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Romance and Wanderlust

Engagement Photo Shoots Around The World

“Everyone has heard of a destination wedding, but hardly do they consider having a destination engagement photo shoot,” says Winny Prakasa. Winny and Andrew Suhalim are part of a new wave of couples who are opting to take their engagement session on the road for a more memorable, wanderlust-filled experience. “Andrew and I knew that the wedding would be a beautiful day,” she continues, “but it was going to be a lot of pressure, as well as keeping our families and their guests happy. So, we decided to make sure that there was going to be a piece of the wedding that was only about us and for us.”

Joined by wedding photographer Cristiano Ostinelli, the bride and groom traveled to Vienna, Austria. Neither Winny nor Andrew had explored Vienna before, and their engagement session doubled as an opportunity to discover the ins and outs of a new city. “To me, it’s a perfect situation,” Cristiano remarks. “The couple can be more relaxed, and free to enjoy their time together.”

“Just the idea of going somewhere across the world to experience new adventures together is very romantic,” adds photographer Justin Lee. “There is something very unique about seeing the world with your partner. Documenting those moments just makes sense.”

Before their wedding, Mai and Mark Dalle Cort flew Justin to Bali for an intimate engagement session while circling back to the place where they first met. Mark, a retired professional rugby player, was visiting a friend and crossed paths with Mai, who happened to be in Bali to start her fashion label Aila Blue. “We knew we had to return to Bali to complete our love story,” Mai shares. “Our engagement shoot felt like time slowed down just for us.”

For Geena Sandhu and Sunny Singh, it was their photographer, Mili Ghosh, who helped with the inspiration behind their engagement shoot at the Bonneville Salt Flats and Monument Valley. “My husband, Sid, and I are travel photographers as well,” Mili explains. “Over the summer, we had done a two-week road trip from LA all the way to Montana. We were excited that Geena and Sunny were enthusiastic about the idea of going on a mini road trip with us.” That road trip culminated in a collection of photographs depicting the concept of “a gypsy soul with a warrior spirit”—images that are far from traditional, mainstream engagement photos.

“Although the pictures look calm and composed from the outside, the action behind the scenes was the most thrilling,” describes Geena. “Getting to these locations, shooting in the desert and on the Salt Flats with the horses, was all very exciting! We blindly shot for three days, rarely looking at the images, and knew that at the end of the day it was going to be great.”

One of the greatest benefits of having a destination engagement shoot is that it allows a couple to immerse themselves in another culture and create memories that will last a lifetime. Photographer Zabrina Deng experienced similar situations and encounters from behind the camera while undertaking an epic journey with couple Kam Ying Lam and Josh Tik Ming Tseng. Their engagement shoot led them to Seville, Spain, followed by Morocco and the Sahara Desert. “The desert has a totally different feel during the day than at night,” says Zabrina. “Photographing Josh and Kam along with a Berber nomad boy, who was so gentle and caring for the camels, was really astonishing to witness.”

Reflecting back on their time together, Kam shares a particular moment in Spain that poignantly illustrates what a couple can take away from these destination engagement shoots. “In Seville, we were traveling in a horse carriage, which took us from the hotel to various shooting locations,” she recalls. “Along the way, we passed by a lot of people commuting to work and just getting on with their day. When they saw us dressed up in a fancy carriage, they all gave us applause and genuine blessings. At that point, I had a powerful moment of realization—that love has no language or cultural barrier.”

> Written by Lauren Malamala