Japan Wedding Shoot with Decollte - Part 1 (BTS)

It has always been my dream to have my wedding pictures taken overseas. 

Reasons being,
1: It is so HOT in Singapore! 
Can you imagine being all dressed up in a heavy wedding gown & tuxedo suit under this weather? How romantic can it be when both you & your partner are perspiring so much that your hair sticks to your forehead. I did my engagement shoot at the Singapore Botanic Garden 1.5 years ago and oh my, it was so humid, SX perspired so much that he was really dehydrated and exhausted after the shoot. & the most dreadful feeling of all is to smile and look blissful in a tight embrace when in reality, both of us are feeling pretty irritable from being under the hot sun.

2: Limitations on shoot location.
If you are taking your wedding pictures in Singapore, there aren't many unique locations you can shoot at. & usually the suggestions from bridal shops are without a doubt, a highly popular spot for other newly weds. (Or even instagrammers) Off the top of my head, Marina Bay Sands, Botanic Garden, Mount Faber, Hort Park, Upper Seletar Reservoir, Sentosa, Raffles hotel etc. Unless you have a specific spot you wish to take your pictures at for memories sake, like the first place you guys met/kiss/studied at, then that is another story.

3. An enjoyable holiday too.
Getting my wedding pictures taken overseas was also a great excuse to have a long vacation with my fiance. We planned our trip perfectly where we would have our shoot during the first half of the trip so we can relax after and have an amazing holiday. 

Why Japan?

Japan is by far our favorite country to visit. SX and I would travel to Japan every year and if we could, we would definitely visit twice in a year. 

I witnessed the Sakura season last year and it was really lovely. You can read about my previous Japan trip here if you want: 

I just love everything about Japan. The culture, the food, the different seasons (I really want to visit during autumn!), the people, the hospitality and service. Oh, I also really appreciate how safe it is in Japan. I don't have to worry constantly about my items being picked or bag slashed open and walking around after dark isn't as worrying as compared to in other countries. & it is also really convenient to travel around the country via their train system.

In one word, Japan is just beautiful

Our wedding shoot in Japan with DE & Co. Decollte Wedding Photography.

With 15 studios in Japan, I was confident to engage Decollte for our wedding photography knowing that they will be reliable and able to provide professional service. So we started communicating through emails about 1 year ago. They have a translator, Yoyo, who is a Taiwanese and she is fluent in English, Chinese and Japanese.

We discussed about the location for the shoot, the mood & theme of the shoot and the type of hair/makeup I was looking to have. I went on their website, instagram and pinterest to get ideas and save whatever pictures that I liked and sent it to them so that the photographer would have a rough idea of what I wanted my pictures to look like.

My photographer was Toshiya Mizuma, & I did some research on him, (haha) wanted to make sure that his photography style was similar to what I had in mind and it was! You can also view some of his work here: Toshiya Mizuma Portfolio

He is one of Decollte's top photographers and I was in good hands, literally.

& a few weeks before our shoot, we even had a Skype session with Toshiya Mizuma (our photographer) and Yoyo (our translator). We skyped for around 20 minutes and confirmed the locations and what I had in mind.

I wanted
1: a traditional Kimono wedding shoot,
2: a western wedding gown & tuxedo shoot
3: a shoot of me in my SQ kebaya.

So we met up 1 day before the actual wedding shoot at the Osaka - Horie boutique for gown & kimono fitting as well as to run through everything once more to make sure that we are all on the same page. Do note that the fitting studio would vary for each couple depending on where their shoot location is at.

The team gave me suggestions on another shoot location because the weather on the actual shoot day was looking gloomy and my initial location wouldn't be ideal if it rains. 

So we decided to go to Gion area, in Kyoto for the Kimono style shoot instead.

Once all the planning and decision making was over, the fun begins.

Gown fitting time!!!

I was so happy that I did not have to bring my own gowns over to Japan, because they are really heavy! & I was told by Yoyo that they have an extensive range of wedding gowns for me to choose from so I didn't have to worry at all.

& she was right, there were never ending choices!
It took me around 1 whole hour to choose and try on the gowns till I found one that I liked.

I was then brought to a huge changing room where there was a couch for SX to rest while I changed. This is just 1 of their changing rooms by the way.

& I started to try on the gowns that I picked!

Dress #1
Simple and elegant, it got the most praises from the crew.

Dress #2
Didn't pick this dress in the end, as it isn't ideal for an outdoor shoot. It was too puffy and would be slightly difficult to walk around in. 

Dress #3
I was torn between this and dress #1!! I really like the mesh endings of this dress but was afraid that the beads detailing around the waist area was too much for the more chill vibe that I was going for.

Dress #4
I like the lace ends of this dress but again, it seems a little too fancy for the theme of the shoot.

SX had a go at his tuxedo too.
I think all girls go weak whenever they see their man in a suit.

These are 2 of the other changing rooms that I saw but I think there's more. I really love how each room has their own theme.

Then we headed down to level 2 (there's 3 levels at the Horie boutique by the way) to choose and try on the traditional Kimono.

More gown selection on level 2 and there's even accessories which you can use for the photoshoot as well.

All of the kimonos at Decollte are very delicate and precious, this is why they are all kept in drawers like the above picture. So I just flipped through the catalogue and let the crew know which ones I'm keen on trying.

The prints on this one is really majestic looking but I'm afraid it may be a little too red for my liking.

SX really liked this Kimono on me and I do too!

This is subtler but I think there's too much black.
I tried on 2 more but we already knew which Kimono was THE ONE so the Kimono choosing session was over really quickly.

& that was it for our fitting day, we only took 2 hours in total and we left to explore Osaka for the day.

I am definitely a naughty bride-to-be because I did not control my food intake at all during this entire trip in Japan. I couldn't resist everything I saw and I just crossed my fingers that I wouldn't gain too much weight by the time I have to shoot. 


Moving on to the Actual Day of the Shoot.

We had to reach the Decollte studio in Kyoto by 7am so we both got up at 5+am and thank god I didn't need to makeup at all so all I did was slap some skincare and sunblock on my face and I was ready to hit the road.

My hair & makeup artist was Akiko san from Decollte and our first look of the day was the Japanese Kimono style. I didn't have any hairstyle or look in mind so I just told Akiko san to do what she thinks would look best with the Kimono.

The traditional wedding kimono is the highest in hierarchy and it takes so long to put on!
But Akiko san was super fast with her hands and I think we took maybe 25 minutes from the first layer to the final thing.

This looks so grand already right? 
Wrong, it is actually still considered an inner piece. 

And now we're done.. moving on to adding flowers on my hair.

The crew bought fresh flowers to put in my hair!! 
Usually it would be artificial flowers but sometimes, some brides do request for fresh flowers and it can be done as well.

Each flower was trimmed and arranged with so much love & heart, I was so excited to see the final look.

I love how elegant and alluring this looks.

Here's us all ready to head out for our Japanese style shoot!

After 1 hour+ of shoot, we were done!! Haha and the first thing I did was to get my phone out & take more pictures.

(I will be sharing the actual final pictures in my next blogpost, so stay tuned)

& the 2nd look was the western wedding gown & tuxedo.

All Akiko san did was a change of hairstyle & lip color and I look completely different!
The loose waves/curls she did for me is so gorgeous.

*Flower crown from www.bellsandbirds.com*
(Yes, I brought it over to Japan all the way from Singapore because it is exactly what I had in mind)

All ready and to the streets of Kobe we went!

& here are some behind-the-scene shots.

Our photographer, Toshiya Mizuma, working his skills on the streets of Kobe.
It was drizzling at this point but the show must go on! So we braved the rain and it was all so worth it because the pictures were so beautiful!

It was such a good experience shooting with the entire team that I did not feel tired at all even though we were up since 5am. I was always so excited to view the picture on the Mizuma san's camera after he says "OK!" when he has gotten the shot he wanted.

We rode up and down the escalator 3x before we nailed the shot. Haha.

One of the last few shots and that was when the rain was stopping. Prior to that, it was pouring pretty heavily and my wedding gown was soaked right till my knees.

& it's a wrap!!
We got the final outdoor shot done and you can see how happy SX was. Haha! He was my umbrella man the entire time when the crew was busy. Hehe.

& we headed back to the studio for the last change of outfit..

To my SQ kebaya!

I asked Yoyo, if we were able to do a short indoor studio shoot with me in my SQ uniform as I wanted some pictures for memories sake and she said it was definitely doable! 

So after a quick change of hairstyle and outfit, we were on to our last shoot of the day!

Here's ending off with a group picture with the crew from Decollte Wedding Photography.

I'm so thankful for their hospitality and services the entire day. They made us feel so comfortable and at ease even though we had an obvious communication barrier, haha. 

Yoyo, our translator, was so adorable and always helpful and upbeat! The team was so professional and SX and I was their top priority the whole time. 

Our photographer, Toshiya Mizuma, captured the best images of us and we all had the same synergy for the shoot. There was no awkwardness or shyness at all, which was a huge relieve for me because SX usually stiffens up whenever he is in front of the camera.

I also absolutely love my hair & makeup done for each look, Akiko San, my makeup artist, is a gem to work with as she nails each style perfectly.

If you are keen on finding out more about the wedding packages provide by Decollte, you can visit their website - http://d-weddingphoto.com/ , or email them at overseas@decollte.co.jp !

I will be sharing in another blog post, the pictures taken from Toshiya Mizuma's camera, else this entry will be way too long! 



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