Romance stands test of time
It would be an understatement to call Noel Lai and Benjamin Chow's 12-year relationship a romantic marathon. During their celebration of being together for 4,000 days, Benjamin proposed to Noel - the start of a new chapter in their lives.
Benjamin, a trader who works for his family's manufacturing company, and Noel, a former fashion buyer who recently joined him in the business, got married on December 31. They gathered together 250 friends and relatives to celebrate at the Harbour Plaza Metropolis hotel in Hung Hom.
The banquet went on after midnight and the party-goers enjoyed a prime view of the harbour for the New Year's Day fireworks.
'We were so lucky to be able to count down with the people we love and who love us on our big day,' Noel said.
The classmates clicked in 2000, when they were 16 years old. Although they went on to study at different universities, the high school sweethearts only grew closer.
'I like how I can always count on him,' Noel said. 'He's very loyal and doesn't like any drama in his life.'
Given that he was patient and ambitious, too, Noel thought Benjamin would make the perfect lifelong partner.
'He embraces me as who I truly am and tolerates my flaws. All these years we grew up with each other, we became so close like a family. I can't imagine life without him,' she said.
At the end of 2010, Benjamin took Noel for a candlelit dinner in a hotel restaurant to celebrate their 4,000-day anniversary.
To Noel's surprise, Benjamin had booked a room.
'I sort of had a feeling that he was planning something, but nothing happened during the dinner,' Noel recalled.
When they went to their suite afterwards, Benjamin got down on one knee and asked Noel to marry him.
'It's hard to find someone who's really compatible with you. We both understand each other with just one look,' Noel said.
'I knew he was the right guy for me as soon as I graduated from college. I feel so comfortable being with him and every step of our life and relationship just pans out so naturally.'
After 12 years together, Noel said it was mutual respect that kept them glued together.
'Even though we fight sometimes, it's never longer than a day before we start talking again,' Noel said. 'It's all about the balance between having our own space and spending time with each other. I'm so grateful that I married my best friend.'
The couple went to the Maldives for a week-long honeymoon.