Singaporebrides | Real Weddings

December 2017

Yi Teng and Zhenyan’s Romantic Elopement in New Zealand

We cannot stop gushing over how beautiful Yi Teng and Zhenyan’s elopement in New Zealand is!

Toh Yi Teng, 28, Internal Audit Manager, met husband, Leong Zhenyan, 31, Tax Manager, overseas while on a community trip to Vietnam. Soon after, sparks flew and the pair got together. With the blessings of their families, they abandoned the idea of a traditional wedding dinner and embarked on an elopement to New Zealand where they tied the knot in an intimate ceremony in a cabin with just the two of them and two witnesses.

What is it about your partner that you love the most?

Zhenyan: She is an extremely thoughtful person who will think of others. You can see it through her actions and it was what ultimately attracted me to her.

Yi Teng: He is a very kind and thoughtful person who has always been there for me and is someone very capable and I can depend on.

What was the proposal like?

I proposed to her four years ago when we applied for a HDB! Last year, I brought her to a nice spa resort in Batam, Tempat Senang. I made a scrapbook for her which documented all our travels from the start and went down on bended knee. It was a really memorable evening for the both of us. The resort made really wonderful efforts for the both of us and we just went back there this year during our first year engagement anniversary.

What made you decide on an elopement instead of hosting a traditional wedding?

We had actually booked a wedding venue at Peony Jade which we later sold to a lovely couple on the SingaporeBrides’s forum. We decided that our wedding is something meant for just the two of us and we wanted it to be that way. We wanted something we could both share and remember. Having been to many wedding dinners, it just felt like something couples feel obligated to do and though memorable, it became a really exhausting day for the couple.

As you can imagine, we had some resistance from our parents but eventually, we managed to persuade them to hold a small traditional ceremony and intimate get-together for our families. We are both eternally thankful for our understanding from both parents who allowed us to make this decision together.

How did you go about preparing for your elopement in New Zealand?

No one had done this before among our circle of friends and we took it as a challenge like most other things. Yi Teng was the one sourcing for the location. She did all the work and she was always on Instagram finding the most idyllic location for all of us. We settled on Castle Hill which was a short while away from Christchurch, just enough to be convenient and just quiet enough for us to do this. We worked with Kenneth from Said and Meant Photography on the location and we all made a joint decision on this together after looking at pictures of the place. After determining the location, we started searching around the area on Airbnb for an accommodation and came across this beautiful cabin nearby.

Getting married overseas is definitely not a difficult process as a lot of the information was available online. First, we had to engage an officiant. I searched for an officiant through the officiant registry there and it was really easy to liaise with our officiant via email. After that, the procedural work was really simple because a registered officiant would know the paperwork you would need to complete before and after the entire process. I chose our officiant because she seemed experienced and have wed some other Asian couples which gave us confidence.

I would recommend a two week stay in New Zealand at least so you can collect your marriage certificate at the end of the trip.

Where was your wedding venue, and why did you decide to get married there (the cabin)?

We had intended it to be at Castle Hill, which is such an idyllic location with wind carved rocks, but unfortunately, on the day itself, it began pouring but that did not dampen our moods. We were pretty thankful that we did not have to deal with crazy hair and those cold winds. It was a very intimate session with just the two of us, our officiant and the two witnesses. The ceremony took an hour as we said our vows to each other and signed the papers.

Take us back to your wedding day. What was the day like and how were you feeling?

I woke up at 4am and started baking cookies because I was really excited! I think we were both pretty excited but we were glad it was such a small ceremony, we could really just be ourselves and there were no guises that we had to put up in front of a big crowd of friends and family. We could be natural and keep everything simple and sweet, just the way we wanted it to be. The most memorable part of our big day was when we said our vows to each other.

After our wedding, we embarked on a photoshoot with Kenneth. I would like to share a romantic story about the places we went to, but unfortunately, they didn’t have any special meaning then. But since then, they do. We were feeling relaxed so we decided on a casual shoot that was equally majestic and memorable. We wanted to show that we were just small pieces in a much bigger picture. We decided to go with Kenneth because his style was really similar to what we wanted, and after going through our pre-wedding photos in Scotland, he immediately knew what to do.

What is one lesson you’ve learnt from your wedding planning that you’d like to share with other couples?

If you would like to do an elopement wedding, plan well and plan early in advance. Be ready for any change in plans. Be flexible and remember, that the wedding is just a day in the long road you both will walk together.

If you want to pick a photographer, pick a good one! I thank my wife for her superior judgement. We were lucky to have Kenneth as our photographer as he was easy to get along with and we are intending to invite him to come over when our house is ready to catch up as well. We had a lot of fun with him on this road trip / wedding / elopement and wish him continued success!

The Venue: The Doug, Log house, Castle Hill
The Photographer: Kenneth from Said and Meant Photography
The Wedding Gown: Iris and edel
The Wedding Shoes: Dr. Marten boots
The Groom’s Suit: tailored at Dickson’s Tailor
The Groom’s Shoes: River Island
The Solemniser: Annette


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