Looking back at our Cappadocia trip for our pre-wedding photoshoot/videoshoot.
We prepped for this shoot since early 2018 – researching on Cappadocia, hotel booking, flight booking (including our post shoot trip), photographer/videographer booking, gown hunting and fitting, suit customization and fitting, props, makeup artist/hairdo booking, right down to the minute details of the look and feel we want for the video and photos.
Someone asked me why I started planning so early but all these need time and preparation, and I wouldn’t want a rushed or sub-par outcome for the shoot. After all, it’s once in a lifetime right.
Initially, the reason why we picked Cappadocia was the awesome IG pics of hot air balloons against the dreamy landscape. I was expecting to take photos with the balloon setup and on a personal note, book a hot air balloon flight. However, everything turned out unexpectedly amazing in a different way. We did not get to sit the hot air balloon as the flights were cancelled everyday due to strong wind. However, on our second day of shoot, it snowed the night before and we had picturesque landscape covered with snow. I’m still in awe with it and I got to see snowing in action for the first time in my life! We were lucky to have 2 different landscapes for our shoot and our gowns/suits match each landsacpes well.
In addition, Cappadocia is just an hour flight away from Istanbul and it’s really cheap to book Turkish Airlines for the return ticket. It costs only SGD156.70 for 2 pax!
We expected it to be cold but not that cold. On the first day of shoot, it dropped to 3 degree Celsius and the strong wind made it worse. It was the coldest and I was shivering involuntarily. Our first scene took us some time to warm up (both metaphorically and literally) and the photographer actually urged us to drink wine. To get us in the mood and also to keep us warm.
Thankfully, Museum Hotel gave us a complimentary bottle of red wine and we drank it to get into the mood (emotions needed) and warmed ourselves up literally. It actually helped a lot and we got better after a while.
We started off at Museum Hotel first, before heading out to the valley region. The valley open space shooting was so challenging. The strong wind was relentless and I was almost blown away by the wind. In fact, everyone was struggling. The crew did ask me if I wanted to give it a pass and head somewhere else.
In my mind, I wanted to give up but I couldn’t. I have come so far to get here and nothing will stop me. Yes my stubbornness can be a good thing or bad thing at times. So we continued and I’m glad we did.
On a second day of shoot, it snowed and it wasn’t as cold as the day before. Conclusion: wind makes you feel colder than ever.
In addition, for brides-to-be who are looking at having their pre-wedding shoot in countries during winter, so remember to brace yourself for it. Guys, you have multiple layers on so it shouldn’t be a problem right? 🙂
We actually enjoyed the shoot despite the harsh weather. It was pretty smooth except that we didn’t have much luck of capturing the hot air balloon shots. Due to the wind, hot air balloon flights were all cancelled. In fact when we were there for 5 days, it only set off on the last day when we headed to the airport early in the morning… imagine our expressions when we saw the hot air balloons but we have missed it!
I think life is fair. You gain some, you lose some. We had snow landscape on second day of shoot. I think we were really lucky for Cappadocia to snow overnight. Really love the snow landscapes in the photos. Over the years, I’ve come to terms that I should just leave to fate on what will happen instead of trying to predict and expect what’s to come.
Museum Hotel is probably one of the best hotels in Cappadocia. It prides itself as an exclusive, luxury boutique cave hotels with some awards under its belt. If you search hashtag #Cappadocia in IG, you may see some wedding photos/videos taken at this hotel.
We booked 2 nights for their standard cave hotel which cost only 300euros. That’s really reasonable for a luxury boutique hotel. I’ll blog more about Museum Hotel on a separate post.
We researched on Instagram based on relevant hashtags and came across 2 good accounts who offer pre-wedding shoot services; they are based in Istanbul. After much deliberation, we went ahead with Istanbul-based vendor @senayayphotography as we like the style and look/feel of their past work. It’s really important to see portfolio before deciding. Price-wise, the range is about the same so if you are interested, I would highly recommend you to contact @senayayphotography for accurate quote on the services you want. They do shoots not just in Turkey, but also in other parts of Europe. For our case, we went for photoshoot and videoshoot (including drone shots). I would say the amount we paid is the similar to those who engaged a one-stop local (Singapore) for overseas photoshoot only, including 2 gowns and suits rental.
Another consideration criterion would be if you want to engage Istanbul vendors or settle for a local (Singapore) one. There’s pros and cons to it. We did not want to spend additional money to fly a photographer or a team over; we preferred Turkish locals to do the job as they would know Cappadocia best; where are the ideal location and spots. In addition, we need the vendor to communicate effectively with the Turkish locals (whether we can fly drone, be familiar and drive the roads there, backup plans due to weather conditions). In the end, we decided these would be the determining factors for us and we decided to engage an Istanbul-based vendor.
Of course, there are cons to it – such as email communications, trust issues, managing each other’s expectations. We have not met the photography team until 2 days before the shoot, we paid a certain amount of deposit beforehand, and tried our best to communicate our expectations in the best possible ways.
@senayayphotography and it’s crew has very high standards, be it photo or video taking. We did few re-takes and they were professional in knowing what they want. The shoot was short and straight to the point. That’s the crux of a shoot – quality over quantity.
Nonetheless, we felt that these are lesser important issues and we managed them well. In fact, we became good friends with the crew!
Makeup Artist / hairdo
I struggled for a while between doing my own makeup and hairdo with engaging an Istanbul-based artist. In the end, to lessen my stress level, I decided to engage an Istanbul-based bridal makeup artist, whom I found on Instagram! Instagram really does wonders if you think about it. I’m totally glad that I engaged @esracevikcan for her bridal makeup/hairdo services. Oh boy, she managed to make me look so pretty and I have never seen myself in this way before. Now I came back SG, trying out different eyeliner on me! LOL.
Did I mention that she’s very fast and she can do the makeup and hairdo within an hour or so! She’s really professional and skilful in this area.
A shoot usually go better with props such as a good bouquet of lovely flowers. I have gotten my bridal bouquet via @botanik_butik via Esra. She was so nice to help me purchase it and bring it along to Cappadocia for me; which lessened my load literally, in terms of luggage space. I selected this combination of pink/orange hues which was just nice for winter look.
In addition, the bouquet matches all my 3 gowns to create different look and feel.
For those who have read my previous blog entry, I have gotten 3 beautiful wedding gowns from @bettysloft at Far East Plaza, which I paid a total of SGD1400 for the 3 gowns, including alterations! That is quite a steal and I remembered a friend told me she couldn’t believe the gowns are so affordable yet look luxe and unique at the same time. For those who are looking for wallet-friendly wedding gowns, Betty’s Loft is the place to go. Betty is very warm and helpful, ensuring a stress-free experience while browsing her gowns. She’s not pushy and will do her best to find a gown according to your budget.
I did shop around online and other retail stores and I find myself going back to Betty’s Loft. I bought the 3 gowns on different occasions as every time I went there, there would be something awesome that caught my eye, or rather my heart. 🙂
Here’s some pics of the wedding gowns (front and back view)
This first gown is a light shade of peach/cream. It was initially a size M but I insisted to alter it to my size. The poor tailor took a relatively Long time for it. And the tailor was really skilful!
In my opinion, I want to select gowns that I really like, instead of settling for a limited range from a wedding package which I know I will end up being unhappy about; if I dislike the gown. If I’m gonna fly all the way there and spent on a shoot, the most basic would be that I’m donned in gowns that I love. I have heard and read nightmare stories on her the brides have to settle for gowns that they dislike, or they need to top-up to select from a premium range. Worse of all, some even had to rent their gowns elsewhere, which amounts to unnecessary costs.
Different strokes work for different people. I would recommend to sit down with yourself, ask yourself and partner honestly what both of you want out of the shoot, so that there won’t be any regrets after the shoot. No point doing a shoot that would be meaningless to both of you at the end of the day.
My fiancé customised one of his suits at Edit Suits which cost around SGD1K, which included white shirt, blazer and pants. The tailored suit is considered a steal as you can feel the difference in the material and he wanted to have something that he can wear again for formal events, not just for our wedding shoot.
The second brown suit was purchased from Zara. The colour suits my beige gown and definitely matches Cappadocia landscape too.
Our drone flying got stopped few times and the crew always checked to see if drone is permitted before they proceed to shoot at the location. Museum Hotel allowed us to fly for a few minutes and another valley touristy site actually needed permission. The crew checked with the locals there and thankfully we got the clearance.
So if your crew intend to fly any drone to take shots, they may want to check with local authorities on the spot before attempting.
Initially I wanted to wear this pair of knee high lace boots with my gowns but all the piles of snow and walking in valley seems daunting. I wore my platform shoes instead and it got really dirty.
I took some awesome photos with the lace boots before and after the shoot! So I’m still a happy girl as it has served its purposes for the trip.
I actually bought this bridal veil cape for the shoot but we didn’t use it. But I managed to capture some amazing shots with it on my own – hooray to fiancé and my trusty tripod! Yes most of shots are on self-timer mode on tripod 🙂
I got my accessories from Taobao, Lovisa, Pandora. Whatever things you can’t find, Taobao will always have it. The weirdest thing is that I’ll just buy whatever I see deem fit and bring them along. And they came in handy somehow.
To keep me warm, I pasted many heat pads underneath the white fur shawl. Daiso to the rescue! The crew thought that it was a shawl heater that runs on battery and they were amazed when we explained about the heat pads! Daiso, you have a new market in a Turkey. I felt like I was wearing an armour whenever I was wrapping the fur shawl around me. Haha.
Overall, we were happy with the entire experience; having to do the shoot while admiring the beautiful landscape. We probably kissed the most times during the shoot than we ever had.
We would like to thank the crew for their dedication and professionalism during the 2-day shoot! In the meantime, I can’t wait for the video to be out. 🙂