- Posted on Wednesday, 17 February 2016
“Our family is a circle of strength and love, with every birth and every union the circle will grow, every joy shared adds more love, every crisis faced together makes the circle stronger.”
As a tribute to the value of kinship, Hanzhi of wedding design and stationery brand The Joy Troopers embarked upon putting together a pre-wedding shoot involving not just her and fiancé Wei Kiat, but also their siblings and parents. The joyous family affair photographed by Jun Wu of Lightedpixels Pixies included handcrafted elements such as wooden name brooches and giant stuffed snacks, with the undeniable bond of family taking centre stage.
How did you meet?
“We were ‘matchmade’ by our university friends almost 6 years ago. He was a mechanical engineering student while I was a photography major. Our paths wouldn't have crossed without our dear friends.” ~ Hanzhifleu
What was the proposal like?
“We were out on a dinner date and we went home separately that night. He then took a cab and arrived before me; waiting outside my house to surprise me. Nothing fanciful, just the 2 of us. He couldn't find any florists so he only came with his ring. It was not any special date either, though he realised it was actually his parent’s wedding anniversary after he went home. He simply had the ‘feel’ that ‘today is the day’. He said he had to go into my house to inform my parents about this proposal and to ask for my hand. That’s his kind of romantic; he respects my parents as much as he loves me.” ~ Hanzhi
What was the inspiration behind your shoot?
“It was a casual photo shoot and we wanted to engage everyone in the family, so we decided that we would all dress in shades of blues and tints of whites. Most importantly, everyone should feel comfortable with what they were wearing.
Our theme for the styled shoot/engagement shoot was ‘Family’. To us, it was more meaningful to gather our families for this photo shoot as the 2 of us couldn't have come so far without their support. A marriage is never only about 2 individuals being better together, but the union of 2 families. This requires more love, more patience, and more communication, which are then exchanged for more joy and happiness, fun and laughter.
Kiat has 3 younger brothers while I have 3 elder sisters; he is the eldest son while I’m the youngest. Our families are similar in many ways, though it’s obviously a gender showdown between us – 四兄弟 (4 brothers) versus 四千金 (4 princesses).
Both of us fall nicely in between our families, creating this connection that ties us all together. We switched roles; he became the 小弟 (little brother) in my family, while I became the 大姐 (big sister) of his brothers. Our parents couldn't be more delighted to have more children (and finally, of the opposite gender).” ~ Hanzhi
How did you style the photo shoot? Did you undertake any DIY projects?
“We had Common Hands create wooden brooches for our parents, brothers and sisters. They were customised to the names we address our siblings by. I address my sisters by ‘大姐，二姐，and 三姐” (big sister, second sister and third sister), while Kiat calls his brothers by their chinese names “雄”, “豪”，and ”俊”. They were beautifully crafted and Fleurapy added touches of greens for the brothers’ brooches. We wanted the sisters to have similar brooches, but turned them into floral crown pendants.
Together with other vendors, we set up a little picnic corner with cakes and desserts (by susucre), floral and blooms (by Fleurapy), decorations and food props (by The Joy Troopers) as part of this styled shoot. The giant food props were made up of our childhood memories (lollipops & gem biscuits), our humble dialect origins (dim sum to symobolise the Cantonese; kuehs to represent the Teochews), and various quotes that were very close to our hearts illustrated on boards (by The Joy Troopers) and oil barrel (by Common Hands). Common Hands also created lighted boxes with customised messages for our night shoot.” ~ Hanzhi
Do you have any interesting moments or stories to share from shooting?
“I have worked on a couple of friends’ weddings without thinking that I would be handcrafting weddings for a living. I had so much fun working on weddings, often seeing it as my way of giving my friends my blessings. When my wedding preparation started, it prompted me to embark on a new adventure. I started The Joy Troopers where I listen to love stories, create bespoke whimsical props and decorations, design wedding invites and create handmade gifts. Extremely new to this industry, I can’t be more grateful to be able to meet other vendors, make new friends, learn about flowers, collaborate and have fun. I invited a few vendors to take part in this collaborative styled shoot, and they were very encouraging to say yes. This photo shoot isn’t just about my engagement shoot, or a family pre-wedding shoot, it was also an attempt to challenge myself to plan, coordinate and contribute to the setup of a styled shoot. This photo shoot wouldn't have been possible without them and my lovely friends that came down to help.” ~ Hanzhi
Do you have any tips and wedding advice for other brides and grooms-to-be?
“It is never too early to start planning your wedding. It saves you a little cost, a little stress, a little insecurity that adds up to a happier bride towards the big day.” ~ Hanzhi
What do you think makes a strong marriage?
“Love your other half’s family like you love yours. Always trust that whatever decisions your partner makes, he or she has you in mind. Make decisions together. A daily morning hug and a goodnight kiss every night. Have loads of fun and laughter!" ~ Hanzhi
Thank you for sharing these lovely images with us, Wei Kiat and Hanzhi, and warmest congratulations on your engagement!
Venue: Seletar North Link
Photography: Jun Wu, Lightedpixels Pixies
Planning, Styling, Décor and Food Props: The Joy Troopers
Woodcraft, Oil Barrels and Lighted Boxes: Common Hands
Hair and Makeup: Jennifer, Iheartblooms
Cakes and Desserts: susucre
Fairy Lights: Midnight Sparks