Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: Daniel and Singhui's Arctic Engagement


Following a surprise proposal beneath a night sky full of floating lanterns at the annual Yi Peng festival in Chiang Mai, lovebirds and avid travellers Daniel and Singhui decided to turn their pre-wedding shoot into an arctic adventure. Together with wedding photographer Eirik Halvorsen, the couple had the time of their lives discovering unique photo ops in Tromsø, Norway, including traditional log houses and the world’s smallest instant portrait studio, and witnessed the magical lights of the Aurora Borealis.







































Here's a peek at their perfect surprise proposal at Chiang Mai’s annual Yi Peng festival in 2015…



How did you meet and what was the proposal like? 
“We met in school back in our university days. The proposal was in Chiang Mai, during the Yi Peng festival in November 2015. Daniel proposed to me under a sky filled with lanterns. The day before our trip, Daniel told me to pack my bag and whisked me off to Chiang Mai – I had no idea what was happening! We stayed in a treehouse in a forest off Chiang Mai, sat on a hot air balloon and cruised though a lake at night to stargaze. Daniel took one year to plan for the proposal because the Yi Peng festival is a highly sought-after event internationally. Tourists and media all around the world head to Chiang Mai to catch this breathtaking sight. He balloted for the event tickets in 2014 and managed to get the VIP tickets (USD 200 each!) These tickets were going at a whooping USD 2000 by re-sellers on the event day itself!” ~ Singhui

Please tell us about the inspiration behind your shoot.
“The theme was ‘Winter Wonderland’. Daniel and I met in Europe during our university exchange programme and have always wanted to shoot our wedding photos there. We are an adventurous couple and love exploring places off the beaten track. Going to the arctic was an easy decision because we wanted to catch the northern lights and be different. After all, taking photos in the arctic wasn't something common, especially when it's super cold in winter.” ~ Singhui

Do you have any interesting moments or stories to share from the day of shooting? 
“Tromsø is a small town, and everyone is so hospitable and warm. Cars stopped to let us shoot, locals came up to give us their blessings, a lady even wrote a sweet note for us in French. Passers-by helped me to hold my coat while we shot. A taxi driver wanted to take photos with me. Even after the shoot, people recognised us and randomly came up to congratulate us.

Lying in the snow in Silje's backyard for 15 seconds for the "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” inspired pictures – it was so cold we couldn’t feel our limbs after that. Daniel had to ‘defrost’ his limbs by the fireplace in Silje's house. Having snow fights while shooting. Being unglam: Eating pizza and drinking beer to keep warm in my dress in the midst of shooting. Tripping and falling numerous times; I had a few bruises after the shoot. Lugging a 3kg dress around the thick snow. That was a feat! *laughs*” ~ Singhui

Where were some of your shoot locations?
“We lived onboard the Hurtigruten. We alighted in Bergen and took 5 days to cruise up to the arctic. We decided to dock in Tromsø in search of the northern lights and shot in the following locations: 

1. The Arctic Cathedral, also know as the The Cathedral of the arctic Sea
2. The local residential town (the pictures with mountains and the sea). It’s 15 minutes away from the city of Tromsø and was recommended by a local.
3. The middle of a vast field (as seen in the night shots) to catch the northern lights, 45 minutes away from Tromsø. 
4. The city area for the traditional Norwegian log houses 
5. Siste Skanse: the smallest instant portrait studio in the world (the yellow and green kiosk). 
6. Tromsø Bed & Books Hostel

To be honest, we just walked around the city and explored. We did not head to Tromsø with specific destinations in mind.” ~ Singhui

Do you have any tips and advice for couples planning destination pre-wedding shoots?
“It was indeed super duper cold and crazy of us to shoot in sub-zero temperatures. But I would do it all over again given the choice. *laughs*

Be candid and enjoy the shoot. It’s more about the experience than the final product.

Always be crazy, creative and original. Explore places that are off the beaten track.

Put your faith in your photographer's good hands and of course, it’s a blessing that we found a photographer that we could click with.

Have zero expectations! We spontaneously decided to submit our pictures to the local news without any expectations that the editors would pick it up. But it made its way to Huffington Post!” ~ Singhui



Thank you for sharing these beautiful images with us, Daniel and Singhui, and warmest congratulations on your engagement!



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Vendor Information
Venue: The Arctic Cathedral, Telegrafbukta, Tromsø Bed & Books and Siste SkanseTromsø, Norway
Photography: Eirik Halvorsen Fotograf
Wedding Dress: Emanuel B Couture
Local Host: Silje Ryvold, Tromsø Bed & Books