From the bridesmaid to the bride for Annie
It all began two years ago at another wedding for Annie Fung and James Luk, when she was a bridesmaid and he was one of the groom's friends.
James, 37, a business analyst for a legal firm, and Annie, 35, a property manager for a real estate investment trust, were married on March 6. More than 100 guests attended their wedding ceremony at The Box bar in Central, and the couple celebrated with a banquet for about 240 friends and relatives at the Four Seasons Hotel.
They first met at a dinner rehearsal for their friends' wedding in December 2009. Two days later, at the wedding, they met again. It was a hectic day, but James couldn't stop noticing Annie and how helpful she was. 'I got an idea about her personality, which quite appealed [to me],' Australian-born James said. 'She was very confident and firm. I quite liked that.'
Later in the day, they were paired up to pose for wedding photos. The photographer asked Annie to rest her arm on James' shoulder, and that's when they started talking. 'Her arm didn't leave my shoulder at all during the photo shoot,' James said.
As the day drew to an end, James finally found a chance to ask Annie for her number.
'I chatted her up at the after-party and pretty much didn't leave her alone for the rest of the night,' he said.
'I asked for her number. She grabbed the phone from my hand and put her number in my phone.'
James had planned to play hard to get and decided not to give Annie a call for three days, but less than 24 hours after he last saw her, he made his move.
'I cracked and called her to fix our first proper date - three days later on Christmas Eve,' he said.
The call was followed by a series of text messages, and they soon realised that they were both at the IFC. So they decided to meet up for a drink.
'So the call to fix a date three days later actually turned into a date right away,' James said.
But when James saw Annie off at the taxi stand and tried to kiss her, she turned her face away.
'I kissed her on the cheek and thought that our next date just might not happen,' James said, laughing.
'I thought it was too quick on a first date, and in fact it wasn't even our first proper date,' Annie said.
That date did happen, and that's when they kissed for the first time.
About four months later, Annie moved in with James, even though her parents didn't fully approve of it.
'Our relationship was really pretty close. We do a lot together,' James said. 'We had the same priorities in life and we were on the right track to get married.'
James asked Annie's parents for their permission to marry their daughter two weeks after Annie moved in. 'My father didn't speak any English, but James was able to show his sincerity with his very limited Cantonese,' Annie said.
A month later, in May last year, James planned a surprise marriage proposal for Annie when they were in Australia for the wedding of one of James' friends. They checked in to a romantic winery in Melbourne, but Annie had no idea what James was about to uncork.
After an intimate candlelit dinner, the couple walked back to their room. Annie found candles and rose petals all over their suite.
James got down on one knee and took out a Puss in Boots figurine (Annie's favourite cartoon character from the animated film Shrek) with a ring hanging on it.
'It was too good to be true. I didn't see it coming so soon,' Annie said. A tearful Annie slipped the ring onto her finger and said 'yes'.
'I don't easily fall in love, but my feelings for James are so strong, feelings that I can't explain,' Annie said.
'She has very strong characteristics. She knows what she wants and likes,' James said.
'She's a very firm person and I think that complements me.'