A dream ride in Paris leads to marriage for Connie and Hiram
A carriage ride down the Champs-Elysees, a candlelit dinner and a proposal written in rose petals lead Connie to wed fellow banker Hiram
When Connie Chue saw the horse-drawn carriage parked in Paris' Place Vendome last year, she could not help dreaming of her fairy-tale moment. Little did she realise that the dream was about to come true thanks to her prince charming, Hiram Ip.
The investment bankers registered their marriage on December 1 at St John's Cathedral in Central. They are hosting a banquet tonight in the ballroom of the Four Seasons hotel to celebrate with more than 300 guests.
Connie and Hiram, the son of former economic development and labour secretary Stephen Ip Shu-kwan, had been dating since 2003. Hiram sprung a surprise marriage proposal while they were on holiday in Paris last year. He booked a carriage, knowing that keen photographer Connie would not be able to resist having her picture taken with it.
"I thought the carriage was a tourist attraction at first, but then the horseman handed me a shoe and said I could only ride in the carriage if the shoe was my size. I was thrilled to find it was exactly my size," Connie said.
The shoe was bound to fit; it was part of Hiram's plan. They took a ride down the Champs-Elysees, where hundreds of tourists took photos of the carriage and cheered the happy couple.
Connie thought that was going to be her only surprise of the night, after Hiram failed to propose during the carriage ride and the candlelit dinner that followed.
However, when they got back to their hotel suite, there was another surprise. The room had been decorated with red panels and, on the bed, rose petals spelled out "Marry Me". Connie said yes immediately.
"It was a truly magical night. I still don't know how he managed all that right under my nose," she said.
The couple first met in 2001 when they were working at Morgan Stanley. Hiram was just an intern at the time.
"Connie was the first person I met in the office," he said. "She was this petite girl tucked away at the far corner of the office, but I immediately wanted to get to know her. I still remember what she wore that day."
They did not hook up immediately as Hiram was still at university in England. But the seeds of their love were sown. They kept in touch when Hiram returned to England, and he would ask her out every time he was back in town. When he came back for good, after graduating in 2003, Connie was the first person he called.
As soon as they started dating, they knew they were right for each other.
"I felt very comfortable and at ease around him," Connie said. "To me, this is how a Mr Right should be. We share whatever is on our minds. We have supported each other through the different stages of our lives, grown stronger and become better people together."
Hiram said Connie was his dream girl right from the start.
"I think our relationship is as fresh today as it was 10 years ago," he said. "Connie has the sweetest smile that shines from the bottom of her heart."
Connie said: "I like the intellectual type and Hiram is certainly that. He's spontaneous and appreciates the little things that I do for him."
The couple will head to South America for their honeymoon, to visit Patagonia, the Galapagos Islands and Bolivia.