Ng Hong Whee and Jenny Tan

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It was love at first bite for Hong Whee, 44, and Jenny, 37, who met at an arranged dinner. But they say that many other ingredients go into creating the perfect recipe for love.

SHE STARTED OFF AS AN AVID fan of Duet’s success stories and often envisioned herself in a flourishing relationship. Little did Jenny know that her very own happily-ever-after was just around the corner.

"I was an ardent fan of Duet and very inspired and encouraged by the success couple features. I was secretly hopeful of getting my own serendipitous love story one day, too," Jenny says.

Almost like a scene out of a Disney film, the ideal dinner date was arranged with everything from the restaurant to Prince Charming being picked out and planned by local dating agency Fabrique. Once the staging for a great romance was set, all Jenny had to do was turn up.

More than a Disney Romance

The dinner proved a success for the couple but the one driving force that helped to kick-start their relationship was honest communication. Veering away from convention, Hong Whee and Jenny laid out their relationship goals and aspirations on their first date.

The couple acknowledges that this pragmatic approach to romance might catch many off guard. However, both see the value in being upfront about what you are looking for in a relationship.

"We were very frank about our expectations on marriage and relationship goals from the start. It may sound funny and abrupt — discussing such serious issues on a first date — but it helps to put things into perspective. It helps people to gauge whether a date is going anywhere or nowhere," Jenny adds.

Although diverting from traditional dating timelines, the couple firmly believe that this approach was useful in helping to deduce their chemistry and compatibility. "We were both interested in getting married and entered the relationship with marriage as the end goal," says Jenny, maintaining that the couple were sure that they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together from the very first date.

Marital Bliss

Hong Whee and Jenny tied the knot within six months of meeting each other and have not looked back since. While they admit that marriage comes with its own set of challenges, they also find joy in navigating the experiences and struggles of married life together. "It’s not a bed of roses, of course! We do banter and argue. But that’s the fun part — arguing and resolving issues together," laughs Jenny.

The couple, who recently welcomed their first child, also highlight the importance of keeping the flame alive. "My in-laws encourage us to travel on our own and spend quality time together," says Hong Whee. For Hong Whee and Jenny, keeping the flame alive involves travelling and maintaining a sense of adventure.

This free-spiritedness might seem surprising considering the couple’s pragmatic start to their courtship. But Jenny insists that the very nature of blind dates requires a leap of faith, which in turn demands a certain level of open-mindedness and adventure.

"The right one may come in any shape and size and may not fit the description that you have stated on paper. But I would advise others to trust the judgment of dating consultants and keep a very open mind," Jenny adds.

With charming matches like Jenny and Hong Whee, it is not hard to see why people are starting to sit up and take a second look at dating agencies and apps for their chance at serendipity.


This article was first published on DUET magazine.