Commando on a Mission

Japheth Chong, 25, executive life planner, and Barbra Chen, 25, early childhood teacher

Text: Cherie Wong / Photo: Shaun Yap / Flagship Creatives

Japheth recalls, “I first laid eyes on her when she was on stage during a performance in our church. After that I continued to look for her like a commando on a mission!” Looks like this commando has succeeded in his quest, because he went on to date Barbra for about five years, before they finally decided to tie the knot this June.

Behind the Scenes

For their pre-wedding photographs, they chose Henderson Waves, HortPark, Upper Seletar Reservoir, Raffles Marina and Labrador Park because they liked how these locations were ‘eccentrically pleasing to the eye’. They also had their photographs taken at the Singapore Management University because it was where Japheth recently graduated from. To cover the variety of locations in one day was not enough, so they decided to split the process into two sessions. “Keep (each day) short, sweet and sharp! Do not plan for too many locations unless you can keep up that smile. It’s extremely exhausting for everyone if the couple gets too ambitious,” says Japheth.

On the part of the photoshoot they enjoyed most, the pair of lovebirds could not decide. “We enjoyed every bit of it! Especially when Shaun allowed us to suggest shots we would like. The shot with the groom in mid air kissing the bride was extremely tough with more than twenty retakes. But that picture became one of the highlights on our actual wedding day.”

The couple has no regrets choosing their locations and would do it all over again even if given a second chance. The only pity was in not taking more pictures of Barbra in her white gown. Japheth advices against taking these photographs first as “the first few takes are usually the most unnatural ones”. It takes some time for couples to warm up to the lens and flash their most natural and beautiful smiles – so leave your best outfits and favorite locations to the better part of the day.

Another piece of advice: check out the places beforehand because this is the responsibility of both the photographer and the couple. “The couple needs to know how they can complement the photographer’s creativity and blend with it,” says Japheth.

For the brides, Barbra has some words of wisdom to offer, “Take care of your health before the shoot and try not to have too many last minute agendas the night before. Enjoy the day and be silly, and not worry about how the pictures turn out!”

The Love Story

Finally, we ask about the most romantic thing they have done for each other during their years of courtship. For Japheth, he remembers the little things most fondly, like the times Barbra took care of him when he was sick, and brought him home-cooked meals and his favorite drinks. For Barbra, it was Japheth’s proposal that totally melted her heart. “It was my dream proposal and a childhood fairytale wish coming true.”

Japheth proposed on the eve of Christmas 2008. Using a gift and dinner date as a decoy, he made everything seem like a normal Christmas celebration, until they arrived at her uncle’s house. There he popped the all-important question just as Barbra’s cousin pulled poppers right before the clock struck midnight, and the rest, as they say, is history.

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