the first time for our pre-production planning, Yan and I knew we made the right choice.
For the look, I knew that I wanted something very elegant and formal but nothing too over the top. Aside from our shared love for traveling, Yan and I also bonded over fashion and we skipped casual looks in favor of more dressed up and sophisticated outfits. We decided to style ourselves since we definitely know what kind of aesthetic we were aiming for. Instead of only ball gowns, I also wanted to incorporate something more ethnic, modern and culturally significant outfits so I trusted Vera Wang, Francis Libiran, Julianne Syjuco, Yeye Pantaleon, Desino Dulce and some of my own designs to provide my looks for the shoot. My groom relied on the bespoke tailoring skills of Joey Espiritu and Bianca Cordero for his suits and tuxedos. We decided to divide the shoot into two parts: a dreamy, in full bloom and enchanting one with Japan’s beautiful cherry blossoms and natural landscape as our backdrop and then a more old-fashioned, cultural and editorial look which I insisted on as a tribute to the history lover in me. One of my favorite makeup artists, Criselda Perez was in charge of glamming me up for my look in every lay-out. I was also able to form ties and a friendship with Dr. Gilen Perez who assisted us with tremendous help throughout our five-day trip.
As with my relationship with Yan, the whole experience of our Japan pre-wedding photo session can be best described by two words as mentioned by Benjie: luck and persistence. We planned as hard as we could, researched as much as possible and made sure to put in place as much resources as to make this shoot successful and it turned out to be an amazing experience. Check out the photos and see for yourself!
For the video of our pre-wedding shoot, view below—