Singaporebrides | Real Weddings

April 2024

Elly and Khai’s Snowy, Harry Potter-Inspired Pre-Wedding Shoot in Japan

Potterheads Elly and Khai flew to Japan in the midst of winter for a magical Harry-Potter-inspired pre-wedding shoot in Universal Studios Japan, and made enchanting memories in the beautiful snowy streets of Old Town Kyoto and Shirawaka.

Elly Yeoh, 31, Self-Care of Magical Emotions Entrepreneur and Wong Khai Hoe, 32, Engineering of Tiny Muggle Structures Wizard (Process Engineering Manager) met at an a cappella session, where they ended up bringing the song “Secret Love Song” to life! The adventurous pair of Potterheads bonded over their shared love for theme parks, games, and of course, Harry Potter, and embarked on a winter whirlwind trip to Japan to capture their Harry Potter-themed pre-wedding shoot with Darren and Jade Photography.

How did you first meet each other?

Elly: In 2017, my friend Samantha and I endeavoured to bring a group of our friends together to sing an a cappella version of Secret Love Song by Little Mix. Sam knew Khai and me from different singing groups (Chamber Singers and NUS Choir respectively). Little did anyone expect that we quietly got together during a three month gap in rehearsals, where I slid into Khai’s DMs, advising him on the train routes for Tokyo while vacationing in Taiwan. During the final practice session, we revealed the actual “Secret Love Song” to the group to everyone’s surprise!

Khai: On our second date, I invited Elly out to the ice rink. For “in case I fall” reasons, we finally held hands for the first time, but this special moment lasted a mere 15 seconds because the ice machine decided to come out at that moment and we were chased off the ice.

Elly: While fleeting, this moment proved pivotal! Later over dinner, Khai decided to ask me out officially (thankfully he didn’t use, “Ai stead mai?”).

What do you love most about each other?

Elly: Khai is truly genuine, intelligent, and hardworking. And he is my partner-in-crime when it comes to living life like an adventure. We adore theme parks, food adventures, and board/video/arcade games, and I feel like the luckiest geek in the world, that he has jumped on this cray-cray steam train with me to do a Potter-themed pre-wedding shoot and upcoming wedding banquet. Being with him the last seven years has healed me in more ways than I could express, and in addition to our similarities, it is our differences that have helped each other constantly become better versions of ourselves.

Khai: Elly is the most caring and loving person I could have met in my life. She taught me that there is always time to slow down and enjoy life’s little moments as we go along. Strolling in the park, walking together in the mall, poking fun at each other, or imagining our dream life are the times I cherish a lot. She has one of the most infectious laughs, evidently displayed when we watched Guardians of the Galaxy 2 together on our first date. She was laughing 80% of the time in the cinema, and captured the whole of my heart. I’m grateful for Elly as a companion to share the craziest moments like having a photoshoot in a snowy village, designing our dream home together, and curating every aspect of our Potter-themed wedding party! She complements my shortcomings.

What was the proposal like?

Elly: In November 2021, Khai told me that we would be celebrating our 4.5 year anniversary over dinner at Botanic Gardens. Little did I expect that my friend Esther would suddenly “jio” me to do our nails together. Thereafter, she wanted to “show me a sunset spot at Botanics”, and off we went. Delayed by a few wayward turns, it did not help when I enthusiastically wanted to stop along the way to take photos of swans as Esther was having a secret panic attack.

Finally, I found myself walking up to the grand pavilion in the middle of Botanic Gardens, to a scene out of a Potterhead’s dream — a bright sign saying “Marry Me” that could be seen a mile away, and upon arrival, seeing Harry Potter plushies, candles, polaroids of our journey, and Khai holding a bouquet, waiting with a turquoise, custom-made golden snitch ring.

All was well.

Huge thank you to Khai, Esther, Artemis Rings, and Mente Floreale.

Tell us how you decided on your Harry Potter pre-wedding shoot!

Elly & Khai: The theme of our pre-wedding shoot was “Do you want to be HARDCORE?” It was absolutely the craziest, most mind-blowing thing we’ve done together!

Barely two months away from our original pre-wedding shoot in Singapore, we decided to #doitfortheplot and switch from a local shoot to a three-day shoot in the peak of winter in Japan. It has always been a dream of Elly’s to shoot at Wizarding World in one of the Universal Studio theme parks, and in snowy landscapes, and fandoms have always been a significant part of her life (in fact, Harry Potter got her her first job!)

From sprinting into Universal Studios Japan to be the first ones at the Hogwarts Castle, to a Kimono night shoot in the old alleys of Kyoto, to a three-hour trip up into a remote, snow-covered village, we were even blessed enough to see snow when we needed it in Arashiyama and Kyoto City.

How did the shoot go?

Elly & Khai: While we personally had the time of our lives, we would caution that it was a true challenge physically and mentally. At one point, we were unknowingly shooting on top of a half-frozen river (sheesh).

Elly: There were times I suffered mild frostbite where my hands turned bright red (and we are still trying to save my hands in post-production). I had chosen a semi-transluscent gown and thus couldn’t wear many layers for warmth underneath, aside from padding my fur coat full of heat packs. Khai’s suit pockets were the refuge I needed in many moments, especially shooting on bridges across a semi-frozen river.

Khai: It was fate that our photographer Darren (of Darren and Jade Photography) was just as crazy as we were. During the trip, he would see a potential spot, and excitedly turn to us and ask, “Do you want to be HARDCORE?” and we would drop everything for a shot in the freezing winter chill. These impromptu shots became some of our absolute favourites —such as the ones from spending an hour at train stations, or two bike riders coincidentally going past us at the exact same time.

Elly: Thankfully, having to wake up extra early those three days was complemented with Darren’s portable coffee grinder for a first cuppa. I had actually met Darren and Jade briefly many years back, when we happened to have separate booths at the same wedding fair (there’s even a group photo we’re in together!) I’ve had a deep impression of their amazing work since then.

Fast forward to 2023 when we were at a wedding fair and I saw that Darren and Jade had a booth! I immediately brought Khai over, and we ended up having an hour-long conversation with Darren.

Darren’s unparalleled energy and passion for his craft, along with the most creative mind and professional eye, really brought the experience above and beyond what we dreamt of. We really bonded over the course of the shoot! Darren and Jade truly value the couple’s story and vision for the shoot, and we would highly recommend them to turn your dreams into reality. Darren and team will be shooting our wedding day itself as well!

We couldn’t have done the pre-wedding shoot without Darren, or our dear friend Indie who came along to help. Also shout out to kind passers-by who helped shift the gown in the wind, or wished us congratulations and encouragement.

When will the wedding be, and what are your plans for it?

Our Wizarding Wedding Extravaganza (or so we call it) will be held in June 2024!

We are doing a dress-up wedding, and endeavour to transport our guests into a different world as we celebrate our truly magical big day. There may or may not be butterbeer and wizarding treats.

We found the wedding to-do lists on SingaporeBrides very useful, as we did not start off with much experience. SingaporeBrides articles recommending different types of wedding venues were also a huge help.

The Photographer: Darren of Darren and Jade Photography
The Bride’s Outfits: Rico-A-Mona Bridal, Rental Kimono Okamoto
The Bride’s Shoes: Timberland Boots, leather boots from Italy
The Bride’s Earrings: Rico-A-Mona Bridal
The Groom’s Outfits: SuitYourself
The Groom’s Shoes: Timberland Boots, leather shoes from Italy
The Engagement Ring: Artemis Rings
The Shoot Locations: Kansai region, Japan
The Hairstylist and Makeup Artist: Bride did her own hair and makeup after taking a class with Julie Kim Makeup
The Hair Accessories: Rico-A-Mona Bridal, Rental Kimono Okamoto

Credits: Images by Darren and Jade Photography.

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Elly and Khai’s Snowy, Harry Potter-Inspired Pre-Wedding Shoot in Japan