By Kerri Lum
Special to The Advertiser
At 33 I was not a believer in whirlwind courtships, the kind you read about in romantic books. However, I was open to fate and chance meetings when I went on my first blind date.
His name was Alan Lum, and we met on a fall evening in mid-November 1996. We went to see a movie, a holiday comedy, and I remember thinking how much I liked his laugh. We talked over Thai food and I was amazed that there was never an uncomfortable moment of silence.
We went out again the next Saturday night, and he came with a bouquet of red roses in his hand. During our romantic Italian dinner, the waiter asked me what the occasion was. My response was the simple truth: "None. He is just a nice guy."
The next week we went to see the Honolulu City Lights holiday display. To my surprise Alan came with a beautiful stuffed-animal bear for me and a gourmet dinner he had cooked. The food was still hot and on nice china as he laid everything out in a quiet area behind City Hall, far behind the bustling Christmas tree displays.
I did not know that night that we would fall in love more and more every time we met. In fact, six weeks after our blind date, Alan proposed at his home, a little after midnight as we watched the starry sky from his living room sofa.
It was not the traditional, on-your-knee version. Instead it was an intimate, softly asked question, "Would you spend the rest of your life with me?" It was the weekend between Christmas and New Years, and no one else knew.
We spent New Years Day at Ala Moana Center looking at engagement rings. By Valentines Day, I had a beautiful solitaire on my finger, but still no traditional on-your-knee proposal.
As the wedding day grew near, the only jitters I had was not being able to remember the kind of marriage proposal girls dream about when they are young. So in a moment of panic, I challenged Alan to do something unforgettable. The next morning I laughed at my challenge and did not think too much would come of it. I was wrong.
A few weeks before our wedding, Alan announced that we had plans for Saturday evening and that I should wear my best dress. He drove me to the Kahala Mandarin Hotel and we went to the gazebo on the beach. He had a bottle of champagne and two crystal glasses. We toasted our lives together as the sun got ready to set. I was still entranced as we walked into Hokus restaurant for dinner.
After we were seated, Alan excused himself. He returned a few minutes later with a huge basket of two-dozen red roses, which he had hidden in the car trunk. As he presented the bouquet to me, he dropped to one knee in the middle of the restaurant and smiled a sweet smile as he asked the traditional question, "Will you marry me?"
That Nov. 1, a little less than 11 months since we first met, we spoke wedding vows we had written for each other, and celebrated with almost 400 of our family and friends at the reception that followed.
That night I remembered something my father had told me right after the engagement. I told him I knew we were moving fast, but thanked him for supporting us. He said it was not hard because over 35 years ago, he knew in a few weeks of meeting my mom that she was the one. "I just had to wait for her to see it, too," he said with a nostalgic chuckle.
As we danced our first dance, Alan whispered, "You look so beautiful. You are my princess." With the music behind us and the lights swirling around us, Alan then gently kissed my hand, and from that moment on, forever will I be a believer in whirlwind romances.
Kerri and Alan Lum were married Nov. 1, 1997, at Nuuanu Congregational Church.
Do you have a great love story? What are your best stories or advice on marriage and making the magic last? Do you have a story from your wedding or wedding-planning advice? Send your letter of 500-750 words with your city and phone number to: For Better, For Worse, Ohana Section, The Honolulu Advertiser, P.O. Box 3110, Honolulu, HI 96802; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; fax 535-8170. Sending a photo is optional.
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