Mike and Hilary's Engagement Shoot in Golden Bagan

This is Burma, and it is quite unlike any land you know about.” ~ Rudyard Kipling

When we heard that Marko of Marinkovic Weddings was going to be in Bagan, we knew we had to ask him to photograph our newly-engaged friends, Mike and Hilary, both based in Myanmar and whose first serendipitous encounter was there. These beautiful images of the couple cuddling and climbing barefoot in secluded spots unmarred by tourists (scouted by Marko days beforehand) are so spontaneous and uninhibited that they’ll tug at your heartstrings for days to come.

How did you meet and what was the proposal like?
“Hilary is from Singapore and Mike is from Australia but we met in Myanmar, so it was quite a serendipitous meeting. Hilary had just moved to Yangon for work and it was her first weekend in a new country. We were at sunset Friday drinks by the lake at the Yangon Sailing Club, and Hilary’s boss, who had worked with Mike before, introduced Mike. It didn't take long until our first date, and as they say, the rest is history.

Mike was originally planning to propose around Hilary's birthday in December, but he got the ring much sooner so he proposed on our anniversary in November. We started with a late dinner (we were delayed by the Arsenal v Manchester football match) at the Strand Hotel, a quintessential colonial-style hotel in Yangon which was recently refurbished. After dinner, Hilary suggested taking a walk around the hotel to check out the new refurbishments; little did she know that a room was waiting for them. Mike wanted to propose and was trying to set the mood by switching off all the lights in the room but Hilary has an issue with darkness and got annoyed, so she started turning all the lights back on again. This went on a few rounds around the room until Mike finally managed to make Hilary sit still. Mike then finally got down on one knee and proposed!” ~ Mike and Hilary

Please tell us more about your shoot!
We were actually planning to shoot in Sydney since we are getting married in Singapore and Sydney is where Mike is from, so it was a pleasant surprise when the opportunity to shoot in Bagan arose. We met in Myanmar and Bagan was one of the first places we traveled to together so it was quite a meaningful place for us too.  

The shoot with Marko and Ivana was simply one of the best experiences ever. We joined them in Bagan about 5 days after they arrived. They had been there scouting in advance for the perfect spots for our shoot. By the time we got there to shoot, they knew exactly where to go and what to do and we just went along. It was fuss-free, painless and really enjoyable! The beautiful photos are testament to Marko and Ivana's hard work - what's unseen and probably even under-appreciated in these shots is the preparation and professionalism that Marko and Ivana put in prior to the shoot, which allowed us to have such an enjoyable time as we were never left wondering what to do next.

One thing Marko asked us to do was pen letters to each other to open during the shoot. The photos that came from that session truly encapsulated the emotions we were feeling. We cannot imagine having worked with anyone more talented and professional. The beautiful shots really reflect their combination of talent and hard work. We could not be happier! We believe that we have developed a true friendship with Marko and Ivana, and are even planning on visiting them in Croatia this summer. We did not know what to expect in Bagan, but it was so fun and relaxing working with Marko and Ivana. We did not have many cues/poses to follow and were just very natural, and we think this made a big difference in having fun and having photos that truly reflect us.” ~ Mike and Hilary

Do you have any tips and advice for couples planning destination pre-wedding shoots?
“With destination shoots, the main issue is likely to be unfamiliarity with the terrain and the "touristy" shot is probably the most common but difficult to shoot because it will be overcrowded and filled with tons of tourists. We were so lucky to have Marko and Ivana scout all the spots beforehand so they knew exactly where to go and at exactly what time to catch the best light. They picked secluded yet gorgeous places that none of the tourists knew about, and we had the luxury of time to just shoot at a location for as long as we wanted without worrying about anyone else around us.” ~ Mike and Hilary



Vendor Information
Photography: Marinkovic Weddings
Wedding Dresses: Monique Lhuillier from Truly Enamoured (white dress) and Ethereal (blue gown)