Twist of fate throws couple together not once, but twice
Nathaniel Chan and Rachel Tang went to see a fortune-teller on their first date. Although the soothsayer didn't exactly see rosy prospects for the couple, they didn't need anyone else to paint a picture of their future together.
Private banker Nathaniel, 31, and business analyst Rachel, 30, were married on March 23 at the Country Club. They then hosted a banquet at the Grand Hyatt hotel to celebrate with 500 friends and relatives.
When the couple were introduced by mutual friends at a nightclub in the summer of 2004, it was as though they were from different planets.
'Nathan looked like a party animal. He knew many people in the club, and he was all over the place, socialising, dancing, drinking,' Rachel recalled.
Rachel struck Nathaniel as a bit of an ice maiden. There was an unexpected twist, however. That night, although the couple didn't hit it off, their best friends hooked up.
A few days later, their friends insisted they went on a double date, which turned out to be the first of several in the following two months. By this time, they had gotten to know each other better and began dating seriously.
A year later, however, the couple broke up because Nathaniel was too preoccupied with work. But they got back together again two years to the day they began dating.
'Since then Nathan has been very committed to our relationship, and whenever there was conflict, instead of trying to avoid it, he has listened and tried to understand me,' she said. 'We've had our fights, but with his positive attitude, it's all constructive, and that has helped us to learn more about each other.'
It was that quality in Nathaniel that convinced Rachel that her future was with him.
'I realised she was the right one because I couldn't envision my life going forward without her,' Nathaniel said. 'We can always share the most intimate feelings, and I trust her with my whole heart.'
In March last year, Nathaniel planned to propose to Rachel on a weekend getaway in Bali.
'I was quite reluctant to go because we had been there before, and I was very busy with work,' Rachel said. 'He insisted, so the thought that he might propose crossed my mind.'
But when she found out that another couple of friends would be tagging along, she thought no more of it.
On their first day on the Indonesian resort island, they went for a drink at Ayana Resort's Rock Bar, which is nestled on a huge oceanfront boulder and has a breathtaking view of the sunset. They then went for a stroll down the private beach. That's when Rachel discovered Nathaniel had planned a romantic candlelit dinner with a live band.
'It was the most romantic dinner we've ever had,' Rachel recalled. Throughout the dinner, she was hoping Nathaniel would propose.
'I was waiting and waiting, because I didn't want to kill the mood, and Nathan just kept taking photos, which is unusual for him. I waited for two hours and just when I thought I'd guessed wrong, he took out the ring and proposed.
'Nathan listens to me with his heart and has kept what I've said in mind, because over these seven years he has changed, little by little. That's why we have fewer and fewer conflicts,' she said.
'Rachel's very straightforward and always speaks her mind, but she's also a good listener,' Nathaniel said.
Friends and relatives flew in from around the world to celebrate their wedding at the shark-fin-free banquet. Their first dance as a married couple was to a hip hop song, rather than ballroom, because Nathaniel loved a routine from the talent show So You Think You Can Dance. Guests captured memories of the party in a photo booth the couple rented from HK Photobox.
For their honeymoon, they visited two cities neither had been to before - Paris and Barcelona. Their romantic break included a trip to Camp Nou to watch Nathaniel's favourite football team.