Photographer Eric Chow @ Blink Studio
Styling Ibnu Aswan
Stylist’s assistant Joyce Lim
Make-up artist Shiyoo Joo
Hair artist Ckay Liow
Location Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur
This story was first published in Prestige Malaysia June 2019 issue
Just two weeks after their engagement ceremony, Ezran Daud Cheah and Ally Mukhriz are sitting next to each other, recounting the tale of their four-year romance. But as fate would have it, their relationship spans way back to their adolescent years, where an innocent friendship took place and blossomed into a beautiful romance.
“It was year 8 at Garden International School. She was sitting opposite me in art class. She was wearing braces, probably not as cute as now,” Ezran gazes intently at his fiancé while reminiscing their first memory of each other, before the duo break into a fit of laughter just seconds later. “I fell in love first, during year 8,” he confesses further, flashing a grin at Ally.
“We were quite close. In fact, we were best friends,” Ally affirms their friendship, reminiscing the days when Ezran would cycle to her house just for pisang goreng. “People started asking if we were dating. But no, we were 13 at the time and just friends,” Ezran chimes in. It wasn’t long before their platonic relationship led to a romantic gesture by Ezran, who decided to pursue Ally romantically and asked her to be his girlfriend. “I got a little freaked out by that so we broke up after three days,” laughs Ally who confesses that she was not ready to date anyone at that time.
Two years down the road, the duo found themselves drifting apart and one day they just weren’t friends anymore. “I started hating her,” Ezran remarks drily, while Ally nods in agreement. Needless to say, the hate was simply mutual. Even though they weren’t friends for five years, they were still in the same circle of friends. Ally was engrossed with her studies at boarding school and only returned to Malaysia during the summer months for her break. It wasn’t until one summer at the end of their second year of university that the couple finally reconnected at a group outing.
“My advice is don’t hold grudges and if you have problems just talk it out. “
“One night he came up and spoke to me. I was single at that time as I had given up on boys and didn’t really want to date anyone so Ezran was an unexpected surprise. When he started talking to me, I began to question why did I hate him so much in the first place?” Ally opens up prior to their dating journey. At that time, they were both still pursuing their studies in the UK, she at the Royal Holloway, University of London and he at the University of Surrey.
“I asked him out and we brought along a mutual best friend as buffer who was really good at bridging us together. Ezran sent me home that night and I was navigating, but we missed a turning and we had to take the long way home,” Ally laughs at the memory. They began dating and would visit each other’s student towns which were half an hour apart, making occasional trips to London to visit their other friends as well.
A chartered accounting student with an affinity for cars, Ezran never once imagined that he would marry the girl from art class in year 8. Describing themselves as “same, same but different”, he notes that their opposite traits attract but they also share similar qualities and interests. “She ticks all the right boxes – she’s smart and funny. More importantly, she makes me happy,” he announces warmly in a soft-spoken voice. “Our views of the world can be different but when we’re together, there are things that we like and develop so we can both enjoy them together. It’s a good balance,” Ally adds.
“Our first date was at a cafe but it wasn’t just the two of us. Ally was the one who asked me out. “
Though Ezran prefers to stay out of the limelight, Ally is somewhat accustomed to the attention cast on her family since she was a child as her grandfather is none other than Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. The social media professional at an advertising firm also opens up about a time when she and Ezran went through a one-year long distance relationship which further cemented her belief that Ezran was the one she wanted to spend her life with. At that point in time, they had already returned to Malaysia for one year after graduation and Ally was about to fly off again to pursue her Masters in Strategic Marketing at Imperial College London. “I had a conversation with Ezran and I said we’ve been together for two years now and if we survive this one year apart that will be testing to our relationship, then it’s end game. There’s no point doing long distance for a year if it’s not leading anywhere. We’re in it for the long haul,” she says affirmatively. “There was that fortune teller you went to see too,” Ezran quips as Ally recounts a visit to a fortune teller who ultimately predicted that she and Ezran were going to part ways just before she left for the UK to do her Masters. “I panicked and called Ezran but he was so determined to prove her wrong.”
As marriage was already on the cards, Ally confesses that the idea of girls getting married early in life is nice. “If you find the one and you’re very happy and content then what’s the point of waiting? I think I spent 90 percent of my time with Ezran anyway when we were in university and it’s our fourth year together this year so it has always been good. It’s also quite natural for me because my parents got married early and my mum had me when she was my age,” she points out.
“Our views of the world can be different but when we’re together, there are things that we like and both develop so we can enjoy them together. It’s a good balance. “
Though their parents had already consented to their upcoming union, Ally admits that she had hinted to Ezran that it would be nice for him to formally ask for her hand in marriage. “One thing you need to know about Ezran is he is 40 percent when it comes to commitment. Not in relationships but in everything else he does as he goes with the flow,” Ally laughs while revealing Ezran’s true character. “I had been talking to my best friends about what would make a nice proposal, but in my head, it was never going to happen because Ezran is the type who just doesn’t bother. But when it happened, it was the biggest surprise ever because I did not expect it at all.”
“My friend told me she was organising a dinner to celebrate her new job and I went to Ezran’s house to pick him up. When I got there, he told me he was not ready yet and asked me to come into the house. At this point, I was unhappy because we were already running late and I had to cancel the Grab car. There was music playing inside the house but I didn’t think much about it as I figured it was Ezran’s dad as he listens to music. The first thing that sparked warning bells was when my friend started taking my belt bag off when we were supposed to be leaving. I turned around and I looked at the stairs decorated with candles and that was when I knew. There were these little notes that Ezran had placed on the stairs with all the memories we’ve had together and qualities that he likes about me,” says Ally who went up to the rooftop garden where Ezran was standing next to two huge flower letters that spelled out A&E. “I was crying and ecstatic at the same time as it was beyond my imagination. He really went above and beyond to organise all that for me because he knew I would appreciate it. He’s not usually into romantic gestures and I’m like the biggest romantic, I mean The Notebook is practically inside my head,” laughs Ally while recalling the moment.
Ezran reveals that he planned the entire proposal with help from his mother and Ally’s two best friends. As Ally usually spends most of her time at his house, it would be quite easy to surprise her there. However, the plan almost did not take place as they had initially scheduled to set up the entire preparation the night before. Ally who was supposed to be at an event cancelled at the last minute and wanted to come over to hang out. “He told me no as his mum’s friends were at home but he eventually realised there was no way to stop me from coming over because sometimes I just show up,” she laughs. Thus they had to remove the entire set up and reorganise everything again on the day of the proposal.
“We could be doing really mundane tasks like washing the dishes and we’ll be dancing. “
With their wedding preparation in full steam ahead for early next year, Ally reveals that their akad nikah reception will be an intimate affair, confined to a limited number of guests at home. “We’ve learned over the years to be really honest with each other. I think compromise is a very good thing for all couples to have. Ezran compromised by doing this cover shoot with me and I appreciate him making the effort to keep our relationship strong,” she says, while Ezran adds, “My advice is don’t hold grudges and if you have problems just talk it out.”
When it comes to what kind of couple they see themselves as, Ally says, “We’re quite goofy. You should see us, we are huge goofballs. We could be doing really mundane tasks like washing the dishes and we’ll be dancing. It’s just to keep things light and fun. I can totally see us at the age of 60 and we will still be the same.