Star Wars fan Muhammad Suffian Suhaimi and his wife Nur Aishah Jamal had their dais customised for $3,500. PHOTO: D’SHOOTZ PHOTOGRAPHY
Marriage didn’t work out so well for Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala.
In Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge Of The Sith, he Force-choked his pregnant wife in a fit of rage and she died soon afterwards.
Still, that hasn’t stopped local couples from borrowing elements from a galaxy far, far away when tying the knot. Star Wars weddings are more popular than ever now, with the highly-anticipated release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens on December 17, 2015.
We profile three couples who have used Star Wars references and themes at their weddings. And no, none of them have choked their spouses to death.
PHOTO: D’SHOOTZ PHOTOGRAPHY
Under the watchful eyes of the Dark Lord
When diehard Star Wars fan Muhammad Suffian Suhaimi married his girlfriend of five years Nur Aishah Jamal on Nov 14, no one expected Darth Vader to be present at their solemnisation.
The couple’s traditional Malay wedding dais featured standees of the Star Wars villain, flanked by two armed Stormtroopers. Illuminated by LED lights, the characters looked like ghostly holograms.
“We didn’t tell my parents we were building a Star Wars-themed dais until the day it was set up,” Mr Suffian, a 30-year-old store manager, told The New Paper over the phone.
“When my mother saw it, she asked, ‘Why is Darth Vader here?'”
Still, the unusual set-up was immensely popular with their friends and family, and everyone wanted to take photos with it.
“I let him do whatever he wanted for his decorations, since it is his wedding, too,” said Madam Aishah, a 26-year-old primary school teacher.
“Star Wars kind of grew on me and now I think it’s quite cool.”
The dais, customised by Iss Wedding Designs, cost about $3,500.
Rather than find the presence of the Sith baddie ominous, the couple thought it was actually comforting. “Both of us lost our grandfathers when we were younger,” said Mr Suffian, who added jokingly: “Having Darth Vader there, we actually felt like our grandpas were watching over us during our wedding.”
Added Madam Aishah: “Besides, Darth Vader isn’t really the bad guy. I think he has a good side, too.”
PHOTO: D’SHOOTZ PHOTOGRAPHY
One of Mr Suffian’s groomsmen also arranged to have the traditional Malay wedding band surprise the couple with The Imperial March (Darth Vader’s Theme) as they walked down the aisle. After their afternoon solemnisation ceremony, the couple headed to Changi Airport to take wedding day shots with the X-wing and TIE fighter replica displays.
The couple and their wedding party even had their lightsabers for the shoot, which cost around $2,500 including photography and videography.
Mr Suffian said: “I’m a nerd and geek at heart, and since I’m getting married once, I wanted something that personifies me. “I think our Star Wars wedding turned out better than we expected. And God willing, when we have kids, we will name our son Anakin Mikail and our daughter Leia Mikayla.”
PHOTO: NOEL YEO, NUDGE PHOTOGRAPHY
When Vader and his Jedi groomsmen gatecrash
Because his bride-to-be had not watched a single Star Wars film, it took fanboy Glenn Koh some time to convince his fiancee Shermaine Wong to agree to a Star Wars-inspired shoot which took place a fortnight before their Dec 28 wedding in 2014.
Photos include one of the couple wielding lightsabers as the Imperial Star Destroyer hovers over them and the bride playfully holding the groom in a Force-choke.
Madam Wong, 30, who works in communications, said: “My parents found it quite funny and cute, so did our older relatives. They had a good laugh and the pictures were certainly memorable.”
For their wedding day, Mr Koh, who’s 33 and works in marketing, arrived at his bride’s house for the gatecrashing ceremony wearing a Darth Vader mask, while his groomsmen were decked out in Jedi robes.
“It was all in the name of good fun and it gave me an excuse to use my lightsabers,” he joked.
Their wedding photography package by Nudge Photography cost $5,600, while the three-day rental of Star Wars robes cost $50 per piece.
The couple, who are currently based overseas, will catch Star Wars: The Force Awakens – the first Star Wars movie they get to watch together – on December 17, 2015, while on holiday in Hong Kong.
PHOTO: THE ART OF MEZAME
Bride gets starry-eyed over photoshoot
According to the Jedi Code in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, a Jedi shall not know anger. Nor hatred. Nor love.
But Mr Adrian Ng and his wife Adeline Wong used lightsabers to tell their fictional love story of two star-crossed Jedi Knights in their pre-wedding photoshoot with photography company The Art of Mezame. And the idea actually came from the bride, who is the bigger fan.
“Most people think of Star Wars as a guy thing but there has been an increase in the number of female fans over the years,” said the 29-year-old magazine editor who enjoys reading the Star Wars novels.
“Still, I am the lone Star Wars fan among my girlfriends.”
For their pre-wedding photoshoot in April 2015, the couple rented lightsabers from Kit Sabers, bought costumes from AliExpress and shot on location in Changi. The shoot, including the sponsorship and rental of lightsabers, props and equipment, as well as a printed photo book detailing the couple’s Jedi love story, cost between $5,000 and $6,000.
To their surprise, their shoot was covered by the South China Morning Post and photography sites like PetaPixel.com.
“When the pictures went viral, everyone was really excited and couldn’t wait to attend the wedding on Aug 8, 2015 and to see all the photos,” said Mr Ng, a 35-year-old sales manager.
PHOTO: THE ART OF MEZAME
Vendors to check out for your Star Wars-themed photos
Photography: The likes of Mezame Shashin-ka, 32-year-old cinematic photography director at photography business The Art of Mezame, can help you channel your inner Star Wars fan.
A Star Wars enthusiast himself, Mezame, who wants to be known only by his professional name, prides himself on the cinematic photography style he uses for pre-wedding shoots, portrait, street and toy photography.
“I fell in love with cinematic shots by film directors Wong Kar Wai, George Lucas, Quentin Tarantino and JJ Abrams,” he told The New Paper in an e-mail interview. “I thought, ‘Why not adopt this style in photography?’ “I find the cinematic feel adds depth to a photo and gives the audience a deeper experience.” Mezame’s pre-wedding photography projects are also inspired by TV shows like The Walking Dead and video games like Diablo.
“There has been an increase in queries about what we do, though most are not related to Star Wars. People have given feedback that they love the cinematic feel of our images.”
He declined to disclose how much he charges for shoots, explaining that different projects have different price ranges, depending on their level of complexity. Mezame brainstorms ideas with the couples and he helps to source for props.
Costumes: If you’d like Darth Vader and some Stormtroopers at your nuptials, local Star Wars costume company 501st Legion Singapore Garrison makes appearances at weddings.
The volunteer-based group has appeared at Changi Airport and VivoCity for their recent Star Wars events. “Wedding requests have shot up recently, from once in a few months to several in the past month,” said 501st Legion Commanding Officer, who prefers to remain anonymous, in an e-mail.
“We generally give weddings and corporate events lower priority than charity requests, as well as those who are well-organised and have clear expectations of what we can do.”
Instead of payment, the 501st Legion requests for a charity donation and transport allowance for each appearance. The donation amount is not fixed and benefactors include the Children’s Cancer Foundation. Donations and transport allowances are waived for charity appearances.
And if you want your kids to enjoy a visit from some Star Wars characters, the 501st Legion may be able to help as well. The Commanding Officer said: “We recently reinstated trooping for birthdays, but under stricter conditions due to the higher risk of costume damage from children armed with polycarbonate bludgeons and barbecue sauce.”
This article was first published in The New Paper on December 16, 2015.