Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Our love story has been one perfectly imperfect fairy tale

Published:Sunday | June 11, 2017 | 6:00 AM
The Trident Castle in all its glory ready for the ceremony.
Lasse Hamre kisses his bride surrounded by groomsmen from left: Paal Hamre; Are Traasdahl; Erik Hamre; Mikkel Sandvik; Erik Sandal and Tomas Tangen.
Mr and Mrs Lasse Hamre joined by parents of the bride Michelle and Herbert Chong.
The beautiful bride walked up the isle on the arms of her father Herbert Chong.
The beautiful bride (centre) flanked by her bridesmaids from left: Madina Baxall, Traci Stewart, Lindsey Chang, Sandy Lee, Jodi Henriques, Danhee Bhakta and Stephanie Gatey.
The happy couple seals it with a kiss.
Lasse Hamre and his wife Krystal Chong Hamre share an intimate moment.
An image says a thousands words but this intimate moment between husband and wife says only one – love.
Lasse and Krystal revel in the joy of what they describe as their perfectly imperfect fairly tale.
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On a sunlit Saturday afternoon in May, when the ethereal Krystal Chong walked down the aisle towards her husband-to-be Lasse Hamre, at the majestic Trident Castle in Portland, it was the culmination of an improbable love story that the couple describe as their perfectly imperfect fairy tale.

Hamre and Chong actually met online, just weeks after she moved to New York from her home in Jamaica. "I had just moved to New York. I had been there for only two weeks, when my girlfriend, whom I was staying with - Danhee - suggested I join match.com. She said to me, 'You're not going to meet anyone to date seriously, but you'll make friends and that will help you find your circle in the city,'" Chong recalled. "I dismissed the idea, thinking online dating was for losers (or serial killers!) But, that night, after she had gone to bed (as a new mother she goes to bed about 7 p.m.), bored out of my mind, I thought, 'what do I have to lose?' At the very least, it would make for fun stories to tell. So I signed up."

Two days later, she received a message from Lasse and they started texting back and forth. This went on for hours. A few days later they went on their first date. "It's crazy! He was my first online date ever whom I met four days after I signed up, two weeks after I moved to New York! I used to hate this story, but now I love it because it reminds me that if you trust the universe, listen to your intuition and put yourself out there, magic can happen!"

There was a mutual connection from the first date. "I knew something was special about our connection from our first date. His energy was very calming and he was so intelligent and real and kind. Even though he was a stranger, I felt like I had always known him. That night, we closed the restaurant and then we closed the nearest bar on our 12-hour long first date," said Chong.

"I had an inkling then (that this could be true love) but it was solidified through various points in our relationship. For instance, every time we had a challenge in our relationship and we overcame it, it made us closer and more connected and that made me know more and more that I wanted to face life challenges with him."

According to Hamre: "Subconsciously, (I knew we had a connection that could last a lifetime) after our first couple of dates and after our first weekend in Jamaica. But the exact moment, when I knew this was the woman I wanted to marry, was when she went on a trip for a few weeks and I realised I could not imagine my life without her in it."

 

The proposal

 

"This is a funny story!" said Chong. "We had been talking about getting married, so it wasn't a total surprise. He had booked a horse-drawn sleigh in Norway over Christmas, and I was thinking, 'this is the moment it will happen!' Then, the night before, we had dinner and out of the blue, while waiting for the table, he made some awkward joke and pulled out the ring. And I was like, 'What the hell just happened?!' We both died laughing! And he said, 'Sorry! I was so nervous, can I get a do-over?' And he took the ring back."

The do-over would come only hours later.

"The next day, we got on the sleigh, and I thought it might happen, but somehow the entire time I managed to unintentionally distract myself to the point that when it did happen I totally wasn't thinking about it and it still managed to surprise me! I remember sitting there, he was all quiet and nervous, but my mind was somewhere else. Then, in the middle of the forest, covered in the most beautiful white snow, the sleigh driver stopped and spoke to Lasse in Norwegian. Lasse got up and took my hand to lead me out of the sleigh. I thought this was just a part of the ride, then as soon as I stepped out, he got down on one knee in the snow- covered forest and said, 'Krystal, I love you and I can't imagine my life without you. Will you marry me?' It was a perfectly imperfect fairy tale!"

Asked what she loves most about her new husband, Chong was pressed to narrow it down. "It is so hard to choose one thing! There are so many things to love about Lasse. He has the kindest heart of any man I have ever known. I'm more myself when I'm with him, than I am with anyone else - even just by myself. I respect and trust and love him and know he would be an exceptional father and husband."

Hamre is clearly just as head-over-heels in love with the lady in his life. "Her laughter, her energy, and how much fun she is to be around. I love her heart and her drive and her mind. The fact that she's so beautiful is a nice bonus!"