The night Henry Leung fell for Rita Ng on the college party bus
It was an attraction at first sight that finally saw the pair tie the knot with a lavish wedding
Henry Leung, grandson of the Cantonese opera performer and TVB actor Leung Sing-bor, tied the knot with his long-time girlfriend Rita Ng earlier this month in the ballroom of the Kowloon Shangri-La hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui.
The ceremony was an East-meets-West affair.
Excerpts from traditional Cantonese operas were played as guests arrived at the banquet, and Canto-pop star Jonathan Wong, a family friend, serenaded the couple on stage.
A goodwill suckling pig dish was presented to every table. Almost 500 guests turned out, including Cantonese opera legend Pak Suet-sin, film producer Chin Kwok-wai, actress Calinda Chan and the chairman of the cosmetics retail chain Sa Sa, Simon Kwok Siu-ming.
Henry, who works in finance, and Rita, a pharmacist, met ten years ago ago at college in Nottingham, England. Henry can still recall it vividly. "Rita was sitting next to me on the double-decker bus shuttling us to a freshman's party. I found her cute and was attracted to her at first sight," he said. A little shy, Henry tried to chat her up, and was surprised to learn Rita was also from Hong Kong.
"We started to converse in Cantonese. It's funny, as no one else on the bus could understand what we were talking about," he said, laughing.
Two weeks after that first encounter, Henry asked Rita out to see a film at a cinema.
"We were just walking into the cinema when I asked Rita whether she would take me as her boyfriend. I was so shy that I could barely hear myself," he said. "Rita looked at me with her gorgeous, sparkling eyes without saying anything but gave a sweet smile. I took that as a 'yes'."
They dated for 10 years but it was not always easy. They were separated for two years when Henry returned to Hong Kong and Rita continued her studies in England.
When Rita relocated back to the city, they decided to take a break. But the longer they were separated, the more they missed each other, Henry said.
"We tried to live life without each other, but over those few months, we realised how much we needed each other. So when we got back together after the hiccup, we felt an even stronger bond."
In May last year, on Rita's birthday, Henry booked one of the better tables at Tosca, the Italian restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton, overlooking the harbour. He had carefully prepared everything ahead of time.
When the desserts arrived, Henry got down on one knee and presented the engagement ring to Rita and asked her to marry him. "After more than 10 years, I asked Rita, still like the shy boy I once was, 'Can I be your husband?'"
Before Rita could respond, the guest sitting next to them grew caught up in the scene and burst into tears. Everyone in the restaurant gave them a round of applause.
Rita said yes. "Henry is very caring and humorous," she said. "He has the ability to make me laugh even when I'm upset. He's also very hard-working and ambitious.
"Knowing how much he cares about his family, I was even more attracted to him."
The feelings were mutual, Henry said. "She's probably the only girl I've met who laughs at my every joke. Her caring nature lifts me up all the time. By giving me full support and encouragement on everything I do, she's made me a better person."
They plan to honeymoon in Fiji next year.