When Rowena Kong knocked on Brian Lam's apartment door for the first time over a decade ago, she didn't only enter his life but his heart as well. Rowena, an office manager for a hedge fund firm, and Brian, a graphic designer, were married on September 11. They celebrated with 240 guests at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui. They first met in 1997 when they were both studying in Seattle. Brian and his sister moved into the apartment opposite to where Rowena and her sister lived. 'Before they moved in, I had already heard about a Hong Kong family that was coming,' Rowena recalled. 'I was very excited because we didn't have many Chinese friends in the US back then.' As soon as Brian moved in, Rowena popped over to greet her new neighbours. 'I still remember exactly what he wore that day and that he appeared to be very shy,' she said. 'When I went back I told my sister that a very handsome young man lived opposite us.' They quickly became friends. Brian came over to Rowena's almost every night so she could help him with class work. Love gradually blossomed. One night, Brian kissed Rowena on the lips when he thought she was asleep - but she wasn't. They then started dating. But after nine months they parted ways. Rowena moved away from their old neighbourhood and barely contacted Brian. Even when they both moved back to Hong Kong in 2001, they only learned about each other's lives via mutual friends and very rarely they would run into each other at friends' gatherings. Looking back, Rowena said her heart ached a bit every time she saw Brian. 'It was a feeling that I knew we had moved on with our lives but still, he was that special someone who would always have a place in my heart,' she said. They both ended relationships in 2007. The same year, Rowena received a text message from Brian on her birthday. Surprised and excited, Rowena accepted his invitation to have dinner. Love sparkled throughout their dinner date. 'We hadn't met for so long but still we had so much to talk about. We also realised that we were both single,' Rowena said. After that night they talked on the phone almost every night to fill in the blanks of each other's lives that they had missed over the previous decade. Weeks later, they decided to be together again. 'This time round we were more mature and also more serious about the relationship,' Rowena said. They started to talk marriage, bought their first apartment and moved in together. 'There's something about him that makes me a different girl,' said Rowena. 'I've always been very independent in my previous relationships but with him, I really compromise. Also he gives me a strong sense of security and handles me very well.' Although Brian didn't pull off the traditional proposal, he let Rowena choose their wedding bands and the couple tattooed 'rb' on their ring fingers. On their big day, Rowena wore a delicate lace wedding dress from Brian's sister Salina's vintage wedding boutique. Brian hand-painted a graffiti backdrop for their wedding decoration.