Singaporebrides | Real Weddings
Valerie and Leon’s Sunkissed Bali Wedding Photoshoot
Valerie and Leon captured their love against stunning scenery during their Bali wedding photoshoot, with beautiful beaches, dramatic cliffs, and shimmering lakes.
Leon Chiang, 27, Banker, pretended to be a night owl while secretly setting an alarm at 3am every night so he could talk to Valerie Chew, 25, Banker, while she was in London. His efforts paid off, and the couple documented their love for each other in a beautiful Bali wedding photoshoot against the island’s stunning backdrops of cliffs, lakes, and beaches.
How did you two meet?
Valerie: Both of us studied in Singapore Management University (SMU), and we met in our first year of University at Sports Camp. We were nothing more than acquaintances for a full year, before our mutual friends introduced us properly a year later on my birthday in 2015. That was when we really got to know each other better, and found that perhaps we were a good match for each other!
As fate would have it, just as we were starting to get to know each other better, I was due to leave for my summer studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science for almost two months. So we had a “long-distance relationship” for the first two months of getting to know each other. Ironically, I think that really gave our friendship the boost it needed as we texted and FaceTimed every single day.
Leon: I managed to convince her that I was staying up till 3am to play video games during the summer break just to speak to her and text her. It was probably not that good of an idea in hindsight, but hey, it worked! Our personalities, likes, and dislikes really matched up really well, which made it really easy for us to bond quickly.
Valerie: I only just found out after five years, that he actually made the effort to set an alarm at 3am every night to wake up and FaceTime me, so that our calls would be at my convenience after my dinner every night. At that point in time, he made an excuse that he was a night owl and this was his usual routine. I can’t believe I only just found out recently that it was a lie!
What do you love most about your partner?
Leon: I really love how rational she can be when it comes to making decisions. She rarely decides on impulse or acts on emotions—which makes it easy for us to lay our thoughts out to understand our thought processes better. We also love the same type of food, so we rarely have problems deciding on where to eat like some couples do! Another plus point is that she is really good with children, which makes me really confident that she will be a good mother to our child(ren) in the future. It’s good because we are able to have somewhat of a “trial” taking care of our nieces and nephews as well as our dog, though it seems like the kids and dog seem to like her a lot more.
Valerie: When we first met, I loved that I immediately felt so comfortable around him and that I could truly be myself. Leon is someone who is really doting, thoughtful, and intelligent. I love that sometimes I find myself in awe and in respect of his intelligence. I love myself an intelligent man! More importantly, he really knows me inside and out—my likes, dislikes, pet peeves, and what helps or does not help.
Living together for six months on our Student Exchange Programme in France was an experience that really showed both of us how compatible we were and still are. Six years into our relationship, it still feels the same as day one and we are still as loving as in the first year of our relationship. Love and relationships do not happen by chance; I came to the realisation that the both of us have been continuously putting in an effort into our relationship and I believe we will continue to do so for the rest of our lives!
What was the proposal like?
Leon: While the proposal was in March 2019, I actually had the engagement ring for a while and was thinking of the best way to do it. However, different things kept getting in the way of the actual proposal–such as timing issues, location issues, vendor issues, etc. Most things never go to plan and even on the day itself, plans had to be changed.
The original plan for the day was to get Valerie’s friends to bring her to a nice café-cum-boutique in a Conservation House while I set up in the suite above. Our dog, Muachi, was supposed to run down in a wedding dress and lead her up into the room where I was due to propose. However, on the day itself, the air conditioning in the room did not work. This, combined with the heat of the sun in the evening, and I knew the plan was definitely not going to work.
I had to scramble to find another place that allowed dogs so that at least some part of my plan could be salvaged. I guess some of my good karma points were used as I was able to book a suite at the Four Seasons Hotel (which is dog-friendly) AND get the vendor to still set everything up in time. I was extremely nervous throughout the proposal, and I actually forgot my speech and ended up speaking from the heart instead. She still insists that it was rehearsed but there was no way I could have remembered a speech that was that long.
Valerie: To be honest, I had my suspicions, but I was truly surprised that it happened on that very day as I genuinely thought I was going out to have dinner with my friends. So I was completely shocked to see my best friend surprise me and turn up with our dog and a blindfold. I still remember being very hungry and all ready to order our main course for dinner, and as I was putting the blindfold on, I was still asking her if we weren’t going to order as I had already decided what to eat.
It was a really memorable day for me as Leon had invited both our parents to be there to witness the proposal and that was really meaningful to the both of us. Leon also made a really long and formal speech that I found really hilarious at times, but ultimately got me bawling and looking really unglamorous for the photos.
Where did you go for your shoot?
Valerie: We went to Bali for our wedding photoshoot as it is a place that I absolutely love. It has a wide array of jaw-dropping landscapes, from beaches to volcanoes, cliffs and lakes. It was the perfect destination for us from all angles. We were simply blown away by the locations, and most importantly, after a tiring day of shooting, we could relax in the comfort of our villa, enjoy a soothing massage, and head to a beach club to chill out for the rest of our trip.
For Leon, it was exceptionally memorable for him as it was his very first time in Bali. I had actually suggested going to Bali together multiple times in the past, but he had always refused to do so. This is really hilarious, but the reason for his refusal is to not allow for the slightest risk of the Bali curse happening to us. So the moment we got engaged, I was over the moon that he was open to the idea of going to Bali for our photoshoot.
Leon: Better be safe than sorry with the Bali Curse, is what I would say. My experience with Val in Europe has led me to be very confident in her when it comes to planning stuff like this (we had an Excel sheet of multiple locations–complete with costs, pictures, travelling duration, etc). This made it a lot easier as we didn’t encounter the situation where there were too many cooks in the kitchen.
Tell us about your Bali wedding photoshoot.
Valerie: For us, we really wanted a set of photos that we would enjoy and admire over the course of our lifetime. We wanted it to be timeless and also to be able to capture our love as it is, not posed, but entirely natural. The locations that we chose were largely landscape locations, and to get shots that, if put up on our walls, would be admired by our visitors and ourselves from a purely artistic or scenery point of view, two, five, and even ten years down the road.
On this aspect, Knotties Frame has really delivered above and beyond what we had envisioned and expected. To say that it was an exhausting shoot would be an understatement, as the photoshoot locations were located very far apart in Bali and we had to travel long distances throughout the day.
Nonetheless, we are very thankful that Wan Jing and Zack were so patient, enthusiastic, and helpful throughout the entire shoot. What really impressed me was the preparation that they had done prior to the trip, even heading to recce the locations beforehand so that everything would go smoothly. They made the photoshoot so enjoyable for us and we absolutely love the photos.
Leon: I am someone who is very self-conscious in front of the camera but Wan Jing and Zack made the whole experience easier by being patient and directing us (mostly me) in what we could do to make the pictures look better, without being pushy. We were clear that we did not want too many close ups as we wanted to capture the scenery and landscapes that Bali had to offer.
When will the wedding be, and what are your plans for it?
The wedding will be in the second half of 2020 and we are looking at a venue that would be able to provide an experience that would be unique and different from the usual banquet dinners. We are taking our time, enjoying the planning experience and having fun with it, so we are not stressing over a tight timeline for now!
The Photographer: Knotties Frame
The Engagement Ring: Artemis Rings
The Shoot Locations: Bali
The Hairstylist and Makeup Artist: Mikup
The Florist: Kintan Florist
Credits: Images by Knotties Frame