Love at First Slice for Newlywed Pizza Outlet Owners
The quirky courtship between two pizza outlet owners fittingly began with two words: "Pepperoni, please!"
Auckland newlyweds Feng Shi and Annie Wang first met when Wang fatefully asked her husband for some pizza topping six years ago.
Not yet outlet owners, the pair were working at Auckland Domino's Pizza stores close by, and would often ask each other for ingredients they needed at short notice.
"I knew she was the one the moment I saw her that first day. From the beginning, our love for pizza has brought us together. It was Domino's destiny!" says Shi.
"I've found the woman I was searching for all my life through my work. Our wedding was virtually a staff do, and my best man was even an employee."
Now, Shi and Wang, who got engaged a mere three weeks into their relationship, are expecting their first child.
However, despite meeting long ago, the Chinese couple's whirlwind romance took a while to get off the ground.
Given Shi's move to Gisborne three years ago, where he took on the local Domino's Pizza store, he lost touch with his secret crush, who now owns Domino's Pizza Glenfield in Auckland.
"Our work brought us back together eventually though, when we met again at a conference in Auckland," he says. "Normally, I would have gone to the regular meeting in Wellington, but coincidentally I went to the one in Auckland."
"Annie had just become an owner, and so when I saw her at the conference I couldn't believe my luck. I didn't ask her out straight away, but I invited her to Gisborne and she brought her parents and some friends. I took them to a nice restaurant and showed them around. I guess I must have impressed them, because when I proposed a few weeks later she said yes."
Shi, 34, and Wang, 31, have done long distance between Gisborne and Auckland for much of their five month relationship.
This made Shi's proposal more of a surprise than ever for Wang, who is one month pregnant.
"I texted Annie and told her to meet me at an Auckland restaurant, without her even knowing I was coming to see her," says Shi.
"At dinner, I asked the restaurant staff to put the diamond ring in a special dessert. When the cake came out, with the ring sitting on the top, Annie burst into tears. She told me I am her Mr Right and how glad she was we'd met."
Indeed, Annie thanks Domino's Pizza for introducing her to her "very sweet" husband of three months.
"Woking for the company at 25 was my first job. It's helped me to meet my husband and given me a family - not only my own family, but an extended family of staff who have become great friends," says Wang.
The lovebirds, who bought a house together in Auckland two weeks ago, married in Gisborne, with the majority of their guests being their pizza-loving pals.
"I wanted for us all to dress in our uniforms for a laugh, and eat pizza, but Annie said no," says Shi.
"But when we have our traditional wedding in China in two weeks' time, she's agreed that we can wear our work outfits and take photos!"
Not only did the pizza brand play a role in the couple meeting, but it also has an ongoing part in their romance.
"Pizza is our ideal romantic meal, which we often have together after a long week," says Shi.
"We're so passionate about pizza that we make our own at home. We also make heart-shaped chocolate love cakes, and put candles on top."
There's no doubt that the starry-eyed sweethearts seem destined to be together. Both Shi and Wang moved to NZ in the same year 11 years ago, and went to the same English language school in Auckland.
However, it took Domino's Pizza to bring them together and solidify their bond.
"We're perfect for each other - I dreamed of a girl just like Annie," says Shi. "She's a hard worker, she's honest, and she understands me and my work."
Shi says he hopes the pizza company will always be part of their family.
"I'd love for our child to become a store manager as well," he says. "Though I could save on labour if he works for me!"