School chums tie the knot 20 years on
Ariel Young and Jason Wong first met at age six. Although fate would separate them for years along the way, it was the start of a love to last
Ariel Young and Jason Wong met as pupils at a private primary school, when they were both only six years old. Two decades later they would walk down the aisle together.
"He was the tallest kid in school - at least triple my size - who cared about nothing much other than food," Ariel recalls with a smile. "I was one of the tiniest kids, and yeah, a picky little princess spoiled by my father's hotelier friends."
Ariel, 26, and Jason, 27, were married on September 22 at the Diamond Ballroom of the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, with about 150 close friends and relatives attending.
Ariel is currently studying for her MBA and Jason runs a garment factory.
Back in their youth, Ariel and Jason would see each other every day but were not close friends. After leaving primary school, they lost contact. It was only seven years ago, at an alumni gathering, that they reconnected. While going over shared memories and talking about "where are they now", they discovered most of their former classmates had left the city to study for higher degrees overseas.
After that first reunion, they would bump into each other at random, in different corners of the city. It occurred so often they ended up dating. "It just happened naturally," she says.
Their affection survived its first real test when Ariel went to college in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. They found the distance, despite the odds, drew them closer.
"Our relationship grew so much stronger and we bonded so well during the long-distance period," Ariel says. "I realised how important Jason was to me."
When Jason's mother was diagnosed with cancer, Ariel quit school to return to Hong Kong and support him through the ordeal. Her decision moved him deeply.
In autumn of last year, they went on a two-week holiday in Hokkaido, Japan. While they were enjoying a private hot spring in their suite overlooking the ocean at Hakodate at dawn, Jason surprised her with a marriage proposal.
"The weather was chilly but the setting was very romantic," she recalls. "Just after sunrise, Jason asked me to marry him, presenting the ring, which he had hidden in a window frame."
She didn't hesitate with her answer. "Jason is the most kind-hearted person I've ever met. I'm so in love with his sincerity," she says.
"Her smile has warmed my heart since the first day we met and, it turns out, she's an amazing chef," Jason says.
A few of their former classmates were bridesmaids and groomsmen at the wedding.
"All our classmates were shocked when they first heard we were dating," Ariel says.
The couple spent their honeymoon at a ski resort in the Swiss Alps and revisited where Ariel went to college.