“It was not love at first sight…”

People have often asked me, "When a first date does not progress beyond a second date, what is the main reason?"

The answer given by singles is often the same.

"No chemistry."

When people talk about chemistry, they are hoping to feel the sparks, the 'electricity' or the flutter in the heart. But honestly, if you asked me, that's usually 'lust at first sight' and not 'love at first sight'. :P

Love needs not always be 'at first sight'. Let me share with you a Lunch Actually success story that I have just heard today. *super happy*

They are both from the financial industry. He is about 10 years older. When they first met at the first date arranged by us, she was actually not bowled over by him. In fact, she said, "Could you find me someone taller the next time?" and "I don't think I am comfortable dating someone who's not within my age group…" and "He talks a lot about work!"

What did touch her is his personality – his consideration and his kindness. Even though he was late for the first date, he apologized and bought her dinner (we do arrange dinner dates when requested by our clients :) ). And subsequently when he knew that a relative of hers was undergoing an operation, he checked on her right after the operation to see if everything went OK. 

And now… a year later, after getting to know each other better, they have found the perfect match in each other. And they are tying the knot!!!

Love at first sight can be an extremely romantic notion. But if she has decided not to go on a second date, and subsequently a third and fourth date, because she did not feel the sparks at first… she would have missed out on the chance on finding her soul mate.

Hence, to all singles out there is… when you are contemplating a second date and you feel that there's no chemistry…

Give him/her a chance. Give yourself a chance. Give love a chance.

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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My Best Friend’s Wedding

For the past week, I have been travelling. However, I have been very hesitant to tell people where I am going. Because telling people that you are going to US, is like telling people you have AIDS. The reason that despite the H1N1 flu, I have decided to make a trip to US is to attend my best friend's wedding.

Tsiao Yi and I have been best friend for the last 16 years. And that's actually more than half of my lifetime. So, even though I was quite concerned about H1N1, I thought about it long and hard. I knew that if I make the decision not to go, when I look back in the future… I will really regret not attending my best friend's wedding. And by then, it would be too late to turn back the clock.

Tsiao Yi and Tow Shung have dated for 9 years. They have decided to get married on 06.06.2009. And actually, this is the exact date that they got together 9 years ago. So they are actually celebrating their 9th year anniversary! :)

If you look at them on their wedding day, they look like any other blissful newlyweds. But the truth is, Tow Shung is actually battling cancer. For the past 2 years, he has been undergoing chemotherapy. At an age where most of us are thinking about advancing our career or planning for our next holiday, Tsiao Yi and Tow have been going in and out of the hospital. Not that it is an alien concept to them as both of them are doctors. But this time, he is the patient.

One of their friends May Ling (an extremely nice lady, and a mother of 5) put it very succinctly. Most brides to be would be very flustered before the wedding worrying about the flowers, the makeup, or the dress. But Tsiao Yi is worried whether Tow gets his chemo on time. It really helps the rest of us put things into perspective.

One thing the pastor said really put tears into my eyes. He said, "Tow, I look into the eyes of this woman standing next to you now. And I can see that she loves you very much." When he said that, tears just welled up in my eyes. And I had to try very hard not to cry as I was part of the wedding party standing at the altar.

In my matron of honour speech, I said:

Tsiao Yi and Tow Shung have been through many ups and downs. But most important of all, when life dealt its harshest blow, they held on to each other, supported each other and spurred each other on. This has made their relationship stronger than ever. And their love, their commitment, their devotion for each other, has been an inspiration to us all.

My best friend's wedding is a reminder… to not take the little things in life for granted. And also to not sweat the small stuff.

Dearest Yi, once again, thank you for asking me to be your matron of honour. I am so extremely honoured to be your best friend, and thank you so much for your unwavering friendship. May your marriage be blessed with much love, laughter and happiness! I have no doubt you and Tow Shung will have a blissfully happy marriage… :)

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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Not ‘Single, Desperate & Ugly’ at all!

Did I tell you that I have been invited to another wedding recently? Two of our clients got married.

And it was a real grand affair. It was held at one of the poshest (is there such a word?) hotel in Singapore. And we are reallly happy for them, because they are such nice people, and as time goes by, we have actually become friends. :)

What struck me as really interesting at this particular client’s wedding is this…

Usually, when I go for client’s wedding, I will always keep a low profile. I will avoid speaking to people on my table. Or even when they make small talk, I will reply very politely, and not seek to prolong the conversation. The reason is very simple. I do not want to tell people that I am a matchmaker, or I run a dating service, and risk them drawing the direct conclusion that the couple met through us. Our clients usually prefer for people not to know how they actually meet, and I respect their decision. It is not my place to ‘advertise’ or ‘market’ our business. We are happy to just be there to bask in their happiness and their joy.

I always joke about it with Jamie… if people ask… I will say I am a housewife, and he will say that he is in the IT business. 

So anyway, back to this particular wedding dinner. Right at the start of the wedding dinner, the groom came over to the table and say… “I put you guys at this table because I think you guys are of the same wavelength and will be able to do some networking as well,” and I politely smiled. And he proceeded to say, “Please meet Jamie and Violet, they run a very successful dating agency, Lunch Actually!” And my smile froze, not knowing how to react. He introduced the rest, and then left to entertain his other guests. I was very worried during the entire dinner that people at my table were going to ask the question…

“So… did they meet through you guys?”

And it did not help that one of the groom’s friend on our table actually knew that the bride and groom met through us. And kept saying things like… “So Violet, I am sure you are invited to many wedding dinners?” And gave me this knowing smile. I really felt like throwing Fried Rice at him.

But you know what was the most amazing thing?

Nobody on the table even suspected. Not one.

And then I suddenly realised why.

Because the bride and the groom are so eligible. The bride is beautiful. She’s definitely someone you would classify as above average, if not gorgeous. Someone that guys would definitely look twice. And the groom is successful and talented.

And that was the reason, that it never come across anybody’s mind that they actually met through a dating service.

Because people always have the impression that people who go to dating services are ‘single, desperate and ugly!’

And this couple is definitely far from being ‘single, desperate and ugly’.

I just thought that was quite an interesting experience. And perhaps from now on, I can stop saying that I am a housewife, even though that is my secret ambition… haha! 😉 

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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Perfect Guy? Perfect Girl?

She said, “I never really had any golden rules when it comes to my future partner. I wasn’t looking for a perfect guy.”

“My husband is not a perfect guy. Neither am I a perfect girl. But we just happened to be a perfect match for each other.”

“What I love about my husband is that… I never felt that I needed to be more than I am. I could just be myself, and not pretend to be someone I am not. When he met me, he accepted me as me.”

These are some excerpts from my dear friend Wai Kea‘s wedding speech. :)

Sometimes, I wonder… if I am doing my clients a disfavour by asking them for a list of their criteria. How old must she be? How tall must he be? Must she be of the same religion? Must he share your interests and hobbies? And as I ask more questions, I am helping them create a funnel.

Yet at the same time, I know that if they were to meet someone on their own who is not out of their age range just by 3 or 4 years, but they have ‘chemistry’, age would not even be an issue. For example, I don’t think my mum set out to find a man who is 2 years her junior. She probably was like me… looking to date someone who is of the same age or older. But she met my dad. And the rest as they say is history…

Something just tugged at my heartstring when she said… “He is not a perfect guy. But I am not a perfect girl either.” Truth is, many a times, most of us are not the most eligible person… maybe we have not been blessed by the best looks, or we really need to go to the gym to lose a few pounds. Or we really could do with a few inches in height. But, at the end of the day, to be in a blissful relationship, and to tie the knot… these things that create that initial sparks or ‘electricity’ do not really matter…

“What impressed me about her… after meeting up with her again all these years at a friend’s wedding is her thoughtfulness. I never had a girl serve me food during a dinner. It’s usually guys who do the serving,” he said. “She was surprised when I told her this later.”

Acts of specific kindness. I talked about this during my workshop. And I was happy to witness yet another episode of it in real life. By just being herself. An open book.

Some girls might wonder, “Would he think that I am desperate? Or too forward? Or weird? Or making the first move?” 

She being a direct, no-games, no-nonsense girl, she won his heart through a gesture that she probably did not even put much thought to.

Maybe sometimes, if we just continuously improve ourselves. Be comfortable in our own skin. We would eventually meet someone who truly appreciates us for who we are. Maybe he would not meet our initial criteria of Prince Charming. But face it, maybe we are not Princess Belle either.

Like what my dear friend has put it so aptly. “He is not a perfect guy. But I am not the perfect girl either. We are just a perfect match for each other.” :)

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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Another Wedding… this time in KL, Malaysia! :)

Attended KL’s first wedding last week. We already have had quite a number of marriages in Singapore. But in KL, this is the first.

I feel very honoured to be invited these weddings. There are some couples who invite us. Some who invite their dating consultants. Some who come by to the office with gifts for us. And of course, some who never even tell us they are getting married. Haha!

I used to be quite disheartened by that. But I have started to accept that some people would rather not let others know that they have met through a dating agency. And perhaps, they are worried that if we know that they have met someone through us, and gotten married, we will hound them for testimonials, media interviews etc. And truth is, if they tell me no one time, I will respect their privacy.

Let’s come back to the KL couple. When they registered their marriage earlier this year, I was so happy. I do not know the lady client well, but I have spoken to the guy many times over the phone. And he is really one of the nicest clients I have met.

Then I asked him, “Hey, do you have any photos of the marriage registration?”

“Ya, of course.”

“Send me some la…!”

“Erm…”

“Aiyah, you think I am going to put on my website meh? No la, I just want to see and bask in your happiness la…”

“Oh ok ok, I email you now.”

Haha! Think our dating and matchmaking industry really must have a bad name… for people to be so weary and cautious.

Talking about this couple, I am really like SUPER happy for them. Especially because this guy is really so extremely nice. He’s polite to all the dating consultants, never rude or abusive. And he is so appreciative. At the wedding, I think he said thank you to me like for 5-6 times. So many times until I also feel paiseh (shy). When he met me at the door, when he showed me to my seat, when he came around for the wine-toasting, when he came around for photo-taking, when we (Jamie and I) were leaving… and he looks so grateful.

He kept saying, “Without you, there will be no wedding.”

OMG. That’s the biggest compliment someone can pay me.

I still remember my first phone conversation with him.

He told me. “Violet, you know, actually I am all set to get married. I have a car. I have a house. I have a stable career. But I just have not met the right one…”

My consultants and I helped him and give him some pointers here and there. And we could see that his progress with his dates are getting better and better.

One of my 3rd or 4th phone calls with him. I called him to check in.

And he said, “Violet, guess where am I now?”

“Where?”

“I am outside her house”

“What are you doing there? OMG, don’t tell me you are stalking her!”

“No la, she invited me home to have dinner with her family!”

“Wah!!! Well done… quite fast ha… think your first date was only a few weeks ago?

“Ya ya”

“Very good, very good! So how, what did you buy for her parents?”

“Ha? Must buy something ar?”

*FAINT*

“Of course la, if not go with empty hands? What kind of impression will you make?”

“Ok, ok… she’s not home yet, I will go buy something now…”

Think he eventually bought either some fruits or chocolate. :)

The funniest thing was… his then girlfriend now wife actually suspected that something was amissed. Because she knew him so well that she was shocked to see that he has bought something! Haha! So much later, he confessed to her that it was because he had this conversation with me! :)

When things are down. When I have a bad day at work. When I wake up on the wrong side of bed, wondering if all these are worth it. I will think of couples such as this one. Knowing that I have made a small difference in their lives. This is what makes everything worth it…!

To this wonderful couple, may your marriage be always blessed with love, joy and happiness…!

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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Wedding Bells for Mr. & Ms. Laidback

Two of our members are tying the knot today! :)

Actually, as I am writing this post, they are probably saying their vows. Their respective dating consultants are representing the company to attend the solemnization ceremony.

The couple dropped by earlier this week to convey their thank yous.

Jamie and I met up with them, and we had a good chat. Let’s call them Mr. and Ms. Laidback, soon to be known as Mr. and Mrs. Laidback. :)

As for why I decided to name them Mr. & Ms. Laidback… I actually mean it in a good way, because I feel that they are both very relaxed and friendly, and both quick to warm up to people. :)

So anyway, the story goes like this…

They went on their first date, and Ms. L was very stressed out at work that day. So she broke every first date rule possible. It’s quite funny…

She told me, “You know the list of Do’s and Don’ts you guys send us in your email, I broke every single one of them!”

Basically, she unloaded her stress on him. Oops!

According to Mr. L, he thought Ms. L was definitely quite different from his previous dates! Haha! :)

And if that’s not bad enough, after he gave her his namecard, she forgot to give him hers. So on his side, he thought she’s probably not interested in exchanging details.

You would think that with that, there’s where the story would end right?

Haha! Since you know that they have just tied the knot… the story did not end there. :) 

One month later when it was the Lunar New Year period, Ms. L sent out mass SMSes to wish her friends Happy New Year, and… Mr. L was one of the people whom she sent a SMS to.

Mr. L actually replied… “Who are you?” as he does not have her number on his phone!!!

Fortunately, Ms. L took no offence, and they decided to meet up again.

And a few dates later… they decided to be a couple.

And a year later… they are now… Mr. & Mrs L! Amazing isn’t it? It is stories like this that keep my team and I going! :) 

So, the moral of the story is…

#1: Things may not always be what they seem. It would seem that Ms. L is not interested in Mr. L on the first date. But, she was probably just too stressed out.

#2: Never burn your bridges. By saving Mr. L’s number on her mobile, Ms. L established contact again when she sent out the mass SMSes. :)

My dear readers, have a great weekend ahead!

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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Made in Heaven: Jeremy & Akiko

I have wanted to kick off this ‘Made in Heaven’ series for a long time, but I just never got round to it.

So here we go… in this series, I will feature couples that I know, blissfully happy couples whom I think are ‘Made in Heaven’.

If you too would like to be featured here, drop me a line! :)

jeremy_aki11.JPGIntroducing… Jeremy & Akiko!

Violet: How did both of you meet?

J & A: We lived in the same dorm back in university (Illinois State University), Akiko on the 2nd floor and me on the 10th, both non smoking floors.  All the smokers in the dorm will go to this smoking area at the front of the building to smoke, and there’s where we met each other… smoking. We would call each other up saying “let’s smoke!” and go dating at the smoking area :p 

Ironically, both of us have now quit smoking :)

Violet: What was your first impression of each other?

A: Kawaii omocha mitai (roughly translated to: looks like a cute toy)

J: Another typical Japanese girl, look at that fancy shoes, and that LV wallet…

Violet: What is the one thing that you love most about him/her?

A: The qualities of a gentleman, kind and generous. You don’t get these quality in Japanese men. (Violet: Oops, I hope no Japanese men are reading this… hehe!) 

J: Akiko gives me plenty of respect, and trust. She puts herself in my hands and let me take care of her. Oh-yea, and her cooking. (Violet: See, so it’s true! The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach! Hehe!)

Violet: I believe you spent some time apart from each other during your relationship… how did you survive that long distance relationship?

A: Always keeping my mind set on our next meeting, planning what we’re going to do, or where we’re going to eat when we see each other, that’s actually fun.

J: Phone calls, emails, and lotsa flying to see each other. The bills were crazy though. I saw other girls as well, but Akiko was always on my mind so i guess that’s fate :) (Naughty Jeremy! Violet hits Jeremy on the head with a baseball bat!)

Violet: Jeremy, have you ever imagined marrying a Japanese? And Akiko, have you ever imagined marrying a Malaysian?

A: Never~! But I once played this fortune telling game (back in high school) that said I’ll be married to a far away country. The coincidence is scary.

J: Ummm… probably not a Japanese.  Instead, i once had this thought of marrying a blond, haha~!

Violet: Did you find it difficult adjusting to each other’s customs and cultures?

A: YES~!  Erm… it’s not as clean as Japan and people are sometimes quite rude… (Jeremy, see how much Akiko sacrificed to be with you!!!)

J: No. I love Japanese cultures to bits. Japanese preserve their culture and traditional very well. When you go to any one of their festivals, you’ll feel like your back in ancient Japan with everyone wearing the traditional clothing.

jeremy_aki21.JPGViolet: What is your advice to couples out there who are going through a cross-culture relationship?

A: Wah… difficult question. Take it easy. But make sure you really love the person before moving to their country.

J: Never get into one, it’s expensive~! Hahaha!!! (Jeremy falls on the floor after Violet gives him a karate chop and flying kick!)

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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