Each Gave Up on Love. Which, of Course, Is When They Found It.
After his first date with Shawn Patrick Lamb in January 2019, Jarrold Jenn-yu Wong began to cry. “It was first time I felt I could actually be loved unconditionally for who I am,” he said.
Dating had never brought him much joy. “It was not for lack of trying,” said Mr. Wong, known to friends as Jay, “but there’s a lot of racism against Asians in the gay community, and after some disappointment, I decided to focus on my career and self-love.”
Mr. Lamb shared his apprehension.
“I had a great job, great friends and a great family, but I was skeptical about romance,” Mr. Lamb, 33, said. Having suffered through a handful of bad relationships, he was nearly certain that Mr. Right wouldn’t be appearing anytime soon — if ever.
Both were on Tinder, and they matched in December 2018. Their playful text banter led to the first date at a bar in Denver, where they lived. Anxiety quickly gave way to ease, and after several drinks, Mr. Lamb broke his “no dinner-on-the-first date” rule and suggested they move to Bar Dough for his favorite pizza.
Hours of conversation included topics usually off-limits on a first date: Both said they want children. They also learned they had each grown up in close, supportive families, Mr. Lamb in Springfield, Pa., and Mr. Wong in San Francisco. Both sets of parents had been active in PFLAG, a support group for parents of L.G.B.T.Q. children, which had played an important role in the acceptance of their sons’ sexual orientations.
Afterward, the two had a lingering goodbye though no kiss. This is when Mr. Wong became emotional on his walk home.
Mr. Lamb felt similarly. “I had been on so many one-sided dates where I had carried the enthusiasm,” he said. “This was entirely different.”
The next night they met again, and a kiss sealed the evening. A few months later, on St. Patrick’s Day, Mr. Lamb, in neon green and white striped overalls and fluttering florescent green false eyelashes, uttered the first “I love you.” Mr. Wong, surprised, eagerly echoed the sentiment. By 2020, the two had moved in together in Denver.
Mr. Lamb graduated from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and has a master’s degree in higher education administration from Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y. He now works with Deloitte Canada in Toronto, where he is campus recruiting manager.
[Click here to binge read this week’s featured couples.]
After graduating from Columbia University with a double major in economics and East Asian languages and cultures, Mr. Wong attended the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania earning a double major in management and marketing. He is now an executive vice president at Exclusive Resorts, which is based in Denver.
A year after moving in together, under the guise of a business trip, Mr. Wong made a secret trip to Mr. Lamb’s hometown, Springfield to ask for his parents’ blessing.
Just before sunset, on March 29, 2021, under the guise of taking Mr. Lamb to a surprise dinner, Mr. Wong blindfolded Mr. Lamb before a driver took them to a seaside pavilion where, to Mr. Lamb’s surprise, he was met by his younger sister Maggie Lamb, Mr. Wong’s younger sister, Reese Wong, and two close friends who had secretly flown in that day. On bended knee, Mr. Wong proposed to a tearful Mr. Lamb who enthusiastically accepted before their sisters draped them with floral leis.
Later that year, the couple bought a home in Toronto, where Mr. Wong had lived before moving to Denver. They now split their time between Toronto and Denver.
On Dec. 3, after a rainstorm that cleared for their late afternoon ceremony, the couple wed in an outdoor ceremony before 129 guests at the Lanikuhonua Cultural Institute in Kapolei, Hawaii, on the island of Oahu. Jessy O’Neill, Mr. Lamb’s best friend, who became a Universal Life Minister for the event, officiated. The men wore custom tuxedos with Louboutin shoes, the slick red soles of which were destroyed after walking a coral pathway.
“With the fateful swipe of a finger, Jay came into my life at the perfect time and made everything about life exponentially better,” said Mr. Lamb in his vows, before promising to be an “amazing dad to our kids” and let Mr. Wong “be the car D.J. and pick the wine.”
In his vows, Mr. Wong cited the many things he loved about his partner, including his spontaneity and determination before promising to listen, be the couple’s travel planner, and, as often as he could remember, chew with his mouth closed. “I could not be more grateful for the life we have built together,” he said. “A life better than any rom-com.”