If ever there was an engagement session to completely steal your heart in every.which.way, this, my friends, is IT.  A hot air balloon extravaganza with a crazy cool vintage vibe, it’s a sweeter than sweet duo meets bundles of fun meets too many darling DIY details to count.  Yep – saving the date has never been more chic and the proof is in the uber-fabulous images captured by Finessence Photography.  Love is most definitely in the air for these two sweethearts and I CAN’T WAIT to soak in all of the pretty.  Join me in the gallery for more.

Click here for the FULL engagement session!

From the Bride-to-Be… When the time came for Sam and I to think about taking engagement photos in preparation for our big day, I knew instantly which photographers to talk to. I’ve known Karen Woo of Finessence Photography since I was 11 years old. She’s always had this wacky creative charm to her, which I love! She teams up with her hubby Alan, and they always capture magical shots for their clients. Their simple, natural photography style is exactly what we’d been looking for, so there was no doubt that we wanted Finessence Photography for the job! However, Sam and I are currently based in Hong Kong, while Finessence Photography is in Melbourne, which made things a bit tricky. Fortunately, we are both primary school teachers so we had ample time off during Easter break. After a few email exchanges with Alan and Karen, we booked our tickets for Down Under and so began our epic photo shoot adventure.

We came up with the theme “Love is in the Air” after a weekend trip in Macau. Sam revealed to me that he had originally considered taking me to Macau by helicopter (instead of the ferry) but decided against it because it would cost something stupid like HK$3000 for a 15 minute ride. Straight away I shouted, “That’s crazy, I’d rather fly in a hot air balloon!” So that’s pretty much how our hot air balloon idea came about. We were also inspired to create a vintage picnic scene for our shoot. (Sam proposed while we were having a picnic.) We envisioned ourselves amongst the vineyards of Yarra Valley, lying on a massive picnic rug under a big tree with a teapot and teacups, colourful macarons, old books, a radio, fresh flowers, paper lanterns and handmade bunting hanging on the tree. We are big fans of all things vintage!

To our surprise and relief, our photographers Alan and Karen didn’t think we were out of our minds. They actually loved our ideas and were up for the challenge! There was a lot of preparation work involved, from designing and styling our own set, sourcing props and outfits, researching and booking our hot air balloon ride and accommodation to making DIY crafts to personalize the shoot. Thankfully, my best friends Pinh and George (also our bridesmaid and groomsman) agreed to join our shoot. Karen also invited vendors such as Miss Aimmey Hair & Make Up and Flowers of Canterbury to add their creative touches. The shoot really would not have been possible without this dedicated and talented team. We are overwhelmed with gratitude and still can’t believe all our crazy ideas actually became reality!

Although wedding planning can be frustrating and stressful at times, as a bride-to-be, I remind myself everyday to just enjoy the process. Sam and I see our engagement as the perfect opportunity to creatively challenge ourselves and to share our joy and excitement with the people we love. The planning becomes easier when you involve your family and friends into the process, and great vendors can help you out in a massive way too. Looking at our engagement photos now, we can only say that it was worth all the money, effort and time spent. The images are like a preview of our big day ahead, full of smiles and love — something all our family and friends can look forward to!

Wedding Photography: Finessence Photography / Floral Design: Flowers of Canterbury / Hot Air Balloon: Global Ballooning / Personalized Coke Bottles: A Gift from A Bridesmaid via Share a Coke / Vintage Cake Forks: Lisa Leonard Designs / Will You Be My Bridesmaid Card, Bunting + Save the Date Signs: DIY / Bride’s Shoes: Angeline Lee / Hair + Makeup: Miss Aimmey Hair & Make Up / Most of Groom’s Attire: Initial /  Paper Bow Ties + Hair Accessories: Amelie Street