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Two Middle-Eastern Weddings

libyan-wedding01Traditional Libyan wedding outfit

A few months ago, I was approached to photograph two very interesting weddings. Both were Middle Eastern weddings and required an all-female photography and videography team here in Kuala Lumpur. Since I love a challenge (despite not speaking Arabic) and have always been fascinated with Middle Eastern culture (I’ve read lots of biographies especially of women living in this region), I decided it would be wonderful if I could photograph these weddings! Somehow, I gained favour in the eyes of the couples, and my team was engaged to cover their events.

The first couple was from Yemen. They were originally meant to be wed in their home country, but because of the civil war that is still ongoing, they had to move their wedding to Malaysia. Up to one week before the wedding, they weren’t sure if their family could come for the wedding as the Yemen airport was closed due to unrest. Thankfully, the couple had already left Yemen by then, and were sure that at least they would be there to attend their own wedding! This couple have known each other for a few months before getting married.

yemeni-wedding03The second couple was from Libya. I really had a tough time communicating in English for this wedding but thankfully, even though I couldn’t understand their verbal language, I understood universal body language! I found out that this couple have only known each other for 2 months and that the groom worked with the bride’s father.

One common theme during the two weddings were the separation of gender during the parties. I knew that it would happen, but I never understood how it would unfold on the wedding day. Interestingly, both cultures had different standings on how strict they were on allowing men to view them unveiled. I am not sure if it was specific to these families, or it was a cultural thing. The Yemeni family I photographed was particularly strict about this, so there were two grand entrances (one with the bride only to a roomful of unveiled women), and then the bride and groom to the same room of women who covered themselves again before the groom entered the room. There was a lot of cheering, clapping and singing as the couple made their entrance. Many of the women who were at the Yemeni party specifically told us not to photograph or film them, so it felt a little strange for me to mainly focus on the couple during the wedding. Naturally, I had to respect their wishes but it was not possible to completely ignore all guests! (one lady specifically made me delete her photo from my camera when she saw that I had photographed her). I found it challenging knowing who I could photograph and who I couldn’t.

However, at the Libyan wedding, the guests kept on asking for photos (repeatedly and in many different poses)! It was quite entertaining, really! Continue Reading

Nikah at Carcosa Seri Negara: Stephen & Dayana

20150123_WEDDING_STEVE_DAYANA_32He keeps tarantulas and poison dart frogs as pets. He enjoys camping, regardless of the weather and loves everything about nature. If Steve could choose, he’d probably say that he’d feel comfortable living in a jungle. She however, balks at outdoor activities. Though she did try once to climb Ben Nevis in Scotland but froze when she saw the steep cliffs. That was the start and end of her outdoor days. She has not left the sofa since.

Despite their differences in personality and culture, they have managed to make things work. And that is the beauty of Stephen and Dayana’s relationship.

20150123_WEDDING_STEVE_DAYANA_27Their History

Dayana: Steve and I have been together for six years. We met at the University of Manchester, when we both studied for our Ph.Ds. Steve was at the beginning of his final year, meanwhile I had just started my first year. It wasn’t love at first sight, but I could feel the attraction. I honestly thought he fancied someone else then. But the endless teasing from my colleagues made me wonder. It turned out everyone in our office knew that he liked me. And that’s where it all began — at the School of Chemistry!

We were together for about a year before Steve had to move over 200 miles away for a new job. We weren’t sure if a long distance relationship could work, but decided to give us a chance. We saw each other twice a month, but we made sure to speak on the phone every night. It wasn’t easy. That went on for nearly a year and half. Like any other relationships, we’ve had our ups and downs. We haven’t been together for a lifetime (yet), but it has been the most fulfilling and challenging relationship of our lives. Along the way, we’ve learned to compromise and to respect both of our cultures.

20150123_WEDDING_STEVE_DAYANA_0120150123_WEDDING_STEVE_DAYANA_02

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Destination Weddings on Travel Channel

I am stoked to share that the TV programs I have been working on for the past few months are finally completed and will be screened next week! With Red Communications Sdn Bhd as the production company, my team and I provided the research, scriptwriting & direction for 3 episodes of Destination Weddings, a program that will be aired in 130 countries worldwide via the Travel Channel. Initially, the program was meant to be aired in selected countries only, but everyone did such a great job that it is now a worldwide release!

Deborah Henry is the travel host, and together, we visited various South East Asian countries to experience 2 very different weddings in each country. Here’s the episode synopsis for the programs I directed, including the episode’s air time for Malaysia. You can view it every Thursday, starting 6th December 2012 at 7.30pm on Channel 145 if you have HyppTV. For other countries, check out the air time by clicking here.

View the launch promo video below!

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Adam & Dalilah’s Nikah & Reception at Mandarin Oriental

Photographers: Grace, Johan & Weiming
Make Up: Khir Khalid
Flowers & Decorations: Flora Etc
Cake: Delectable by Su
Videography: Manggis
Dinner Reception: Mandarin Oriental Hotel, KL

A few months ago, I photographed Adam and Dalilah’s engagement event, held at her beautiful home. Considering the engagement event was done really tastefully, I could not wait for the nikah and wedding reception to see what they had planned. I was not disappointed, for on that day, I was greeted by beautiful decorations that satisfied my taste buds and my shutter happy finger. Adam and Dalilah were surrounded by friends and family who were extremely warm and who obviously loved them very much.

I felt a little sad for them though that Adam’s mum was not able to attend the wedding as she fell ill during that period. Luckily for her, the videography team recorded every moment and she even witnessed the event online as it happened.

The dinner reception was held at the Mandarin Oriental for a large group of 800 people. There were royalty and VIPs present for the dinner that night. The ballroom was transformed into an elegant and grand space – the entire ballroom was covered with dark purple curtains. I love the colour theme and I think purple just looks great in every wedding! (That was why my wedding had a purple and white theme too!).

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