Hubert Burda Media

Anniversary Special: Mark & Tiara Shaw (1of3)

In this three-part wedding series, Mark and Tiara Shaw share on their Sapphire anniversary.


Married:  October 1, 2010

Sapphire Anniversary (Five Years)


Not long after meeting Mark Shaw in 2006, Jakarta-based Tiara Shaw was faced with the choice of either relocating to Sydney or Singapore for work. But a comment Mark made tipped the scales in favour of the Lion City. “He said: ‘You don’t want to be that girl, five years down the road, walking along Coogee Beach thinking: What if I gave that nice guy a chance in Singapore? What could’ve happened?” she regales.

Needless to say, Tiara chose Singapore, thinking she would stay on for a year. But one year soon turned to four and before long, she found herself walking down the aisle with Mark. Apart from receptions in Singapore and Bali, the pair also held a Catholic wedding ceremony at The Church of St Ignatius in Bukit Timah.

While both had attended the parish from young, neither remember ever having crossed paths before. It was only when Mark was going through old photos of Tiara’s to put up during their wedding, that he came across a picture of their mothers in church. “My mother was standing at my first communion and his mother was just two rows in front,” Tiara says, describing the image. “We were both in the same room all those years ago, but we never met. Strange, isn’t it?”

How did you both eventually meet?

Tiara: I used to work for Columbia Pictures so I knew of Mark, but didn’t know him personally. The first time I met him was after I left the film industry, at a mutual friend’s house party. I was queueing up for the toilet and the girl in front of me was wearing a white dress with red splotchy stains on it. I asked what happened and she said someone spilled red wine on her. That girl became my best friend. And the guy who spilled wine all over her was Mark.

Mark: I have a different version. We met when she was still in the film industry at a work lunch. I think we were seated next to each other and I tried to make conversation. But she doesn’t recall any of this.

What was your first date like?

Mark: She didn’t think it was a date.

Tiara: We had dinner and started talking — about movies and all those insider jokes — and then he starts asking me personal stuff, like if I had a boyfriend. And then it occurred to me: Hang on, is this a date? And the funny thing is, before I realised it was, I commented that guys are so uncreative when it comes to asking girls out once they start working. They just ask you out for dinner or drinks. Back in secondary school, when everyone was broke, guys gave you notes and poetry, and waited for you at the bus stop for hours! After I said that, Mark said he had to take a phone call outside.

Mark: I immediately made a booking at Magic Bar, which was opposite the yakitori place we were at. I got worried because I only made plans for dinner.

In a poetic gesture, Mark proposed at Magic Bar four years later. How exactly did he do it?

Mark: On our first date, one of the magic tricks we participated in was where you picked a card and wrote a date on it, then stuck it back in the deck. Later when you pulled a lemon out of the fridge and cut it open, the card you picked would be in there, with your writing on it.

Tiara: So for the proposal, Mark wrote something on a card and placed it face down in a plastic box. When the magician shook it, the writing basically came through the card and the words “Will you marry me?” appeared. The next trick was where I answered and it was the same trick we participated in on our first date, so Mark cut open the lemon and he found my “Yes” inside.

Now that you’ve been married for half a decade, what do you think is each other’s best qualities?

Tiara: Mark’s very kind and patient when it counts. He’s a lot more easy-going than I am and he centres me. I think that’s definitely one of the things that really draws me to him.

Mark: She’s very easy to talk to and makes me laugh a lot.

Would you say your relationship has changed in any way over the years?

Mark: Yes, because obviously there is more focus on our daughter Victoria right now. But I think it’s important to still focus on each other as a couple.

Tiara: I think we do. And I love how Victoria really brings us together. We do a lot of different things together as a family now, like going to the zoo. It’s great. It’s like you’re reliving all those simple joyous moments you had as a child, but now with your own child.

What is the best piece of advice you would give a couple looking to get married?

Tiara: Never go into marriage thinking you can change your partner. If you can accept the worst of him before marriage, then you are off to a good start. Also, you have to continuously work on the marriage. You can’t just expect everything to fall into place.

Mark: Yeah, I think it is important to take the time to work on the relationship. Because if you don’t, then things get boring real fast. And it’s not a one-way street, you both have to do it together.

Watch the behind-the-scenes video here.

Read the interviews of the other couples here.

Quah Soon Hong & Cheryl Lee

Kevin & Iroshini Chua