- Posted on Friday, 13 October 2017
By now you must've oooh-ed and aaaah-ed at Chun Yin and Grace’s winning photo, captured by Cole Kor of 2 of us photography, and today we’re delighted to share more from their overseas pre-wedding photo shoot in the “land of ice and snow”. The intrepid couple braved cold, wind and rain to capture some spectacular moments which even saw them venturing into an ice cave underneath Vatnajökull glacier.
How did you meet and what was the proposal like?
"We met 13 years ago when we were both 17. We were classmates during our polytechnic days. Due to our similar personalities, we became close friends pretty quickly. 1 year later, we officially became an item and it’s lasted till today.
2 years ago, we were on a trip to Madagascar to celebrate our 10th anniversary and my birthday. We transited in Mauritius for 1 night. I had planned to propose to Grace in Mauritius since it was our 10th anniversary. So I booked a beach resort and liaised with the hotel to decorate our room with flower petals spelling ‘Marry Me?’ on the bed. But since Grace was expecting me to propose, I had to think of a way to surprise her. The plan was for them to do the decorations after we checked in, while we were out of the room having dinner. This would make her drop her guard and be surprised. We reached Mauritius in the evening and drove to the beach resort. Upon reaching the resort, the hotel staff greeted us by name and told Grace that we had a free room upgrade from a deluxe room to a suite since the resort was full. I still remember Grace telling me happily that we were so lucky and the staff were so well-trained since they knew all the guests by name. In my mind I was thinking, ‘Of course they know us, we are going to be the stars tonight" – but I just smiled and nodded in reply. When we reached our room, it was just like any other room, nothing special. Since it was around dinner time, I dragged Grace to dinner at one of the restaurants in the resort. On the way to the restaurant, I gave a signal to a member of the hotel staff. We had a great dinner and returned to our suite. When we reached our room, the lights were deliberately dimmed so that whatever was on the bed could not be seen from the entrance. As Grace walked in and switched on the lights, she saw the words on the bed and turned around. I was there with a proposal ring in my hands and she was in tears. She agreed to marry me and it’s been happily ever after since then.” ~ Chun Yin
What was the inspiration behind your shoot?
“We are both big fans of beautiful scenery and great adventures. So we thought Iceland would be an ideal destination for our pre-wedding shoot. We had previously been to Iceland and loved the scenery there. It was also on Grace's bucket list to take some wedding photos in an ice cave (which can be found in Iceland). So, we were unanimous in choosing Iceland as our photoshoot destination.
We did not want our wedding photos to look like run-of-the-mill photos. We preferred something adventurous with a wow factor. Hence, we communicated our ideas to Cole and were glad that he was receptive to our ideas. Not many photographers are willing to stand in the blistering cold and chilly strong winds, hence we were glad that we found Cole.” ~ Chun Yin
Do you have any interesting moments or stories to share from the day of shooting?
“It was raining when we reached the Jokulsarlon diamond beach,but this did not dampen our spirits. We waited for a while but the weather did not seem to be getting any better. So we made a brave decision to go ahead with the shoot. We thought that if we went for it, the worst-case scenario would just be some wet clothes. Also, you will never know the rewards if you do not even take the first step. Hence, we decided to brave the weather and take up the challenge. It was a decision we never regretted. The waves were majestic that day due to the wet weather and it was perfectly captured in the photo.
After the shoot, we dashed to the car to get some warmth. To warm ourselves even more, we drove to the cafe at the glacier lagoon (which was on the opposite side of the road) to get some warm food. Without thinking, I walked in with my wet clothes (suit and bow tie) while my wife stayed in the car. When I opened the door of the cafe, it was the most awkward moment of my life. Almost everyone in the cafe turned and stared at me. They must have thought, ‘This guy is insane, dressed in such thin and wet clothing during such bad weather.’ I quickly grabbed what I needed and went back to my car immediately.
Despite the great experience and fantastic photo, it was a super stressful day for everyone. After being drenched in icy cold water, we were not motivated to take any other photos that day. The increasingly bad weather and short daylight hours made things even worse. In the end, we ended day 1 with just 1 photo. You can imagine the stress that Cole faced, when 1/3 of the trip had passed and he only had 1 photo to show his clients – the pressure on him was enormous.” ~ Chun Yin
Do you have any tips and advice for couples planning destination pre-wedding shoots?
“First, you should check the weather at your destination and be prepared for it. For instance, we knew about the notorious winter weather that Iceland is famous for. We brought lots of things to warm ourselves before and after the shoot. We even brought detachable spikes for our shoes to allow us to climb and walk better. Thanks to the spikes, we were able to climb up the slippery ice and take that photo.
Next, you should check what things can only be found at your destination and make sure you capture them in your photos. For example, blue ice caves can only be found in places near the Arctic Circle, hence we wanted to take our photos in them. Similarly, you would not want to have a photoshoot in Madagascar without Baobab trees, in Vanuatu without Mount Yasur spurting lava, or in Cambodia without Angkor Wat captured in your photos.
Lastly, you should check for local holidays at the destination before deciding on the dates. This will make a big difference in your plans. In our case, we purposely scheduled our photoshoot trip during the New Year period. Every year around this period, there are a few days when everyone purchases and lights fireworks. We chose this period so that we could have photos with fireworks in the background. Another way dates can affect your plans is when you wish to hire local photographers at your destination. If your travel period is during a major festival, you might face difficulties finding local photographers without inflated prices. You might also face difficulties finding accomodation, food or even beautiful scenery without loads of people.” ~ Chun Yin
A word from Cole Kor of 2 of us Photography on his winning photo…
“It’s the toughest photoshoot I’ve ever had. It was day 1 of the shoot, and was windy and raining the whole day with only 3 to 4 hours of daylight. The average temperature was -7 to 1 Celsius and we stayed inside the car and waited for better weather after reaching the location. An hour later and the weather remained unchanged and the day was getting darker - I decided that I wasn’t going to do nothing on day 1. My couple agreed!
Safety always comes first; we checked the stability of the iceberg and the waves before we started. My lighting system had to be covered up with a plastic bag and I needed to keep wiping my lens to focus while shooting. The couple climbed up the iceberg, took off their jackets and waited for the perfect waves.
We eventually got the shot after about 10 minutes and we then rushed back to the car and left for hot food, hot showers and rest. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for all of us!”
Thank you for sharing these beautiful images with us, Chun Yin and Grace!
More features in Iceland
Miki and Joanne’s Unforgettable Iceland Engagement Shoot
Aaron and Serene's Ice Cave Engagement Shoot in Iceland
Iceland In A Day: Hasib and Reen’s Engagement Shoot
Fearless: William and Velda Battle the Elements in Iceland
Yogie and Yessyca’s Surreal, Snow-Covered Engagement in Iceland
Venues: Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon, Diamond Beach, Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach and Vatnajökull (glaciers and ice caves), Iceland
Photography: 2 of us Photography
Wedding Gown: Margaret Brides
Hair and Makeup: Yukifang Makeup
Ice Cave Tour Guides: Glacier Adventure