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Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017

Lifestyle

Lunch Actually review by a couple who have found love

AsiaOne | Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017

Shao Yang and Veronica.

Photo: Lunch Actually

He was a teacher. She is a pharmacist.

He is shy and reserved. She is warm and bubbly.

Seemingly worlds apart in terms of their careers and personalities, the two may not immediately seem compatible together. But after getting to know each other, Cai Shaoyang, 35, and Veronica Toh, 30, discovered that they were a perfect fit in love.

The pair was introduced in March 2015 through the dating company Lunch Actually. Shaoyang said he decided to approach the company as he had often heard via media outlets about the company's success in matching couples - with over 3,000 happy marriages and more than 90,000 dates arranged under its belt.

Both Shaoyang and Veronica first met professional dating consultants from Lunch Actually during a complimentary initial consultation, where they talked about themselves and their expectations in love. The private consultations were held in the Lunch Actually office located in Orchard.

After signing up as Lunch Actually members, both Shaoyang and Veronica's dating consultants started sending them out on first dates with matches deemed suitable. They did not meet each other straight away, but then, fate brought them together eventually. One might even say that Shaoyang and Veronica met each other at exactly the right moment.

Before their first date, the couple were given each other's profiles. The information shared was about each other's basic profiles only for both privacy and ice-breaking purpose; and knowing these details about each other encouraged them to share more during the date itself.

Shaoyang and Veronica's first date was at a cafe in Mandarin Gallery; Shaoyang says that his first impression of his date was that she was pretty and cheerful.

As with all first encounters, some nerves were inevitable. When asked what was going through his mind when preparing for the date, Shaoyang admitted: "I was actually thinking of what food to avoid, given that I was down with a sore throat."

Nevertheless, just being ready for the date was already a step up for Shaoyang.

Ms Joy Tay, a dating consultant with Lunch Actually, recalled that Shaoyang had initially been very shy and introverted during their first meeting. Upon her suggestion, Shaoyang attended one-to-one image and date coaching sessions to improve his self-presentation and dating skills. He also went on personal shopping sessions to improve his image.

He was a fast learner, according to Ms Tay.

"Throughout the one-year coaching, he improved significantly and was even praised by his colleagues on positive changes to the way he dressed," Ms Tay said.

She added that Shaoyang consistently displayed a positive mindset, treating each date as a chance to improve even more for 'The Right One'. He was also open to feedback from coaches after each date, taking notes on areas where he could improve.

After their initial encounter, Shaoyang and Veronica continued to keep in touch and dated for six months. Finally, Shaoyang worked up the courage to ask her to be his girlfriend during Mid-Autumn festival.

"We ate mooncakes that day as well," he recalled with a smile. He affirmed that he had decided to take the next step because "Veronica was someone whom I could trust wholeheartedly".

Over the course of their dating, the couple found that they shared a lot of common values.

"We believe in putting our best foot forward in whatever we do. Veronica pursues self-development by regularly attending yoga classes to help her yoga students. I myself, on the other hand, use my 10 years' of teaching experience to help the students I tutor."

Shaoyang credits his partner with giving him the confidence to pursue his dreams.

"Veronica encourages me to conquer my challenges when they seem overwhelming. Most girls would cringe at the sight of a guy my age who is embarking on a career as a lifestyle entrepreneur. Not Veronica. She believes I can do it, and has been with me ever since I started this journey," he said.

Having come such a long way, could wedding bells be on the horizon for the couple? Shaoyang says that they are certainly thinking about it, but have not yet decided where or when the wedding will be.

"First, she has to accept," he joked, before adding that the pair would discuss the issue and seek the blessing of their respective parents first.

Shaoyang's advice for those still looking for that special someone is to persevere and not give up.

"Consider whether your partner cares about how you feel, if they are someone you can trust, and if they are worth the effort. If the answer is yes to all three, then he or she may be 'The One' for you." he concluded.

As for singles still hesitant about joining a dating agency, his advice leaves no doubt: "Just do it! After all, you never know where love may find you."

This article was sponsored by Lunch Actually.

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