First cliff walks at sunset, then hearts finally met
Few A-listers have the guts to break the news of their marriage quite like Karen Mok Man-wai.
The singer-actress announced that she was marrying her first love, Johannes Natterer, while accepting the award for best Mandarin female performer at Taiwan's Golden Melody Awards in June. The star said on stage that there was no better way to celebrate her win than by getting married this year. Karen and Johannes, a German-born finance executive, were married on October 1 in a winery owned by the Salvatore Ferragamo family in the outskirts of Florence, Italy.
Karen's vintage-inspired wedding dress was custom-made by her fashion designer friend Johanna Ho. Her crystal-studded wedding shoes were designed and made by Salvatore Ferragamo's veteran artisans. Instead of a gift list, the couple encouraged guests to donate to the school in Florence where they first met, when they were only 17.
'I got to choose between Italy and London for the programme back then. I'm glad I made the right choice, or else I could have missed Johannes,' said Karen, laughing.
The two bookworms forged a fast bond at school.
'We both love reading,' she said. 'So we often hung out in the library to read and grabbed a bite after school. Before we actually started dating, all our friends thought we were already a couple.'
Puppy love gradually blossomed.
'Our dormitory was built near a cliff,' Karen said. 'Every day after school, he'd walk me back and we watched sunset near the cliff. It's very romantic.'
However, the pair lost contact after graduation. They didn't reconnect until an alumni get-together several years later, after Karen went into show business.
'All my old classmates looked so different, but not Johannes,' said Karen. 'He was still a great-looking guy - exactly like how I remembered.'
They kept in touch but didn't fall into a relationship because both were tied up in work. It wasn't until a few more years that they met again and gave love another shot.
'When we met again, we both felt right for each other and it was the right timing to think long term,' she said. Johannes proposed earlier this year and Karen didn't quite see it coming.
'We were both in London and went out for dinner like we usually do. It wasn't a fancy restaurant or anything. The only unusual thing I noticed was that he seemed nervous and was spacing out a little. Then he reached for a box in his pocket and gave it to me.'
As soon as Johannes finished the sentence asking if Karen would marry him, she said yes.
'He didn't even get down on one knee because I said yes right away,' Karen recalled. 'But I'm really moved he finally made the gesture at our pre-wedding party.'
Karen's a firm believer in destiny.
'What are the odds in this massive universe that you meet someone, then part ways and you come around again? Of course, there are so many things I love about him. We are meant to be.'